Here are some of the articles we’ve been reading around this office this week.

How Early Exit Disease Stunts The Growth Of Midwest Startup Communities (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “There is an unnamed epidemic slowly traveling through the middle of the U.S. This epidemic goes by many names, but our venture fund refers to it as ‘early exit disease.’ This disease spreads when founders realize sub-$20 million exits. Many of these exits could have grown much larger. Instead, early exits have been quietly devastating the Midwest region’s startup maturation, cutting off the very process that first created Silicon Valley — and which could create more tech capitals in the middle of the country.”

How To Conduct Yourself In A UX Research Session (Thanks to Brian Zimmer for recommending this article) – “The researcher is a pivotal role for someone who knows how to engage with people, uncover their needs—even ones they may not realize themselves—and then translate that into feedback for the development team to act upon. Some of our most noticeable breakthroughs in the past year were a direct result of insights gathered through research activities. Though more and more companies are realizing just how much value there is in this kind of work, it can be a difficult thing to do well—particularly if you and your company are new to the discipline.”

Google And The Future Of Apps – “The new app-streaming model solves two problems for consumers: It includes content from within apps the user hasn’t installed and which would otherwise be absent, and it allows the user to access the content within the app in a familiar app-like context, without having to permanently install the app. You go from a five-step flow that leaves you having to do your search all over again to a single-step flow that retains context and leaves your device in the same state as when you started.”

Seriously, Don’t Use Icon Fonts (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “So it’s really no wonder that icon fonts became such a hit. Icons displayed via @font-face were resolution-independent and customizable in all the ways we expected text to be. Sure, delivering icons as a typeface was definitely a hack, but it was also useful, versatile, and maybe even a little fun. But now we need to stop. It’s time to let icon fonts pass on to Hack Heaven, where they can frolic with table-based layouts, Bullet-Proof Rounded Corners and Scalable Inman Flash Replacements.”

What Makes A Start-Up An Employer Of Choice? (Thanks to Brian Zimmer for recommending this article) – “Every company needs the right employees to succeed—but for start-ups, which lack name recognition and are perceived as riskier than established companies, attracting good people can be especially challenging. Although research has examined what drives job applicants’ perceptions of a prospective employer’s brand, there’s been little investigation into what makes new ventures appeal to potential hires.”

How To Protect Your Startup From Copycats – “For close to two years, we’ve been building a website that never existed before. Medigo.com, the world’s largest free-to-use platform that connects patients and doctors globally, has been built with original ideas, design, content, and lots of love for our users. Since healthcare is a popular topic in the startup world, it wasn’t too surprising that other players with exactly the same business model started popping up, and some were taking far too much ‘inspiration’.”

What I’ve Learned Designing Small Things At Facebook (Thanks to Jarrod Wubbels for recommending this article) – “Experimenting through small things gives us an opportunity to validate everything we think we know. At Facebook, we use both quantitative and qualitative data to point us in a general direction, but we never really know how an experiment is going to go until we put something out into the wild. Our hunches aren’t enough.”

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