Fun Friday Links: Unicorns Kill Startups and Twitter Data Reveals All

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February 22, 2013

Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK!

Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to for consideration.

Unicorns Kill Startups

I never thought I’d say this, but employing unicorns might be bad for business. (*sad trombone*)

Obviously we’re not talking about the majestic woodland creature because if you hired one of those, oh man. Your startup would definitely go places. Instead, what seasoned entrepreneur and founder of CentreSource interactive agency, Nicholas Holland, means is hiring strictly A Players could be a bad move:

“…the cliché of ‘hiring A Players’ creates an atmosphere that lets the business always blame the employee if they don’t work out. ‘Ah snap! Jody didn’t work out… Guess she wasn’t an A Player’. This lets the entrepreneur off the hook and often keeps them from self-reflection.”

Source: “Why Hiring Unicorns Will Kill Your Startup Faster Than ‘B players’”

Twitter Data Reveals All

Have you ever wondered who speaks which language on Twitter in the state of New York? If so, the map below will tell you. Created by the UCL data team and trendsmap, the project maps 8.5 million tweets, captured between January 2010 and February 2013. Unsurprisingly, Manhattan is revealed to be the most multilingual area:

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 1.54.15 PM

Source: “Twitter’s Languages of New York Mapped”

Bonus! Twitter’s good for a lot more than just tracking languages. Data artist Jer Thorp gives a talk on visualizing Twitter data, revealing hidden patterns in everything from media to how disease spreads here.

More to the Story

I’m a sucker for arguments made by storytelling advocates. This one from Rachel Sussman, a contemporary artist who often works with scientists, is particularly lovely:

“Artists and scientists could – and do – argue that their work should speak for itself. Why should we describe the frustrations and turning points in the lab, or all the hours of groundwork and failed images that precede the final outcomes? Because, rarified exceptions aside, our audience is a human one, and humans want to connect. Personal stories can make the complex more tangible, spark associations, and offer entry into things that might otherwise leave one cold. The goal is not to “dumb down,” but rather to give audiences something relatable to sink their teeth into. Whether you’ve discovered a new species or made a new art piece, there is a generosity in inviting your audience to form a personal, substantive relationship with you and your work. Declarations become conversations, and a world of possibility can open up.”

Source: “SpotOn NYC: Telling Stories – More to the Story…”