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    Value creation in start-up discourse: linking pitch and venture through logics of justification
    (International Journal of Business Communication, 2023-01) Varas, Germán; Sabaj, Omar; Spinuzzi, Clay; Fuentes, Miguel; Gerard, Valentin; Cabezas, Paula
    How do start-ups create value through the language of their business pitches? In this article, we investigate that question by identifying the logics of justification they use, traditionally conceptualised as orders of worth. In this study of short written pitches in a six-month Chilean accelerator program, we describe how we detected logics of justification through pitch language, and we identify (a) co-occurrence patterns among logics of justification, (b) associations between logics of justification and industry sectors, and (c) associations between logics and a firm's customer segment (B2B, B2C). This study provides unique insights into how start-ups sometimes justify innovations by using specific patterns of language depending on a venture's features.
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    Linked but Desynched: An OODA Analysis of Associated Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programs
    (Sage, 2023) Spinuzzi, Clay; Cochran, Robert; Pogue, Gregory P.
    Accelerators are programs that support fledgling ventures with a set curric- ulum, moving them through a cycle of venture development that culmi- nates in a Demo Day pitch in which the ventures argue for their viability. Yet firms are often involved in multiple programs with conflicting objectives and cycles. No research has addressed such conflicts. This article examines an accelerator program that is partially linked to others in order to share resources. Drawing on the OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) framework, the authors identify disjunctures between cycles, anchoring this analysis at the final pitch. Working back from this deciding point, they examine interference between the associated programs.
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    Linked but desynched: An OODA analysis of associated entrepreneurship accelerator programs
    (Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 2022) Spinuzzi, Clay; Cochran, Robert; Pogue, Gregory P.
    Accelerators support fledgling ventures with a set curriculum, moving them through a cycle of venture development, culminating in a Demo Day pitch in which the ventures argue for their viability. Yet firms are often involved in multiple programs with conflicting objectives and cycles. No research has addressed such conflicts. In this article, we examine an accelerator program partially linked to others to share resources. Drawing on the OODA framework, we identify disjunctures among cycles, anchoring this analysis at the final pitch. Working back from this Decide point, we examine interference among the associated programs.
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    Scaling Change Labs: A Response to “From Mediated Actions To Heterogenous Coalitions: Four Generations Of Activity-theoretical Studies Of Work And Learning”
    (Mind, Culture, and Activity, 2020) Spinuzzi, Clay
    In “From Mediated Actions To Heterogenous Coalitions: Four Generations of Activity-Theoretical Studies of Work and Learning,” Engeström and Sannino discuss the fourth generation of activity theory as involving heterogeneous coalitions that are involved in intertwined learning cycles. They offer Change Laboratory interventions as a way to properly address learning in such coalitions. Here, I critically review this argument as offering a de facto public policy approach. I conclude by suggesting three ways to adapt Change Labs for this new scale of analysis.
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    The Price is Right: An Orders of Worth Analysis of Positions on Housing Prices
    (SIGDOC '21: The 39th ACM International Conference on Design of Communication, 2021-10) Grossi, Drake; Alba, Jonathan; Hennessy, Sophia; Spinuzzi, Clay
    In this pilot study, we investigate how community leaders in a rural Texas small town argue about economic development. To study this, we examine 33 semistructured interviews collected by undergraduate interns and analyze this data using Luc Boltanski and Laurent Thévenot’s Orders of Worth framework. Using this approach, we find that morals exacerbate a local housing crisis. This study extends Saul Carliner’s work by showing an alternative way to name the competing value systems that trouble the assessment of technical documentation. However, this pilot study is also important to the field of communication design insofar as it models the use of a new theoretical framework to study the articulation of different value systems at work in practices of community advocacy.
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    Rethinking Supply Chains as Neighborhoods
    (Journal of Intercultural Management and Ethics, 2020) Kammer-Kerwick, Matt; Takasaki, Kara; Kellison, Bruce; Pogue, Gregory P.; Markman, Arthur B.
    This paper explores the implication of a neighborhood model for interfirm interactions that explicitly tries to create an equality matching relationship among firms in an industry. The aim is to examine what would happen if these firms worked to gain trust with each other with an eye toward maximizing the value of the collaboration across projects rather than just maximizing revenues in individual projects. A review of extant literature and an analysis of in-depth interviews yielded three actionable strategies that support the creation of a sustainable neighborhood in the construction industry: 1) Hub Strategy, 2) Trust Exercise Strategy, and 3) Sustainable Neighborhood Strategy. As envisioned in this study, the hub is a concentrated, inter-organizational structure for supply chain participants in large, complex projects. Importantly, hub members engage in a variety of technical activities that infuse ongoing and future projects with innovation, scope optimization, and operational efficiencies. Additionally, other activities within the hub are designed to purposefully allow participants to develop trust through collaboration before or outside of their primary contractual engagements. At present, this model has been examined for construction megaprojects, but the general neighborhood concept could be applied to many different industries and settings including manufacturing supply chains and collaborations among communities engaging in economic development. Future work will explore whether mechanisms like the hub and trust exercises can be applied in these other settings as well.
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    Editing the Pitch: Patterns of Editing Strategies of Written Pitches in a Chilean Accelerator Program
    (IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 2020-11) Cabezas, Paula; Spinuzzi, Clay; Sabaj, Omar; Varas, Germán
    Abstract—Background: After a six-month training program in the Chilean public accelerator Start-Up Chile, entrepreneurs are asked to update a short pitch they wrote in the submission stage to appear in the program’s online portfolio. Literature review: We reviewed relevant literature related to the pitch as well as research aiming to track changes within pitches. Research questions: 1. Which are the editing strategies used to change their pitch? 2. Do these strategies conform to specific discursive patterns? Research methodology: To answer the research questions, we designed an exploratory qualitative study to describe in depth the editing strategies used by two generations of startups, corresponding to 148 pairs of written pitches. In order to contextualize the results, we conducted two interviews with the program managers and analyzed the accelerator’s official Playbook and Technical and Administrative Requirements. Results: We identified 10 editing strategies. Of those editing strategies, “Deleting technical descriptions” is by far the most common procedure. The identified patterns can be classified into two groups, those simplifying, hedging, and focusing on certain elements of the first pitch, and those adding and specifying information of the first version. Conclusions: We conclude by discussing the strengths of this methodological approach for understanding such edits and for supporting successful edits in accelerator programs, as well as the potential for better understanding entrepreneur coachability.
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    The Invisible Supporters
    (AILA Review, 2020-10-07) Jakobs, Eva-Maria; Digmayer, Claas
    Text reuse is a widespread practice of text production in business-related contexts. Written communication is part of complex activities such as creating added value, organizing, regulating, and supporting work, building relationships between departments, companies, and customers, the market and competitors, or documenting products. As with other activities, text productive activities must be efficient and effective (Jakobs & Spinuzzi, 2014a). Text reuse meets these requirements and is therefore applied frequently. A success-relevant factor concerns the quality of the text resource. Incorrect or inferior text sources can cause significant economic damage. That is why process components that improve the quality of text sources are relevant. Interest in text quality increases if the source document serves as input for documents that are highly important for the implementation of business interests. So far, there are hardly any linguistic studies that examine how organizations manage to produce high-quality documents for purposes of reuse, e.g., which strategies they use, and how they ensure that the created document supports on a high level the target text production that motivates the creation of the text source. Primarily in the 1990s, some studies emerged that examine strategies in business contexts that help to improve the quality of the text production process or the text product. These studies focus on standard cases of text production in companies and organizations (e.g., writing reports) and strategies such as reviewing and commenting, e.g., as part of document cycles or collaborative writing. Few studies deal with writing documents for reuse and the overall goal of creating a highly reusable document that meets the professional needs of the end user (and their follow-up activities). We examine these questions in a real-life writing case study. The study is embedded in the domain of entrepreneur communication. Technology innovators must pitch their technology and its business value to potential buyers, partners, and distributors (Jakobs, Spinuzzi, Digmayer, & Pogue, 2015). To succeed, the invention must be appropriately communicated to a market and iterated through dialogue with potential stakeholders (Spinuzzi, Jakobs, & Pogue, 2016). Foreign startups, in particular, who are trying to enter an unfamiliar market need help with this. They must deal with a broad range of challenges including a deeper understanding of market needs, values, and cultural expectations. The case study refers to a program that supports foreign entrepreneurs by offering market reports. The market reports are written by contracted market analysts. During the text production process, program staff members supervise them. The overall aim is to create a highly professional report that can be used by the innovator to create a convincing, well-argued pitch that reuses parts of the report – verbatim or in close phrasing (Spinuzzi et al., 2015). From the entrepreneur’s point of view, the quality of the market report is decisive for the success of his pitch. This study investigates how the supervisors use feedback activities (commenting) to support the report author, and how the overall target to create a highly reusable text source that fulfills professional requirements of the end user and follow-up activities, guides the feedback process. The study is based on a first exploratory study (Jakobs et al., 2015) based on a small sample of the whole data basis. The main interest of this study is to get broader insights on the professional interaction of supervisor and report author.
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    Go or No Go: Learning to Persuade in an Early-Stage Student Entrepreneurship Program
    (2020-06) Spinuzzi, Clay; Altounian, David; Pogue, Gregory
    Abstract—Background: Early-stage accelerator programs teach new entrepreneurs how to identify and exploit venture opportunities. In doing so, they implicitly teach these new entrepreneurs how to develop and iterate claims. But since this function of teaching persuasion has been implicit and generally unsystematic, it is unclear how well it works. Literature review: We review related literature on the venture development process, value propositions, and logic orientation (Goods-Dominant vs. Service-Dominant Logic). Research questions: 1. Does an entrepreneurship training program implicitly teach new entrepreneurs to make and iterate persuasive claims? 2. How effectively does it do so, and how can it improve? Research methodology: We examine one such accelerator program via a qualitative case study. In this case study, we collected interviews, observations, and artifacts, then analyzed them with thematic coding. Results/discussion: All teams had received previous entrepreneurship training and mentoring. However, they differed in their problem and logic orientations as well as their stage in the venture development process. These differences related to the extent to which they iterated value propositions in the program. Conclusions: We conclude with recommendations for improving how accelerator programs can better train new entrepreneurs to communicate and persuade.
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    Gender and Sexual Minority College Students: The Risk and Extent of Victimization and Related Health and Educational Outcomes
    (SAGE Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2019-11) Kammer-Kerwick, Matt; Wang, Alexander; McClain, T'Shana; Hoefer, Sharon; Swartout, Kevin; Backes, Bethany; Busch-Armendariz, Noël
    A multisite survey conducted at eight campuses of a southwestern university system provides the data for the present study, total N = 17,039 with 1,869 gender and sexual minority (GSM) students. Sexual violence was measured using the Sexual Experiences Survey (SES), and analysis included both the participant’s risk of experiencing sexual violence and the extent (or total count) of sexual violence experienced. This study poses the following research questions: What effects do gender identity and sexual orientation have on the risk and extent of sexual violence among students and, among victims, what is the relationship between gender identity/sexual orientation and mental health (posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], depression) and academic environment (disengagement and safety) outcomes for university students? Multilevel, random effect hurdle models captured this sequential victimization dynamic. GSM and cisgender heterosexual (CH) female students are predicted to be 2.6 and 3 times, respectively, as likely to experience sexual violence compared with CH male students. In addition, GSM students experiencing sexual violence are also expected to experience a greater number of sexually violent acts (74% more) over their college career compared with victimized CH male students. The models confirm that the risk of victimization increases over time (13% per year for CH male students), but GSM students are expected to experience an additional (10%) increase in risk of victimization per year compared with CH male students. GSM and CH female students are also predicted to be more likely to have PTSD and experience more severe depression symptoms than CH male students. GSM students are expected to experience significantly higher rates of PTSD, worse depressive symptoms, and greater disengagement than CH female students. The discussion explores how institutions of higher education might recognize the resilience of GSM students and consider the protective potential of social and community support when developing programs or interventions for diverse populations.
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    A Call to the Engineering Community to Address Human Trafficking
    (National Academy of Engineering, 2019-09-16) Caulkins, Jonathan P.; Kammer-Kerwick, Matt; Konrad, Renata; Maass, Kayse Lee; Martin, Lauren; Sharkey, Thomas
    Human trafficking (HT) is a horrific and seemingly intractable problem that is typically construed as falling beyond the purview of engineers. This paper argues that engineering systems analysis can produce important insights concerning HT operations and ways to reduce its frequency. Three cases of such systems analysis illustrate (a) the limitations of individual- level interventions against sex trafficking, (b) the benefits of applying network analysis and interdiction models to HT supply chains, and (c) options to reduce the use of trafficked labor in the preparation and distribution of fish products. The International Labour Office (ILO 2017) has estimated that there are 25 million victims in forced labor around the world, including 4.8 million in forced sexual exploitation. There are opportunities for engineering to make transformative contributions to the curtailment of human trafficking.
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    Articulating Problems and Markets: A Translation Analysis of Entrepreneurs’ Emergent Value Propositions
    (SAGE, 2018-07-18) Spinuzzi, Clay; Altounian, David; Pogue, Gregory P.; Zhu, Lily; Cochran, Robert
    In this qualitative study, the authors apply Callon’s sociology of translation to examine how new technology entrepreneurs enact material arguments that involve the first two moments of translation—problematization (defining a market problem) and interessement (defining a market and the firm’s relationship to it) - which in turn are represented in a claim, the value proposition. That emergent claim can then be represented and further changed during pitches. If accepted, it can then lead to the second two moments of translation: enrollment and mobilization. Drawing on written materials, observations, and interviews, we trace how these value propositions were iterated along three paths to better problematize and interesse, articulating a problem and market on which a business could plausibly be built. We conclude by discussing implications for understanding value propositions in entrepreneurship and, more broadly, using the sociology of translation to analyze emergent, material, consequential arguments. The study is based on data collected at the Austin Technology Incubator’s Student Entrepreneur Acceleration and Launch program (ATI SEAL) at The University of Texas at Austin.
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    Creating the Technopolis: High-Technology Development in Austin, Texas
    (Journal of Business Venturing, 1989-01) Smilor, Raymond W.; Gibson, David V.; Kozmetsky, George
    New institutional alliances, driven by the rapid increase in and diversity of new technologies, are altering the strategy and tactics of economic development. As a result, communities across the world are seeking to create modern technopoleis or city-states that interactively link technology commercialization with public and private sectors to spur economic growth and diversification through high-technology company development. This paper develops the conceptual framework of a technopolis wheel from studying the dynamics of high-technology development and economic growth in Austin, Texas. It describes seven segments within the technopolis: the university, large technology companies, small technology companies, federal government, state government, local government and support groups. (Author's preprint.)
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    A Guiding Vision for Fluid Learning: The Future of Education and Training
    (IC² Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, 2003-04) Jackson, Melinda L.; Woelk, Darrell
    Position paper by the Digital Media Collaboratory (DMC) of the IC² Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. The authors envision learning systems as a ubiquitous public utility and propose an architecture to accomplish it. The paper includes a description of DMC research activities in 2003.
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    Empirical Evidence on the Use of Credit Scoring for Predicting Insurance Losses with Psycho-social and Biochemical Explanations
    (North American Actuarial Journal, 2016-09) Golden, Linda L.; Brockett, Patrick L.; Ai, Jing; Kellison, J. Bruce
    An important development in personal lines of insurance in the United States is the use of credit history data for insurance risk classification to predict losses. This research presents the results of collaboration with industry conducted by a university at the request of its state legislature. The purpose was to see the viability and validity of the use of credit scoring to predict insurance losses given its controversial nature and criticism as redundant of other predictive variables currently used. Working with industry and government, this study analyzed more than 175,000 policyholders’ information for the relationship between credit score and claims. Credit scores were significantly related to incurred losses, evidencing both statistical and practical significance. We investigate whether the revealed relationship between credit score and incurred losses was explainable by overlap with existing underwriting variables or whether the credit score adds new information about losses not contained in existing underwriting variables. The results show that credit scores contain significant information not already incorporated into other traditional rating variables (e.g., age, sex, driving history). We discuss how sensation seeking and self-control theory provide a partial explanation of why credit scoring works (the psycho-social perspective). This article also presents an overview of biological and chemical correlates of risk taking that helps explain why knowing risk-taking behavior in one realm (e.g., risky financial behavior and poor credit history) transits to predicting risk-taking behavior in other realms (e.g., automobile insurance incurred losses). Additional research is needed to advance new nontraditional loss prediction variables from social media consumer information to using information provided by technological advances. The evolving and dynamic nature of the insurance marketplace makes it imperative that professionals continue to evolve predictive variables and for academics to assist with understanding the whys of the relationships through theory development.
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    A Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approach to Improve Regional Innovation Ecosystems in Portugal
    (Brazilian Journal of Operations & Production Management, 2016-03) Resende, David N.; Bravo, Marco
    This article presents the University Technology Enterprise Network (UTEN), a successful program that built a national innovation network in Portugal based in the university technology transfer offices (TTOs), incubators and science parks. UTEN, which was launched in March 2007, includes 15 Portuguese universities and select international partners in a 5-year program funded by the Portuguese government. The main objective has been to accelerate the development of a sustainable, globally competitive, professional technology transfer and commercialization network within Portugal to increase Portugal’s international competitiveness in university–based science, and technology transfer and commercialization.
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    Introduction to Special Issue on the Rhetoric of Entrepreneurship
    (Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 2017-04) Spinuzzi, Clay
    Introduction to a special issue of the Journal of Business and Technical Communication on the rhetoric of entrepreneurship. The author introduces basic definitions and concepts from the field of entrepreneurship, then identifies three issues linking rhetoric to entrepreneurship: rhetoric and identity; rhetoric, culture, and community; and rhetoric and persuasion.
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    Chasing Entrepreneurial Firms
    (Industry Studies Association, 2017-05-17) Echeverri-Carroll, Elsie L.; Feldman, Maryann
    The search for a reliable dataset of entrepreneurial firms is ongoing. We analyze and assess longitudinal data on startups from two data sources—the National Establishment Time-Series (NETS) database and the Secretary of State (SOS) business registry data. Our primary purpose in this paper is to assess the usefulness and reliability of these two databases in measuring startup activity along a number of dimensions. Using the data to measure software startups, we conclude that data need to be carefully cleaned and adjusted from several biases before they become reliable. We carefully document our methodology and make suggestions for others to increase the utility of these sources. In particular, we find the NETS data enables identification of startup trends in high-tech industries at the regional level and the contribution of startups to local employment. (This version was prepared for the 2017 Industry Studies Association Annual Meetings.)
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    Data Envelopment Analysis and Commercial Bank Performance: A Primer with Applications to Missouri Banks
    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 1992-01) Yue, Piyu
    This paper describes a particular methodology called Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), that has been used previously to analyze the relative efficiencies of industrial firms, universities, hospitals, military operations, baseball players and, more recently, commercial banks. The use of DEA is demonstrated by evaluating the management of 60 Missouri commercial banks for the period from 1984 to 1990.
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    A Good Idea is Not Enough: Understanding the Challenges of Entrepreneurship Communication
    (International Conference on Competitive Manufacturing, 2016-01) Spinuzzi, Clay; Jakobs, Eva-Maria; Pogue, Gregory P.
    This paper addresses a less-investigated issue of innovations: entrepreneurship communication. Business and marketing studies demonstrate that new product development processes do not succeed on good technical invention alone. To succeed, the invention must be appropriately communicated to a market and iterated through dialogue with potential stakeholders. We explore this issue by examining communication-related challenges, abilities and barriers from the perspectives of innovators trying to enter an unfamiliar, foreign market. Specifically, we summarize results of a set of studies conducted in the Gyeonggi Innovation Program (GIP), an entrepreneurship program formed by a partnership between the University of Texas at Austin and Gyeonggi-Do Province in South Korea. Through the GIP, Korean entrepreneurs attempt to expand domestically successful product ideas to the American market. The study results demonstrate that these innovators must deal with a broad range of challenges, particularly (1) developing deeper understanding of market needs, values, and cultural expectations, and (2) producing pitches with the structure, claims and evidence, and engagement strategies expected by American stakeholders. These studies confirm that a deeper understanding of successful new product development (NPD) projects requires not only a culturally authentic NPD process model, but also communication-oriented research. The GIP approach offers insights into good programmatic concept and effective methods for training engineers to become entrepreneurs. Yet we also identify potential improvements for such programs. Finally, we draw implications for studying entrepreneurship communication.