Begging for Money: Technology Commercialization and the Genre of the Business Pitch

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2016-12

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Nelson, Richard S

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Abstract

Although popular literature on business pitches abounds with advice to tell stories to engage an audience, little has been said about the function of those stories in creating technology commercialization networks. Current theories of business pitches present the product (and by proxy, the company making the product) as an entrepreneurial hero, one which relieves a population from some market pain. In these approaches, products, consumers, and values are intertwined in sociotechnical networks with an orientation toward relieving this pain. However, these approaches ignore the role of investors in technology commercialization networks. Investors hold the power to bring a product to market or banish it to obscurity, and thus further study of their roles in these sociotechnical networks is needed. This dissertation seeks to fill that gap, using two case studies from a larger data set collected over the course of a year. These case studies are from a technology commercialization pitch competition held in Suwon, South Korea, and supported by the University of Texas at Austin and the government of Gyeonggi-do province. Using the lenses of North American genre theory, actor-network theory, and narrative, I show that placing products between investors and preferred roles can be an effective approach to integrate investors into a network oriented to technology commercialization in international markets.

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