How Entrepreneurs Came to Own Innovation: The Rhetoric of Economic Risk in High-Tech

Speaker  Gina Neff

Affiliation  U of Washington/Princeton

Host  Kate Crawford

Duration  00:54:16

Date recorded  17 April 2013

How did innovation come to be synonymous with entrepreneurship? How did creativity become equated with risk? Perhaps more importantly, how did these concepts lead to advice such as that given by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: “Need a Job? Then Invent One?” This talk will present research on the first wave of employees with dot-com start-ups of the 1990s and 2000s who exhibited entrepreneurial behavior in their jobs--investing time, energy, and other personal resources--when they themselves were employees and not entrepreneurs. I argue that this “venture labor” is part of a longer and broader social shifting of economic risk to individual responsibility and understanding it is of paramount importance for encouraging innovation and, even more important, for creating sustainable work environments in high-tech sectors today.

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