Thursday, April 30, 2015

Writing :: Remaking the Pitch

Spinuzzi, C., Nelson, S., Thomson, K.S., Lorenzini, F., French, R.A., Pogue, G., Burback, S.D., & Momberger, J. (2015, in press). Reuse Strategies in Entrepreneurs' Pitch Decks. IEEE Transactions in Professional Communication 58(2).

This is another entry in my series on writing publications.

Last year, my colleagues and I published "Making the Pitch," an article about how new entrepreneurs learned genres associated with business pitches and developed their claims and evidence as they rerepresented their core arguments across these genres. Originally, we had planned to address reuse across these document genres as well, but the paper was too big, so we split it into two. The second paper, cleverly titled "Remaking the Pitch," was accepted by the same journal.

This paper is very much a sequel to the first one. The dataset is the same and the methodology differs mainly in the coding scheme. But the framing is different since we examine the phenomenon of reuse—hearkening back to some of the work on document cycles in the late 1980s-early 1990s as well as more recent work on reusable content. Specifically, we were interested in the choices that entrepreneurs made as they accepted, extended, or rebutted lines of argument from their interlocutors. I won't get too deeply into the argument here except to say that the document cycle provided opportunities for these entrepreneurs to enter into dialogue and deepen their arguments—and some of them took these opportunities.

The lessons from the previous paper apply here too. But the additional lesson is to know when to split an argument. Often, when an argument becomes too complex, you can simplify it; here, we really couldn't and it made more sense to split it. But since the two halves of the argument sdhared the same data, we were glad to place both in the same journal.