Yesterday, I had the privilege of attending my first AUTM conference after being invited by Kerri Smith of the OWL Accelerator in Houston. The topic of my quick 10-minute talk was “Ethics in Flyover Ecosystems” and it was part of a broader discussion on “Ethical Challenges Facing Startups”.
From their website: “AUTM is the nonprofit leader in efforts to educate, promote and inspire professionals, throughout their careers, to support the development of academic research that changes the world. AUTM’s community is comprised of more than 3,200 members who work in more than 800 universities, research centers, hospitals, businesses and government organizations around the globe. The core purpose of AUTM is to support and advance academic technology transfer globally.”
Among the speakers were me, Kirsten Leute, SVP for University Relations at Osage University Partners, and Charles Valauskas of Valauskas Corder LLC.
Kirsten used a term - mirrortocracy -to describe the practice of hiring only those who fit a certain profile for a position. It's possible I'm late to the game with the term, but I definitely plan on using it moving forward as there are so many possible use cases.
Below are the slides I presented, plus an additional one at the beginning which I left out but spoke to in order to create a frame of reference for what can happen when investor ethics turn in entrepreneurs' favor. Once a “market” is created for common terms, it puts everyone on an even playing field which benefits all involved.
Universities have a huge role to play in developing startup ecosystems. They produce ideas, founders, and affordable talent for startups. They are taking ethics from faculty, students, and outside parties like investors and mentors very seriously. I really enjoyed being able to play a small role in their process and to give our perspective on the issue.
Thank you Kerri and the AUTM team for having me!