Startups: Why to Share Data with AcademicsPosted: January 28, 2013 | Author: Hilary Mason | Filed under: blog | 5 Comments »
Last week I wrote a bit about how to share data with academics. This is the complimentary piece, on why you should invest the time and energy in sharing your data with the academic community.
As I was talking to people about this topic it became clear that there are really two different questions people ask. First, why do this at all? And second, what do I tell my boss?
Let’s start with the second one. This is what you should tell your boss:
- Academic research based on our work is a great press opportunity and demonstrates that credible people outside of our company find our work interesting.
- Having researchers work on our data is an easy way to access highly educated brainpower, for free, that in no way competes with us. Who knows what interesting stuff they’ll come up with?
- Personal relationships with university faculty are the absolute best way to recruit talent. If we invest a little bit of time in building a strong relationship with this professor, she’ll know the kind of people we’re looking for and send us her best students.
All of these points are valid, but they aren’t complete. As a startup, you’re mostly likely building a product at the intersection of a just-now-possible technology and a mostly-likely-ready market. The further the research in your field moves, the greater the number of possible futures for your company. Further, the greater the awareness of your type of technology in the community, the larger the market is likely to actually be.
Your company is one piece of a complex system, and the more robust that system becomes, the more possibilities there are for you. Share data, and you make the world a more interesting place in a direction that you’re interested in.