1: Course Overview and Silicon Valley

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Summary: This first meeting of the course will provide a complete overview of the course including introductions of the teaching team, our expectations, and exactly how we plan to exceed the expectations of all students. We will discuss our goals for this quarter, during which we will spend ten weeks examining the economic and cultural underpinnings of technology entrepreneurship practiced in innovation-rich regions of the world--particularly in Silicon Valley. What exactly is the significance of "Silicon Valley"? How has it been created? What is unique about Silicon Valley, and what could be replicated in other regions of the world?

In order to be considered for E145, you must attend this session (Session 1) and should have filled out the MS&E Course Common Application. We hope to notify each applicant of their status by later today (September 23rd) at 6PM.

Quote of the Day
: "A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties." Harry Truman

Study Questions
(Policy on Study Questions.)
  • What is entrepreneurship?  Can it be taught and learned (or is it something you are born with)?
  • Why should engineering, science, and humanities (i.e. non-business) students study entrepreneurship?
  • In what ways might Silicon Valley's last 75 years compare to historical periods of innovation such as the Renaissance during the 15th and 16th centuries? In your opinion, what is the primary reason Silicon Valley has been such an influential economic hub?
  • Geographically speaking, where do you plan to start your professional career after graduation? Why?
Required Readings (Policy on Required Readings.)
  • Carefully review the one-page Course Grid/Syllabus in the Handouts section below. Browse this entire E145 course website. Please come to class prepared with any questions..
  • Technology Ventures (Byers, Dorf, and Nelson): Preface (Table of Contents) and Chapter 1. Click on these links to access or just see Handouts section below for the PDFs.
  • Inside Silicon Valley: Empire of the Geeks published in The Economist, August 2015.

Recommended Readings (Policy on Recommended Readings)