Syllabus & Calendar

The sessions for this course are organized into four modules:

1-4: The Entrepreneurial Perspective
5-10: Opportunity Recognition and Evaluation
11-16: Assembling Resources and Managing Growth
17-20: Entrepreneurship and You

1: Course Overview and Silicon Valley

Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Summary: This first meeting of the course will provide a complete overview of the course including introductions, my expectations, and exactly how I plan to exceed students’ expectations. 

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?

For a 1-page version of the Course Syllabus, see Handouts section below.

2: Key Frameworks and Models

Friday, September 26, 2014
Summary: What exactly is technology entrepreneurship?  We will give an overview of this process of creating and growing high potential ventures using several frameworks. 

3: Creativity & Innovation

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Summary: Every entrepreneur faces endless challenges along the way. These problems never have one right answer, and often they have never been solved before. The only way for an entrepreneur to succeed is to view each challenge as an opportunity for a creative solution. The best entrepreneurs seek out challenges. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity! In this class, we will focus on stirring up your creative juices so that you can tackle the challenges ahead. You will be given several interactive projects that have no right answer. You will be encouraged to work creatively with your team, to stretch your imagination, and to take some risks.

4: From Idea to Opportunity I (Digital)

Friday, October 3, 2014
Summary: This is the first of three sessions where we discuss the differences between an idea and an opportunity. In this session, we look at the particular challenges of new ventures in information technology.

Quote of the Day:
"The key to a leader's impact is sincerity.  Before he can inspire with emotion he must be swayed by it himself.  Before he can move their tears his own must flow. To convince them he must himself believe." Winston Churchill

Study Questions
(Policy on Study Questions.)

5: From Idea to Opportunity II (Life Sciences)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Summary: This is the second of two sessions where we discuss the differences between an idea and an opportunity. In this session, we look at the particular challenges of new ventures in the life science industry.

Quote of the Day: “To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” Benjamin Franklin

Study Questions
(Policy on Study Questions.)

6: From Idea to Opportunity III (The Lean Startup)

Friday, October 10, 2014
Summary: This session provides new insight into what it is that makes some startups successful and leaves others selling off their furniture. We'll explore the premise that startups that survive the first few tough years do not follow the traditional product-centric launch model. Rather, through trial and error, hiring and firing, successful startups all invent a new, parallel process to product development for sales, marketing and business development.

7: Global Marketing & Sales

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Summary: This session further examines strategy and entrepreneurship including the concepts of disruptive innovations and marketing. During the first part of the session, the importance and implications of the technology adoption life cycle are examined. We also survey the key elements of entrepreneurial marketing, including a compelling product/service strategy, a well-crafted positioning statement, competitive differentiation, and a subsequent penetration strategy (including distribution, promotion and pricing). We will also discuss marketing as a set of relationships (i.e., partnerships and alliances) with customers, technology allies, distribution and promotion partners, and even competitors.

8: Legal Matters + Venture Lab #1

Friday, October 17, 2014
Summary: This session will focus on legal matters. As time allows, we will also examine the importance of intellectual property (IP) and the impact of government regulation. Whereas old economy businesses built value in the form of factories and equipment, new economy businesses create the lion's share of their value in intangibles: patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks.  An effective entrepreneur knows how to establish these key assets, and how to use them with investors, partners and competitors.  IP issues vary across industries and product categories.  For example, protecting IP with patents is less critical for web software ventures than it is for biotechnology ventures.

9: Venture Finance I (Sources)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Summary: How do entrepreneurs set priorities when gathering financial resources?  Today's session introduces the topic of venture finance. We will also hear the drafted positioning statements from each team as posted on their term project's website.

Quote of the Day: "Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." ~ Booker T. Washington

Study Questions
(Policy on Study Questions.)

10: Venture Finance II (Staged Financings)

Friday, October 24, 2014
Summary: What is the value of "staged financings" for both entrepreneurs and venture capitalists? The Dropbox case illustrates the exciting opportunities and challenges companies face in their formative years.

Quote of the Day: “If you would like to know the value of money, try to borrow some.“ Benjamin Franklin

Study Questions (Policy on Study Questions)
  • Regarding Dropbox, why is this a big opportunity for Houston and his team?

11: "Deep Dive" Midterms

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quote of the Day: “Bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” Abraham Lincoln

"Deep Dive" Midterm Assignment:​ Entrepreneurship is more than simply numbers, frameworks, and technological innovations. It is an art that entails many nuances that aren't readily apparent, but contain rich histories and powerful implications. The midterm is an opportunity to explore th​is through an individual writing assignment​​​ in which you will perform a deep analysis of a particular aspect of the art of entrepreneurship.

12: Team Dynamics + Venture Lab #2

Friday, October 31, 2014
Summary: In this session, we will work through a process to improve the functioning of your team.  We will learn about group dynamics and how to improve the functioning of teams and groups that you find yourself in, both during your educational experience and in your career.

As a reminder, the Venture Lab component of this session is a required, in-class meeting of your OAP team. You will use this time to work together on your project and ask questions of the teaching team.

Quote of the Day: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

Team Effectiveness Exercise

13: Founder's Dilemma I (Equity Splits)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Summary Entrepreneurship is a team sport. What are the critical human resource issues for new ventures? The NanoGene case examines the big three: assembling a team, developing a compensation policy, and creating an innovative culture.

Term Project:(Policy on Term Project Assignments)

14: Founders Dilemma II (CEO Succession)

Friday, November 7, 2014
Summary The Wily Technology case addresses a critical stage in a new venture's development, when the founder who has been leading the company is being replaced by a professional CEO. It examines the events, conditions, and founder characteristics that precipitate such a change, and the issue of whether the founder should remain in the company after the succession event and in what role.

Quote of the Day:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams

Guest: Peter Fenton  

15: Venture Finance III (Stock Options)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Summary: Barbara Arneson must decide which job offer to take. With all other factors being equal, she is now down to a decision based on the value of the equity compensation (i.e., the stock options) offered by each company. One company is a public company with easily gathered data on its financial status. The other company is a start-up which has only financial projections.

Quote of the Day: “Fortune sides with him who dares.” Virgil

16: Dress Rehearsal

Friday, November 14, 2014
Summary: OAP Dress Rehearsal

Quote of the Day: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela

For information on this session please see the Term Projects page.

17: OAP Presentations I - A Groups

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Summary: Opportunity Analysis Projects

Quote of the Day: "The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well." John D. Rockefeller

Details: Presentations are limited to 15 minutes per team including Q&A. Slides should be in standard PowerPoint format, with a recommended maximum of 8 slides per team. The best presentations are often the shortest and most succinct. A summary at the end of the presentation is often very powerful.

18: OAP Presentations II

Friday, November 21, 2014
Summary: Opportunity Analysis Projects

Quote of the Day: “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” Thomas Edison

For information on this session please see the Term Projects page.

19: Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quote of the Day: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt

20: Course Summary

Friday, December 5, 2014
Quote of the Day: "To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a little better; whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success." Ralph Waldo Emerson