Syllabus & Calendar

View an overview of this syllabus as a PDF
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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
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?

2: Key Frameworks and Models

Thursday, September 26, 2013
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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
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)

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Summary: This is the first 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 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)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
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.

Study Questions
(Policy on Study Questions.)

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013
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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Summary: This session examines strategy and entrepreneurship including the concepts of disruptive innovations, marketing, customer development, lean startups, and developing a business model. 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).

8: Legal Matters + Venture Lab #1

Thursday, October 17, 2013
Summary: This session will focus on the importance of an innovative business model (how the venture will make money while making a meaningful product or service). As time allows, we will also examine the importance of intellectual property (IP) and the impact of government regulation.

9: Venture Finance I (Sources)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
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.

Term Project (Policy on Term Project Assignments)
Please post your positioning statements to the team website and send the the homework email alias.  See the term project section of the syllabus for more information.  Browse other teams' websites to see the various concepts and opportunities.

10: Venture Finance II (Staged Financings)

Thursday, October 24, 2013
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.

Study Questions (Policy on Study Questions)

11: Midterms

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Term Project: (Policy on Term Project Assignments)
Please prepare your team's "positioning statement 2.0" (PS2) by today. Depending on what you've learned in the past week, your original positioning statement may have been validated or changed. To explain why your PS2 looks as it does, please prepare a report of your direct research (both primary and secondary).
  • What have you done?
  • Who have you spoken to? (List)
  • What did you learn?

12: Team Dynamics + Venture Lab #2

Thursday, October 31, 2013
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.

Team Effectiveness Exercise

13: Founder's Dilemma I (Equity Splits)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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)

Thursday, November 7, 2013
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:

Guest: Peter Fenton  

15: Venture Finance III (Stock Options)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
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.

16: Dress Rehearsal

Thursday, November 14, 2013
Summary: OAP Dress Rehearsal

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

17: OAP Presentations I

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Summary: Opportunity Analysis Projects

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

18: OAP Presentations II

Thursday, November 21, 2013
Summary: Opportunity Analysis Projects

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

19: Social Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quote of the Day:

Guest: Scott Harrison

20: Course Summary

Thursday, December 5, 2013
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