Syllabus & Calendar

The sessions for this course are organized into three modules:

1-8: The Entrepreneurial Mindset and Opportunity
9-15: Assembling Resources and Managing Growth
16-20: Entrepreneurship and You

Session 1: Course Overview and Silicon Valley

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Special Alert: In order to be considered for admission to E145, you must signup on Axess and attend this session (Session 1). We will notify each applicant of their status as soon as possible and clear the waiting list at the start of Session 2 on Thursday.

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

Session 2: Key Frameworks and Models

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Summary: What exactly is technology entrepreneurship?  We will give an overview of the process of creating and growing high potential ventures using several frameworks.  

The waitlist for admission to the course will be cleared at the beginning of class today, if necessary. Students notified and confirmed for admission since the first session must be in attendance or a person from the waitlist will replace them.

Quote of the Day: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Aristotle

2A: Special TA Office Hour (Accounting)

Monday, January 13, 2020

When and Where: 11AM PST at Room TBD in a Special Office Hour by a TA

Summary: We will review the basics of financial statements by answering any questions from enrolled students without any background in accounting. As knowledge of basic accounting is useful for getting the most from E145, we will focus on the structure, terminology or process associated with financial statements.

Required Readings

Session 3: Creativity and Innovation

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

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 classmates, to stretch your imagination, and to take some risks.

Session 4: From Idea to Opportunity I

Thursday, January 16, 2020


Session 6: Global Marketing & Sales

Thursday, January 23, 2020
Summary: This session 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/ strategy, product/market fit, a well-crafted positioning statement, competitive differentiation, and a subsequent go-to-market strategy including distribution, promotion, and pricing.

Session 7: Legal Matters and Venture Lab #1

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Session 8: From Idea to Opportunity II

Thursday, January 30, 2020


Session 9: Venture Finance I: Sources of Capital

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Summary: How do entrepreneurs set priorities when gathering financial resources?  Today's session introduces the topic of venture finance.

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.)

Session 10: Venture Finance II: Staged Financings

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Summary: In this session, we will focus on understanding the progression of a company's staged financings, and the value of this financing structure to 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)

Session 11: Team Dynamics + Venture Lab #2

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Summary: In this mandatory session for all students so we have entire teams in attendance, we will start with a short lecture about the importance of people in new enterprises. We will then work through a process to improve the functioning of your own E145 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's next milestone and ask any questions of the teaching team.

Session 12: "Special Topics in Entrepreneurship" Midterm

Thursday, February 13, 2020


Summary: Entrepreneurship is more than simply numbers, frameworks, and technological innovations. It is an art that entails many nuances that are not readily apparent, each often revealing rich histories and powerful implications. Our midterm "exam" is an opportunity to explore one of four special topics in entrepreneurship through an individual writing assignment beforehand and subsequent class participation in a debate format.

Session 13: Organization Development I: Equity Splits

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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.

Quote of the Day: "Never, never, never, never give up." ~ Winston Churchill 

Study Questions (Policy on Study Questions)

Session 14: Organization Development II: Culture

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Summary The Gusto case addresses one of the most subtle problems a company is confronted when scaling: Culture. As they go from the "office in a garage" to the large company headquarters, how do startups make sure they organization stays consistent and true to their values?

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

Term Project:
(Policy on Term Project Assignments)

Session 15: Organization Development III: Compensation

Tuesday, February 25, 2020
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 offered by each company (i.e., the stock options). 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. This session is a great chance to learn about the four essentials of stock options: the length of the vesting period, the strike or exercise price, estimating the market price at some future point, and the number of shares currently outstanding at the enterprise.

Quote of the Day: “Fortune favors the prepared mind.” Pasteur

Session 16: Venture Lab #3: OAP Preparations

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Summary: OAP Dress Rehearsal. Each team will pair with another one to do a dress rehearsal. This exercise is designed to both allow you to receive feedback on your presentation and let you practice giving constructive feedback to others.

Recommended Viewing

Session 17: OAP Team Presentations

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Summary: Opportunity Analysis Projects - Group A Only

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 most effective presentations are often the most succinct. A summary at the end of the presentation is often very powerful.

Session 18: OAP Team Presentations

Thursday, March 5, 2020


Summary: Opportunity Analysis Projects - Group B Only

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

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 most effective presentations are often the most succinct. A summary at the end of the presentation is often very powerful.

Session 19: Personal Business Plans

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Session 20: Course Summary

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Summary This session concludes our journey to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation by inviting all student teams to share their favorite "lessons learned" with classmates. The instructors will then make closing remarks regarding our hope that Engineering 145's bold objectives were achieved by students and faculty alike: