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

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?

2: Key Frameworks and Models

Friday, September 25, 2015

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 will be cleared by the beginning of class today, if not earlier.

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

Term Project (Policy on Term Project Assignments)

2A: Accounting Basics (Mandatory)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Summary: Understanding how to read and analyze financial statements is essential to analyzing the health of a business and how new opportunities could affect the financial health of a company. In this section, Dimitre Dimitrov will give a workshop on accounting basics that covers how to start analyzing company financials using the three financial statements (Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Statement of Cash Flows).

Guest: Dimitre Dimitrov (Stanford Technology Ventures Program) and Sue Schmitt (Stanford Controller)

3: From Idea to Opportunity I (Info Tech)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Summary: This is the first of three sessions where we discuss the differences between an idea and an opportunity.

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

Guest: Srinija Srinivasan

Study Questions
(Policy on Study Questions.)

4: Creativity and Innovation

Friday, October 2, 2015
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.

5: From Idea to Opportunity II

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

This is the second of three sessions where we discuss the differences between an idea and an opportunity. In this session, we look at the particular challenges of a sports franchise.

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: Legal Matters + Venture Lab #1

Friday, October 9, 2015
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.

7: Global Marketing & Sales

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
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).

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

Friday, October 16, 2015
Summary: This is the last of three sessions where we discuss the differences between an idea and an opportunity. In this session, we look again at the challenges of new enterprises in technology. In particular, startups that succeed usually invent and live by a process of customer learning and discovery called "Customer Development," which is a critical component of the Lean Startup philosophy and methods. The Customer Development process for launching a new product into a new market is the antithesis of the well-honed Product Management rules observed by large companies. Indeed, following traditional Product Management rules is a recipe for failure when it comes to a startup in a new market.

9: Venture Finance I (Sources)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
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 23, 2015
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)

11: "Special Topics in Entrepreneurship" Midterm Debates

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

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 three special topics in entrepreneurship through an individual writing assignment beforehand and subsequent class participation in a debate format.

12: Team Dynamics + Venture Lab #2

Friday, October 30, 2015
In this session, 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 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

13: Founder's Dilemma I (Equity Splits)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

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  

14: Founders Dilemma II (CEO Succession)

Friday, November 6, 2015

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

Term Project:
(Policy on Term Project Assignments)

15: Venture Finance III (Stock Options)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
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 sides with him who dares.” Virgil

16: OAP Dress Rehearsal

Friday, November 13, 2015
Summary: OAP Dress Rehearsal. In the Silicon Valley spirit of helping others and sharing ideas in order to do great things, each team will be paired up at the start of this session and then will ideally present a rough draft of their final OAP presentation to the other team. This exercise is designed to both allow you to receive feedback on your presentation and let you practice giving feedback to others. Please make sure your team will have some materials to present and receive feedback by the start of this session unless you work out a different arrangement with the team you are paired with for another time that works for all.

17: OAP Presentations

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
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.

Teams must post their slides to their website (in either PDF or .ppt format) and the homework list (in .ppt format) by 9:00am before Session 17.

18: OAP Presentations

Friday, November 20, 2015
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.

Teams must post their slides to their website (in either PDF or .ppt format) and the homework list (in .ppt format) by 9:00am before Session 17.

19: Personal Business Plans

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Summary:  This session allows students to share highlights from their Personal Business Plans (PBP) and how entrepreneurship and innovation could play a role in their personal and career paths.

Quotes of the Day:
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt
“Bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” Abraham Lincoln

20: Course Summary

Friday, December 4, 2015

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.