Session 11: "Special Topics in Entrepreneurship" Midterm Debates

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


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.

Please choose your specific topic from those listed below, each of which is accompanied by a reading that pertains to it. Base your analysis off of at least one book, although you do not necessarily have to use one of the ​specific ​books that we have paired with your topic.​ If you want to propose a substitute book or collection of readings and videos, then please feel free to do so. However, please make sure to submit your proposed alternative and gain permission with the instructors at least a week before this session. To summarize, this midterm is a required part of the course, designed to be an individual assignment, and there is no make-up opportunity available.

During this session, we will have debates about these 4 topics in class for about 20 minutes each. Prepare yourself for participation in one of the debate topics by creating one page of notes that clearly articulates your point-of-view and supporting arguments. No more than 500 words please of bullets or narrative or a combination. Submit these notes by 8AM on the day of this session. When deciding which topic to choose, ​consider your decision using these ​perspectives:​
  • ​​​Critical thinking:​​ ​What is your opinion and position on the key debate question for the topic you have chosen for the midterm?
  • ​Self awareness:​​ ​How has your knowledge and interest in this topic changed because of the key insights from past E145 sessions and the reading below?
​​Each student must submit an individual copy of the midterm assignment by 8AM on the day of this session via Canvas and be prepared to participate during the in-class debates. Topic choices and associated readings are:
  1. History of Entrepreneurship: Are entrepreneurs born or made? Can entrepreneurship be taught and learned? What has history taught us about these questions?
  2. Social Entrepreneurship: Is social entrepreneurship different than for-profit entrepreneurship? Why or why not?
  3. Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: Will Silicon Valley always be the leading center of high-impact and high-growth innovation and entrepreneurship on the planet? What are the key elements of a successful entrepreneurship ecosystem?
  4. Ethics and Entrepreneurship: What are the ethical challenges entrepreneurs need to confront given the current Silicon Valley climate?
    1. Reading: Bad Blood by Kirsten Elsar (2018) or 
    2. Brotopia by Emily Chang (2018).