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 8, 2019

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.

Session 2: Creativity and Innovation

Thursday, January 10, 2019

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.

Accounting Basics Workshop

Friday, January 11, 2019

Hour: 4:30 - 5:30 in Y2E2 105

Summary: We will review the basics of financial statements. 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 (if you don't have an accounting background)

Session 3: Key Frameworks and Models

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

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

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)

Session 4: From Idea to Opportunity I

Thursday, January 17, 2019

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

Session 5: From Idea to opportunity II

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Session 6: Global Marketing & Sales

Thursday, January 24, 2019
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 + Venture Lab #1

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Session 8: From Idea to Opportunity III

Thursday, January 31, 2019

This is the last of three sessions where we discuss the differences between an idea and an opportunity. In this session, we examine the a sport franchise using the models and lessons we have learned so far in E145.

Quote of the Day:
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses." (Abraham Lincoln)

Study Questions (Policy on Study Questions)

Session 9: Venture Finance I (Sources)

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
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 7, 2019
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: "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.

Session 12: Team Dynamics + Venture Lab #2

Thursday, February 14, 2019
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 13: Founder's Dilemma I (Equity Splits)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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  

Guest: Greg Yap

Study Questions (Policy on Study Questions)

Session 14: Founders Dilemma II (Culture)

Thursday, February 21, 2019

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: Venture Finance III (Compensation)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
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: Founders Dilemma III (Values and Principles)

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Sometimes companies face challenges beyond the 5 primary risks that we have discussed - market, team, technology, product, business model. Challenges that come from within are often related to a 6th risk — values. In this session we will read about a series of companies that have gone awry due their lack of clear values. Even companies that reach scale can fail when their values aren't sustainable or incentivize problematic behavior within the company. At the conclusion of the class we will turn to our own personal values and how those values will guide us over the course of our careers.

Quote of the Day: “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Roy Disney

Session 17: OAP Presentations

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
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 canvas (in either PDF or PowerPoint format) by 8:00am before Session 17.

Session 18: OAP Presentations

Thursday, March 7, 2019
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 canvas (in either PDF or PowerPoint format) by 8:00am before Session 17.

Session 19: Personal Business Plans

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

  This session allows students to share highlights from their Personal Business Plan (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

Session 20: Course Summary

Thursday, March 14, 2019

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: