2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Tech Dreams: Entrepreneurial Lessons from Silicon Valley


Spring 2013 quarter

David Shaw international business, economics
Fields of Study
business and management, economics and sustainability studies
Preparatory for studies or careers in
creating a business, or working with or consulting with others founding or growing their own businesses. It should also help those interested in pursuing advanced studies in business, economics, the physical and natural sciences, engineering, IT or the social sciences, or seeking employment in the private sector, government or non-profit organizations.
No previous studies or experience in science, technology, business, economics or entrepreneurship is needed. However, a basic level of quantitative competence, including the ability to create, use and interpret spreadsheets (e.g., MS Excel), should prove useful for the individual project work and team-based business simulation.

At its simplest, this program will serve as an introduction to innovation, entrepreneurship and strategic management. We will focus on the entrepreneurial lessons learned by technology entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley (and elsewhere) over the past two decades. What Horatio Alger’s “rags to riches” stories were to “the American dream” in the late 19 th century, Silicon Valley was to engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs and the popular imagination during the late 20 th century (and up to the present). Beyond the myths of successful startup businesses launched from humble origins in someone’s garage, however, lay the ideas that guided the tech entrepreneurs and their startup ventures. This program will examine the history of recent entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley (and other technology centers globally), not by focusing on the biographies of the most successful entrepreneurs in the tech industries, but by examining the contemporary books and ideas that inspired and guided their efforts.

The questions we’ll examine are these: What should one do as an entrepreneur? How should one think and plan in starting up a new venture (for-profit, non-profit or social)? Where should one focus their attention, and when? Does staying faithful to the plan, or adapting to a fast-changing environment, matter more? And when should entrepreneurs stay with their budding ventures, sell off their venture, or shut it down to move on to “something else”?

For seminar, we will read and discuss five seminal books published over the past 22 years that have guided entrepreneurial startups in the tech industries: Geoffrey A. Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, 1991; Clayton M. Christensen’s the Innovator’s Dilemma , 1997; W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne’s Blue Ocean Strategy , 2005; Steve Blank’s the Four Steps to the Epiphany , 2005; and Alex Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur’s Business Model Generation , 2010. We’ll read them in chronological order, examine what they said, and try to unpack why they gained wide currency among the tech startups and entrepreneurs of their day. We’ll also discuss why the “next big thing” complemented, superseded, or supplemented the previous school of thought. Readings of additional articles on entrepreneurial theory and practice and viewings of a handful of films and documentaries will complement this learning approach.

In addition, there will be a quarter-long, team-based online business simulation that will build skills in dynamic strategy making and financial statement analysis. An individual research project, including a draft marketing plan, business plan, feasibility study or critical book review on entrepreneurship (and/or business and technology) with an end-of quarter presentation will complete the program.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Special Expenses
Students should expect to pay a license fee of approximately $50 for each team participant in the simulation. This can usually be paid online directly to the simulation publisher.
May be offered again in
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
January 30th, 2013 New opportunity added.