Steve Blank, Ann Miura-Ko, Jon Feiber
Rick Barber (email@example.com)
Interest/passion in discovering how an idea can become a real company.
Provide an experiential learning opportunity showing how engineers, together with scientists and other professionals, really build companies.
This course provides real world, hands-on learning on what it’s like to actually start a high-tech company. This class is not about how to write a business plan. It’s not an exercise on how smart you are in a classroom, or how well you use the research library. The end result is not a PowerPoint slide deck for a VC presentation. Instead you will be getting your hands dirty talking to customers, partners, competitors, as you encounter the chaos and uncertainty of how a startup actually works. You’ll work in teams learning how to turn a great idea into a great company. You’ll learn how to use a business model to brainstorm each part of a company and customer development to get out of the classroom to see whether anyone other than you would want/use your product. Finally, you’ll see how agile development can help you rapidly iterate your product to build something customers will use and buy. Each week will be new adventure as you test each part of your business model and then share the hard earned knowledge with the rest of the class. Working with your team you will encounter issues on how to build and work with a team and we will help you understand how to build and manage the startup team.
This class is primarily team-based. Working and studying will be done in teams. Your team must submit a proposal as part of the course application process. Proposals can be software, physical product, or service of any kind. Projects are treated as real start-ups, so the work load will be intense.
Besides the instructors and TA’s, each team will be assigned a mentor (an experienced entrepreneur or VC) to provide assistance and support.
Each week’s class is organized around:
- Online lectures on one of the 9 building blocks of a business model (see the Business Model Canvas).
- Student presentations on their “lessons learned” from getting out of the building and iterating or pivoting their business model.
- Each team will capture their progression in learning by keeping an on-line journals/blogs/wiki.
While your first instinct may be a web-based startup we suggest that you consider a subject in which you are a domain expert, such as your graduate research. In all cases, you should choose something for which you have passion, enthusiasm, and hopefully some expertise. Teams that select a web-based product will have to build the site for the class.
This course is team-based and 80% of your grade will come from your team progress and final project. The grading criteria are broken down as follows:
20% - individual participation in class
50% - team weekly summaries and out-of-the-building progress
30% - team final report