Technology Entrepreneurship

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I'll post the syllabus below, but the formatting will like not translate well. Here is the link to the syllabus: Technology Entrepreneurship.


This course is a practical introduction to technology entrepreneurship. Primarily, students will learn the process technology entrepreneurs use to evaluate opportunities and build companies. It involves taking a technology idea, proving its commercial viability, and scaling the business model. To be successful, the entrepreneur must gather resources such as talent and capital, figure out how to sell and market the technology, and manage rapid growth.

A secondary goal of the course is to demonstrate the entrepreneurial mindset. Where others see problems, entrepreneurs see potential opportunities to provide solutions (via technology or innovation, in our case). Successful entrepreneurs develop many seemingly contradictory abilities, such as: knowing how to persevere and how to fail-fast; knowing when to seek funding and when to bootstrap; and, the ability to pivot, or change direction.

Although the focus of the course is on higher-potential startups, those that could scale beyond $5MM in revenue, the learning outcomes will be of benefit to anyone interested in starting, or working in, an entrepreneurial technology business, whether a small consulting company, an eCommerce company, or the next Google or Groupon.

Course Pedagogy

The course will be taught mainly via classroom discussions of assigned readings and case studies, with short lectures to emphasize and expand on key concepts. There will be frequent guest lecturers, typically technology entrepreneurs in various stages of running their ventures. There will also be frequent ungraded classroom exercises.

Work Load

Entrepreneurship is a high energy endeavor both in preparation and execution. It is imperative to attend class and participate.

Case Studies

There will be two case studies discussed in class and one which will be a graded assignment. Case preparation is a must to be successful in this course. I recommend reading the case after the assigned other readings. Then, I recommend re-reading the case, highlighting key points and issues. For every highlight you might consider adding your analysis of the issue. That will provide you with a road map of your class participation. Undoubtedly, you will be inspired to speak extemporaneously. That is encouraged. But preparation of key issues will allow greater depth in all of your comments. Case discussion is moved forward (and credit awarded) through analysis, not simple re- iteration of facts. For many of you, case preparation will be done as an individual. For some, group meetings can facilitate analysis. The manner in which you prepare is your choice.

Instructor Contact

You are welcome to contact me by email anytime. I am typically in the classroom during office hours, but please email me in advance if you plan to come to office hours. You are especially encouraged to communicate with me between class sessions.


Required Books


  1. New Venture Creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century, Jeffrey A. Timmons and Stephen Spinelli, Jr, 8th Edition, ISBN 978-0-07-338155-8
  2. Founders at Work, Jessica Livingston, ISBN 978-1-59059-714-9
  3. The Entrepreneurs Guide to Customer Development, Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits, ISBN 978-0-98274-360-7, (from Amazon or eBook from



There are a number of articles and/or online readings required. These are listed below in the weekly schedule.


Assignments will be announced throughout the quarter, detailing the requirements and due dates. Each assignment must be submitted by the beginning of class via the course homepage, unless otherwise indicated. No late assignments will be accepted, unless negotiated with me in advance.

Grading Scale (200 total points possible)


F......below 119


Participation 80 points

This is a seminar-style and discussion-based course, making classroom participation vital. Your participation points are heavily based on the quality of questions you ask in class and/or the quality of your contributions to the discussion. Please be prepared for each class, ask thoughtful questions, and contribute in a meaningful way to discussions. Participation points are awarded each week, so consistent weekly attendance is critical. Online students are required to post 1 message to the class online forum each week with their reflection on the week's readings and lecture.

Team Project & Presentation 60 points

This is the final project, which will be completed in small groups of three or four, with one intermediate milestone and a final presentation. It will integrate the course concepts and your learning from the material. Each team will decide on a Web-based business opportunity to pursue and then execute a series of planning steps. Each team will deliver a report on their business opportunity, along with a final presentation (an investor pitch). Both will be designed to demonstrate your ability to think critically, apply course concepts, and work as part of a startup team.

Weekly Assignments 60 points

There will be graded assignments due most weeks and details and due dates will be noted on the course homepage. Most of these assignments require thoughtful reflection on a reading, application of your stored knowledge, and occasional research. Excellence in the completion of assignments will be a valuable addition to class participation.

Course Schedule

Schedule is subject to change, and any significant changes will be posted on the course homepage and/or presented in class.




  1. Course introduction
  2. Strategies, habits, attitudes and behaviors of successful entrepreneurs
  3. To consider your own personal entrepreneurial strategy




  1. T&S Chapter 2: The Entrepreneurial Mind



NO CLASS MEETING: Please complete all readings



  1. To probe the Timmons Model as a framework for understanding the entrepreneurial process
  2. Begin to think about capturing creativity in a business model
  3. To understand the difference between ideas and opportunities




  1. T&S Chapter 3: The Entrepreneurial Process
  2. T&S Chapter 5: The Opportunity: Creating, Shaping, Recognizing, Seizing




  1. Opportunity screening and shaping
  2. Business model due diligence
  3. Exploring Web-based business models




  1. T&S Chapter 6: Screening Venture Opportunities
  2. "Business Models on the Web," Michael Rappa,




  1. Linking business type and potential to the search for equity
  2. Understanding the dynamic process of Opportunity-Shaping-Launch
  3. Identifying and shaping the high potential venture
  4. Deal structure and staged capitalization
  5. Valuation




  1. T&S Chapter 11: Resource Requirements
  2. T&S Chapter 13: Entrepreneurial Finance
  3. T&S Chapter 14 Obtaining Venture and Growth Capital




  1. Structure and purpose of a business plan
  2. Tuning your ability to identify fits and gaps in business plans




  1. T&S Chapter 8: The Business Plan




  1. Legal issues: structures, documents, copyrights, patents, and intellectual property (IP)
  2. Mining financial statements for information
  3. Viewing successful businesses as systems
  4. Working with partners, customers, vendors and employees




  1. "7 Legal Documents for Your Tech Startup," Ryan Roberts,
  2. "Entrepreneurs Guide to Understanding Financial Statements," Timothy Rhine et al,




  1. Lean Startup Theory as a new paradigm for technology startups
  2. Open source software, Agile software development and Customer Development




  1. "Principles of Lean Startups," Eric Ries,
  2. "How to design your Business Model as a Lean Startup," Tor Gronsund,
  3. The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development: All




  1. Understanding the four P's of marketing
  2. Marketing plans for technology startups
  3. Selling and sales management




  1. "Crossing the Chasm,"
  2. "Marketing Mix,"
  3. "Building the Marketing Plan: A Blueprint for Start-ups," Ilya Mirman,
  4. "Growing your business with AdWords,"




  1. The founders, the opportunity, and the team
  2. Dangers and opportunities following launch
  3. Entrepreneurial leadership and ethics




  1. T&S Chapter 9: The Entrepreneurial Leader
  2. T&S Chapter 10: Ethical Decision Making and the Entrepreneur
  3. T&S Chapter 17: Leading Rapid Growth




  1. Building a great company leads to harvest options
  2. Harvesting is essential to the entrepreneurial process
  3. Identify common harvest options
  4. Course summary




  1. T&S Chapter 19: The Harvest and Beyond


School policies:

Online Instructor Evaluation

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over two weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online at


Email is the primary means of communication between faculty and students enrolled in this course outside of class time. Students should be sure their email listed under "demographic information" atCampusConnect is correct.

Academic Integrity Policy

This course will be subject to the academic integrity policy passed by faculty. More information can be found at


The university and school policy on plagiarism can be summarized as follows: Students in this course should be aware of the strong sanctions that can be imposed against someone guilty of plagiarism. If proven, a charge of plagiarism could result in an automatic F in the course and possible expulsion. The strongest of sanctions will be imposed on anyone who submits as his/her own work any assignment which has been prepared by someone else. If you have any questions or doubts about what plagiarism entails or how to properly acknowledge source materials be sure to consult the instructor.


An incomplete grade is given only for an exceptional reason such as a death in the family, a serious illness, etc. Any such reason must be documented. Any incomplete request must be made at least two weeks before the final, and approved by the Dean of the College of Computing and Digital Media. Any consequences resulting from a poor grade for the course will not be considered as valid reasons for such a request.

Resources for Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at: 
Student Center, LPC, Suite #370 
Phone number: (773)325.1677 
Fax: (773)325.3720 
TTY: (773)325.7296


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