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E140A Course Description and Policies
Spring Quarter 2014

Contact Info Key Info Course Materials Course Description Grading

Contact Information

Professor and Co-Director of Mayfield Fellows Program
Tom Byers
Office: Huang Engineering Center, Room 346
Phone: 650-725-8271
Fax: 650-723-1614
Email: tbyers@stanford.edu
Office Hours: Fridays between 11:30am and 1:30pm

Executive Director of STVP and Co-Director of Mayfield Fellows Program
Tina Seelig
Office: Huang Engineering Center, Room 003
Phone: 650-725-1627
Email: tseelig@stanford.edu
Office Hours: TBD

Teaching Assistant
Moritz Sudhof
Office: Anywhere and Everywhere
Phone: 469-684-0374
Email: sudhof@stanford.edu
Office Hours: By appointment

Administrative Assistant
Yvonne Hankins
Phone: 650-725-0550
Fax: 650-725-8799
Email: yvonneh@stanford.edu

E-Mail Distribution Lists
Class distribution (received by all students and teaching team) email alias: e140@lists.stanford.edu
Case email assignments (received by instructors and TA only) alias: e140-teach@lists.stanford.edu

Key Course Information:

Course Objectives:
To learn leadership and management skills for the successful growth of emerging technology companies by creating a fast-paced and effective learning environment. To complete the initial phase of the Mayfield Fellows Program and prepare for the upcoming summer work assignment.
Time:
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:15-3:05 PM
Location:
Thornton, Room 211
Admission:
Limited to Mayfield Fellows selected for the current year. Others should visit the STVP site for other courses on entrepreneurship (http://stvp.stanford.edu).
Credit:
4 units
Course web site:
http://www.stanford.edu/class/e140
Some Important Administrative Details:
  1. There are only ten weeks in this course, barely the minimum necessary to cover the essentials of this topic area. If you anticipate missing more than one class, please speak with an instructor immediately.
  2. If you expect to miss a class, please let the teaching assistant know ahead of time via e-mail. It will be your responsibility to find out from your classmates or the teaching assistant what material was covered, what additional assignments were made, and to obtain any handouts you may have missed.
  3. You are expected to be prepared for every session. It is our practice to spread participation over the class; we may call upon you. It is never our intention to embarrass anyone -- if you are not prepared, let one of us know before class and we will not call on you.
  4. In order to allow the speakers to be able to call you by name, we ask that you use a name card during every session of the quarter. This is an absolute requirement.
  5. Feel free to discuss the course and your learning progress with the instructors at any time. We are always happy to discuss items of interest. The teaching assistant is also available for questions you have about any issue.
  6. Given the pace of this course, we will do all that we can to use class time effectively and ask you to do the same. This includes starting and ending on time. The teaching assistant will take attendance in the first five minutes of the class and we will always end on time.
  7. Our distinguished guest speakers are aggressive, successful, and articulate. Interrupt and ask them questions at any time! They will be forewarned. They will display an earnest desire to help you understand new ventures.

Course Materials:

Required Materials
Required Readings
Priority Reading
Supplemental Reading and Viewing

Highly Recommended Reading
Suggested Web Sites

 


Course Description:

Management of Technology Ventures is focused on developing an understanding of the issues and techniques for growing emerging technology companies. This distinguishes the course from those which focus on business plan writing and the actual formation of a venture. The course takes participants through a range of issues faced by management in building a new enterprise. These include product and market strategy, venture financing and cash flow management, culture and team building, innovation and creativity, real-time decision making, and the overall challenges of managing growth and handling adversity.

The intellectual basis for E140A is grounded in the "V-I-E" framework from Collins and Lazier's Managing the Small to Mid-Sized Company textbook, which is contained in the course reader. As shown in the Course Calendar, various sessions focus on key strategic decisions described by Collins and Lazier as product, market, cash flow management, and organizational development. "Entrepreneurial Leadership" cases provide special opportunities to integrate the material. Additional models and analysis tools are introduced throughout the quarter to highlight particular aspects of technology entrepreneurship. For example, the course includes Geoff Moore's "chasm" model on the technology adoption life cycle and marketing in young companies.

The course sessions are presented in a sequence somewhat consistent with the key strategic decision areas outlined in Collins and Lazier. After an initial overview of entrepreneurship, the course examines product and market strategies, finance and cash flow management, and issues related to organization design and entrepreneurial leadership.

Approach:

Several methods of instruction are utilized: lectures, case discussions, workshops, group projects, and guest presentations. The core concepts and discussions are presented in the main sessions, which are led by the instructor. Some of the case discussions are assisted by a guest who brings special knowledge to the time period of that particular case or who brings professional expertise to the body of knowledge under discussion. See the Course Calendar for detailed information on each session.

This course incorporates both individual and group efforts. Students form study groups early in the quarter and meet regularly to prepare for class discussion. Each group will be required to present a case opening for two of the cases during the term. Email assignments are submitted individually or as a team, and group discussion is encouraged even for individual assignments.

In addition, a group term project and in-class presentation is required.

Finally, a web-based learning portfolio called the MFP Forum reflecting each student's personal takeaways from E140A and MS&E472 is required.

Prerequisites:
There are no prerequisites. A working knowledge of accounting is helpful -- typically gained by taking MS&E140 or Econ 90 beforehand (or simultaneously). In addition, knowledge of organizational behavior (e.g., MS&E180) could prove useful. Students from E145 and MS&E472 (or similar courses) will have the benefit of previous instruction in entrepreneurship.

Admission:
All students requesting admission to E140A must be previously selected Mayfield Fellows. Please see the MFP site for more information. Sorry, no auditors can be accommodated in E140A.


Grading:

Final course grades will be assigned according to the following:

50%: Active Participation. Participation in classroom discussion, whether about the case under consideration or about the topic of the lecture is critical. Participation in your study groups and the quality of your group's Case Openings (10% each), as well as the quality of email assignments and other on-line contributions will also contribute to this part of your grade.

25%: Term Project. Completion of the term project assignment with a project group. Both a written report and in-class presentation are required. See the Term Project Assignment page for additional details.

25%: MFP Forum. See the MFP Forum page for more information.

Classroom Participation:

The grading of classroom participation is difficult because of an element of subjectivity not present in grading written assignments. Nevertheless, it is a vital part of the course. Most students feel comfortable in speaking up with thoughtful comments and questions, but some do not, and we wish to be fair to everyone. We will not be grading on "air time", but rather on the quality of the question or comment.

All assigned readings are to be completed before the session -- see the E140A Course Calendar for assigned readings.

You are encouraged to discuss each case in advance with your fellow students. In fact, you are required to form a study group consisting of two other students and then meet regularly before each class. These study groups must be formed by the end of Session #3. Use the Study Questions for each session while meeting with your study partners to prepare for class. They are not to be included in the e-mail assignment. Guidelines for the completion of e-mail assignments are below.

There are no rights or wrongs in entrepreneurship, only choices. Some pitfalls can be avoided and there are ways of optimizing the probability of success. Participating in classroom discussions, freely and without fear, is strongly urged. No opinion is held in disregard and only through active discussion can we arrive at some sense of reasonable action. As moderators, our role is to keep this effort moving toward a logical conclusion or decision. Carefully read the first chapter in the Collins & Lazier readings for guidance. Also, see this link on case analysis at Case Method by Gibbons.

Case Openings:

During the course of the term, each study group will be required to present two case openings to facilitate the discussion for particular sessions. Each case opening should consist of

In addition, case openings should make use of the Entrepreneurship Corner video clips. The total length of the case opening should be no more than 10 minutes (strictly enforced). If your group makes use of overhead slides or other presentation material, you should limit yourself to just a few items. Case openings should emphasize the frameworks and models covered in class and should be in the same spirit as other presentations made by the teaching team. You should email the teaching team a copy of any slides. By the following Monday after the opening, the team will receive a short email with feedback from the teaching team. The grade for the openings will fall into three categories: (1) exceeds expectations, (2) meets expectations, and (3) needs improvement.

Remarks About the Written Assignments:

Assignments are to be written individually or as a team, as specified by each specific assignment, and should be posted to the MFP Forum under the assignment topic for the relevant session. Even when the writeup for an assignment is individual, you may discuss your content explicity with your study partners.

In general, use a bullet-point format and keep the submission short and concise (less than one page). Assignments must be posted no later than 9AM on the day of the corresponding session (see E140A homework policy page for more information). The teaching team reads each response before class starts to optimize that session's learning environment. Grading is on a "check plus(+)/minus(-)" basis and only students receiving "minus (-)" scores are notified by email.

Since assignments are posted to a common forum, it is important to formulate your own opinion and to post your submission before reading others' entries. That said, once you've posted your submission, you are strongly encouraged to review your classmates' postings. Common errors to avoid include:

  1. Focusing too heavily on minor issues or those on which there are little data.
  2. Lamenting because of insufficient data in the case and ignoring creative alternatives.
  3. Rehashing of case data -- assume the reader knows the case.
  4. Not appropriately evaluating the quality of the case's data.
  5. Obscuring the quantitative analysis, making it difficult to understand.
  6. Typical "minus(-)" grades result from submissions that