The Search for Money

"I can't think of a technology where a university has become as closely associated with the product as Stanford appears to be with this," says Marvin Guthrie, president of the Connecticut-based Association of University Technology Managers. "They had a special technology and they saw a way to build a relationship."

Stanford is pursuing other creative opportunities far beyond the obvious boundaries. Last fall, the Educational Ventures Office opened its doors. A kind of intellectual counterpart to OTL, its mission is to identify and encourage technology of all stripes - software, hardware and Internet-based subscriber services, for example - that could be used in Stanford classes, then transformed into marketable products (and, in the process, open entrepreneurial doors to more professors).

"Maybe a faculty member develops an educational technology that can be spun off into a separate company," says John Etchemendy, senior associate dean of humanities and sciences and chair of the commission that created the ventures office. "One of the things about these products is that a faculty member can't create it on his or her own. It's unlike a textbook, where, if you have your typewriter, you can do it."

Sound far-fetched? Etchemendy, as measured and thoughtful as you would expect from the philosopher that he is, has been inundated by calls from excited colleagues who are not your normal techies. Like the history professor who wants to develop a CD-ROM on Russian history. Or the anthropologist working on "virtual archaeology" software that allows students in their dorms to work with three-dimensional models of actual digs in Peru. Or the company that proposes to market the chemistry department's world-class standing in a joint software venture. "We would provide expertise, quality control and the reputation of our department," says Etchemendy. "They would provide the programming talent, the marketing expertise and the technical support." Then there is Etchemendy himself, who is writing a software program that could become standard in logic courses nationwide.

Why is all this so revolutionary at a school widely regarded as the birthplace of the high-tech industry? After all, if one is to believe the national media, Stanford is an entrepreneur's dream campus. Didn't Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems and dozens more spring from Stanford brains? "Stanford:

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