General Information

General Information Policies
Course Objective
Who is this Course For?
How Do We Teach this Course?
How Will You Learn in this Course?
Time & Location
Web Page and Email
Course Materials
Administrative Information
Grading Policy and Assignments

Class Sessions
Required Readings
Recommended Readings
Study Questions
Online Assignments
Case Analysis Guidelines
Students with Disabilities

Course Objective

This course introduces the fundamentals of technology entrepreneurship, pioneered in Silicon Valley and now spreading across the world.
You will learn the process technology entrepreneurs use to start companies.  It involves taking a technology idea and finding a high-potential commercial opportunity, gathering resources such as talent and capital, figuring out how to sell and market the idea, and managing rapid growth.

The class demonstrates the entrepreneurial mindset ... when others see insurmountable problems, people look for opportunities in technology and business solutions. A technology entrepreneurial perspective is also a wonderful way of thinking in order to tackle new opportunities in social entrepreneurship, whether it is in government or NGOs.

Who is this Course For?

This course is designed for undergraduates (and co-terminal students) from all majors, including science, engineering, and humanities students who seek to understand what the entrepreneurial mindset and its key processes are about. Topics introduced in this course are relevant for future founders of enterprises, as well as the future employees of a independent or corporate startup.

How Do We Teach this Course?

Through case studies, lectures, workshops, and projects that cover high-growth ventures in information technology, electronics, life sciences, green technology and other industries, this course provides the student with the tools necessary to successfully identify a true business opportunity and to start, grow and maintain a technology enterprise.

We will cover material organized in four modules:
  1. The Entrepreneurial Perspective
  2. Opportunity Recognition and Evaluation
  3. Assembling Resources and Managing Growth
  4. Entrepreneurship and You

How Will You Learn in this Course?

Entrepreneurship is both an individual and team activity. Therefore this course incorporates both individual and group efforts. Students form project teams early in the quarter and meet regularly to prepare for class discussion. We encourage students to build groups with people from a diversity of majors and from the U.S. and abroad.

Each team will be required to complete written case analyses throughout the quarter. Teams are also required to complete two papers and in-class presentations regarding an "Opportunity Analysis Plan" as well as an “Opportunity Execution Plan.” In addition, students submit individual email assignments and complete a "Personal Business Plan" using methods learned in the course.

Group discussion is encouraged in preparing for both the team and individual assignments. Note that learning to successfully manage group dynamics, including conflicts and roles, is a key educational component of the course.

Time & Location

During this term, the course will be held TTh 10:00-11:50 p.m.. The classes will take place in Thornton 110 and are taught by Professor Chuck Eesley.


Course signups should be available via Axess. Axess signup gives just one priority for getting into the class. Students DO NOT need to come to the first course session to be admitted to the course. The admission form is located below. All students should fill out and print the E145 Admissions Form and email it in.

The course is designed for undergraduates and co-terminal students with preference given to seniors and co-terms. Enrollment will be a maximum of 60 students per section. All majors are encouraged to enroll in the class. The class is not open to other graduate students. Sorry, no auditors can be accommodated due to space limitations and the style of instruction. There are no prerequisites for the class. However, courses in accounting and finance are highly recommended. A listing of accepted students and a waiting list will be posted soon after the first class session. Notification will also be made via email. The class roster will be finalized during the 2nd class period. Please make sure to be on time.

If you have further inquiries regarding admission to the course, please direct them to the E145 staff at Please do not email the instructors directly.


4 units.  Letter grade only. Qualifies for the Technology in Society requirement for most majors in the School of Engineering.

Course Web Page & Email:

Main page is at (this site).

Class Distribution Email Alias: (received by all students and the teaching team).
This list is intended for class discussion and announcements.

Twitter Hash tag:

Teaching Team Email alias:  (received by instructor and TAs)
Use this list for questions or suggestions for the teaching team.

Homework Email alias: (received by instructor and TAs).
This list is intended for homework submission only.

Course Materials

Primary Readings
Optional Reading (on Reserve at Terman Library)
Recommended Entrepreneurship Seminar Series
  • MS&E472. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders (ETL) Seminar, 1 unit, auditors OK, Wednesdays 4:30-5:30PM, Skilling Auditorium
  • ETL offers an amazing opportunity to learn from the people who are leading technology innovation in the valley and beyond. While not required, we strongly encourage you to attend these weekly seminars.


Students will be evaluated based on attendance and contribution to in-class discussions and sections, as well as timely completion of assigned readings and email assignments. Think of this as an opportunity to stretch yourself and learn skills like teamwork, public speaking, persuasive writing, and defending your ideas, as well as the fundamentals of the entrepreneurial process. The teaching team will endeavor to create a supportive environment, where there is no penalty for taking a definite stance and expressing new ideas.

Administrative Information

There are only ten weeks in this course, barely the minimum necessary to cover the essentials of this topic. If you anticipate missing more than one class, please consider not taking the course. More than two unexcused absence causes a decrease in your course grade.
If you expect to miss a class, please let the teaching assistants know ahead of time via email to It will be your responsibility to find out from your classmates or the teaching assistants what material was covered, what additional assignments were made, and to obtain any handouts you may have missed. Handouts will be available online via the Class Handouts page. Important E145 assignments, announcements, and information will be posted on the course web site. Read all course web pages thoroughly and often, and never come to class without reading that day's online agenda.

Given the importance of class participation and its grading, we will do our best to get to know you quickly. 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 assistants are also available for questions you have about any issue. See Contact Us for office hour times and locations. 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 assistants will take attendance in the first five minutes of the class and we will end each class on time. Our distinguished guest instructors and 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 entrepreneurship.

Grading Policy and Assignments

This course is available for letter grade only. See Policies for additional information. Grading will be determined using the following weighting system:
There is an opportunity to earn additional credit in E145. If your grade is on the “borderline”, these assignments will be taken into consideration:
  1. Entrepreneurial Thought Leader seminar attendance. If you attended in person or watched / listened to the podcast of at least four of the eight ETL sessions, please submit a one page e-mail to organized by key insights and lessons learned regarding entrepreneurship (not by speaker). This writeup must be received by session 20.
  2. Global Innovation Tournament participation. The 2009 Global Innovation Tournament (GIT) is a fast-paced competition that will challenge student teams to solve a common, world problem in about eight days, creating as much value as possible. Teams must then convey their results in a short video posted to YouTube. The mystery problem will be revealed on November 4 (GMT-8) and submissions will be due Nov 13 (GMT-8). In the past, the assignments involved common, everyday objects. This year it’s a global problem.  What will it be? If you participate in the GIT, send a link to your video and summary of your project to  Note that your GIT team does not have to be the same as your E145 team or even include anyone from the class.  
  3. Team course takeaways slide.  With your team, produce and present one slide with your major takeaways for the course.  Post it on your website before Session 20.  You will be given time to present it in class.

Class Sessions

Attendance is mandatory at all sessions. Each person is allowed two unexcused absences for this quarter, no questions asked. Class starts promptly at 10:00 AM. If a person is more than 5 minutes late, you will be counted as absent.

Students will be evaluated on their participation in classroom discussions, whether about the case under consideration or about the topic of the lecture.  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.  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 consensus of reasonable action. 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. Being punctual, present and prepared for our class sessions is an important part of contributing to the E 145 learning community. Thanks for your commitment to be an active contributor to the E 145 class discussions.

Required Readings

All assigned readings are to be completed before the session. Each required reading has been specifically chosen to provide a certain insight or skill; thus, every assignment is mandatory.  Though there is no way to verify that students have read the material before class, all E145 lectures, study questions, assignments, and exams assume a fundamental understanding of many concepts provided by the readings.  Consequently, failure to keep up with the assignments will have an adverse effect on a student's grade.

Recommended Readings

Supplementary readings are suggested that provide additional depth and richness for the topics considered each day. These readings are not required. While we hope that you will return to these readings as time permits, you are not expected to have completed the readings prior to class. As your time permits, we highly recommend skimming the recommended readings - an investment that we believe can be very rewarding.

Study Questions

You are encouraged to discuss each session in advance with your fellow students. In fact, you are required to form a study group consisting of four other students and then meet regularly before each class. These study groups will be formed in the second class session. The study questions are helpful preparation aids for each case while meeting with your study partners. Use the study questions for each session to prepare for class; the answers are not to be included in the e-mail assignment, although they may be used to focus and guide your homework discussion.

Online Assignments

Unless stated otherwise, assignments are to be submitted via e-mail to by 9 AM the day of the session. We will accept assignments up until class time with some penalty. Please read the Case Analysis Guidelines for more specific information regarding case assignments. Format your header in the following way: E145: Case Number, Case Name, Team Name
  (e.g. E145: Case 1, YAHOO, The Randys)
    • Team Online Assignments - Team online assignments and case analyses are to be discussed as a team and then submitted via e-mail to the appropriate homework list. The person who submits the assignment via e-mail should include the team name at the top of the submission.  The team online assignments will count towards the team grade. Teams will be assigned to either the Team A group or the Team B group. They are responsible for submitting cases only on their assigned day.
    • Individual Online Assignments - These assignments MAY be discussed in teams, unless the assignment explicitly states otherwise.  However, each person must submit his/her own assignment.  Online assignments should be clear and concise, and expressed in the same style as case analysis submissions.  These online assignments will be counted towards the individual participation grade.

Email Alias for Discussion

Students are encouraged to post insights and articles related to course discussion topics to the class email alias: Contributions will contribute to the individual participation grade.  Twitter Hash tag:

Case Analysis Guidelines

The case study is intended to give you an opportunity to apply the concepts of the course in the context of a "real" business situation. Each of the cases are based on a key situation or event in the history of a high tech company. The cases we will cover in E145 are:
  • Yahoo
  • Sirtris
  • IMVU
  • WebTV
  • Nanogene
  • SolidWorks
  • Barbara's Options
Teams will be assigned to either Group A or Group B. They are responsible for submitting cases by 9AM only on their assigned day. Submissions should reflect an understanding of the critical issues of the case, integrate the material covered in class and present concise and well reasoned justification for the stance that the group takes. Each case analysis should consist of:

  • A response to the question(s) under "Team Case Analysis" on the relevant session page of the E145 website (this is not necessarily what is shown at the end of the case itself - please defer to the website).  Clearly state the decision or recommendation for action, with the appropriate supporting arguments.
  • A brief analysis of the situation and pending decision problem, as presented in the case, and as relevant to your answer. This should be exceptionally brief and you should assume the person reading the assignment is familiar with the details of the case.
Please read a tutorial on the case method prepared by Fred Gibbons.

The total length of each case analysis should be no more than two pages, with one page greatly preferred. Cases longer than two pages will receive a minus(-) grade. Team case assignments should be prepared as a team, but only one submission is required per group. Students may discuss individual case assignments with their group (and are encouraged to), but should submit their own work. Assignments should be submitted via e-mail no later than 9 am the morning of the corresponding session in class to the appropriate homework list.

In general, use a bullet-point format and keep the email short and concise.  The teaching team reads each response before class starts to optimize that session's learning environment. Grading is on a "plus(+)/check/minus(-)" basis. The instructors will often post several submissions to stimulate further on-line discussion.

We've had some problems with viruses in e-mail attachments, so we prefer your homework to be in the body of an e-mail if at all possible (unless we specifically ask for an Excel worksheet, for example, or when you must include a table that will not work in e-mail - please then use a PDF attachment). The e145 homework e-mail address has trouble accepting files over 100K in size, so keep this in mind as well.

Submission Format Guidelines

    E145: Case Number, Case Name, Team Name
    i.e. E145: Case 1, AIR, The Randys
    - Your assignment may not be graded if you do not format your subject line correctly.

  • Names of the student in the team
  • First sentence should be whether or not you agree with the prompt
Style Guidelines for Online Submissions
  • Avoid common errors in online assignments, case analyses and other submissions, such as:
  • Focusing too heavily on minor issues or those on which there are little data.
  • Lamenting because of insufficient data in the case and ignoring creative alternatives.
  • Rehashing of case data -- assume the reader knows the case.
  • Not appropriately evaluating the quality of the case's data.
  • Obscuring the quantitative analysis, making it difficult to understand.
Typical "minus(-)" grades result from submissions that
  • are late
  • exceed the page limit
  • are not well integrated and lack clarity
  • do not address timing issues
  • do not recognize the cost implications or are not practical
  • get carried away with personal biases and are not pertinent to the key issues
  • are not thoroughly proofread and corrected.

Students with Disabilities

Students with documented disabilities: Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) located within the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). SDRC staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the request is being made. Students should contact the SDRC as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066).