School: Stanford University
Registration Link: Technology Entrepreneurship
Start Date: January 6, 2015 (7 Weeks)
Workload: 10-20 Hours Per Week
Instructor: Chuck Eesley
Credentials: An entrepreneur who has founded three companies and worked for two venture capital firms, Chuck Eesley understands what it takes to successfully launch and grow firms in the technology, education, and life sciences sectors. After earning his Ph.D. from MIT Sloan, Eesley joined Stanford’s Management, Science and Engineering department as an assistant professor. In his research, Eesley focuses on how regulations, accepted practices, and industry environments influences the success of entrepreneurial endeavors.
Graded: Students will receive a signed statement of accomplishment for completing the course.
Description: A two-part course, Technology Entrepreneurship has drawn over 200,000 students in seven offerings. Using a process framework, students will learn how technology entrepreneurs start companies. Over seven weeks, students will how to do the following: “1. Articulate a process for taking a technology idea and finding a high-potential commercial opportunity (high performing students will be able to discuss the pros and cons of alternative theoretical models). 2. Create and verify a plan for gathering resources such as talent and capital. 3. Create and verify a business model for how to sell and market an entrepreneurial idea. 4. Generalize this process to an entrepreneurial mindset of turning problems into opportunities that can be used in larger companies and other settings.” As part of the course, students will form start-up teams to develop business models and pitch their solutions to potential investors.
Review: “I have worked in product development for a number of years but taking this course certainly added rigour and discipline to my approach. The first 5 weeks were very useful, I was particularly thankful for being shown how to professionally set out business models as opposed to business plans – the distinction is real and very important. It also helped me to think of the startups as iterating around experiments, instead of being forced to go to market with a viable product (or what I think is viable) on day one. Being shown the best tools of the trade also saved a great deal of time.
BUT…Oh the team work! Yes, working in a start-up is necessarily a team experience. But on a MOOC you must expect a number of team members not to bother participating. This means some work very hard (if you do the course right, its a lot of work), but others do nothing…Secondly, you must elect your own start-up idea very quickly, all group work revolves around that idea. You can tailor the concept, but there isn’t time to go back to square one and radically change it – which would happen in real life. So after initial research you may feel you’re pursuing a business idea simply for its convenience on the course, which can be a slog – especially when trying to hold together a team of people from around the world.” For additional reviews, click here.
Additional Note: For another take on entrepreneurship, check out Thinking Outside the Box: Creative Entrepreneurship from Universidad Panamericana, which starts January 12.