Syllabus – Start-up Workshop, Spring 2018


This course is a practical introduction to engineering new enterprises. The course will be hands-on but driven by the latest thinking in innovation and entrepreneurship research, as well as the decades of practical experience of the instructors. It is a creative program for creating companies by synthesizing multi-discipline  expertise in a team-focused setting.

Class meets Monday Wednesday from 5 to 6:20 in Robinson Building Complex Room 3202.


Roger Bohn – Office RBC 1315.
Office hours

Paul Kedrosky – Office hours: before class

Parand Darugar – Office hours: before class.

General Principles

  • Creativity, not Prescription
  • Synthesis, not Silos
  • Teams, not Individuals
  • Practical, not Theoretical

What This Course Isn’t

It is important to be clear about what this course isn’t.

  1. It is not venture capital focused. It is neither about venture capitalists, nor is it trapped in the narrow lens of what venture capitalists fund or don’t fund.
  2. It is not prescriptive. While there is no “one way” to create companies, and there are a few better ways than others, it is a mistake to avoid the messiness of iterating toward creating something for market.
  3. It is not a business plan competition. The course doesn’t require business plans, nor does it focus on them. They are, in general, a waste of time.

Intended Outcomes

Students gain a better appreciation for the complexities and practicalities of creating new enterprises, especially in technology, but not limited to technology. More specifically, the objective in this first module is to have students take a product or service idea to the marketplace and see how it is received. Given time constraints, they will not necessarily be building a product or service in this module, but they will talk to prospective customers.


Week Date Topic Tools and Exercises Team Deliverables
1a 4/2/2018 Creation myths: Where Do Companies Come From
Google+Yahoo+GoTo story
Creativity exercise
1b 4/4/2018 Creation myths: Where Do Companies Come From Present summary of a founding story:
Bust a founding myth
2a 4/9/2018 Teams and teamwork: Companies are about teams Team building exercise
2b 4/11/2018 Teams and teamwork: Companies are about teams Team finding exercise Formal proposal
3a 4/16/2018 Company Creation, market sizing / attractiveness MTurk market survey
3b 4/18/2018 Lean startups: iterative approach Talk to customers, present results Customer findings
4a 4/23/2018 Internal: Corporate Structure Equity allocation exercise
4b 4/25/2018 External: Finance Analyze Open Startups finance metrics
5a 4/30/2018 Sales: value based selling Sell something
5b 5/2/2018 Sales: objection handling, closing Sell your thing
6a 5/7/2018 Marketing and PR Good copy: Google ad text
6b 5/9/2018 Marketing and PR Build your website Google ads due
7a 5/14/2018 Metrics & measures: What to measure and why Build a dashboard Website due
7b 5/16/2018 Metrics & measures: What to measure and why Projections and deviances Dashboard due
8a 5/21/2018 Product Management: Prioritization, Roadmap Product management / prioritization exercise
Evaluate request queue from a public product
8b 5/23/2018 Product Management: Evaluate, Change Direction Present your roadmap Roadmaps due
9a 5/28/2018 MEMORIAL DAY, no class
9b 5/30/2018 Exits, lifestyle businesses, returns Valuation exercise, exit criteria
10a 6/4/2018 Presentation Presentation
10b 6/6/2018 Presentation Presentation

Course Requirements


  • Weekly team progress and exercises: 40%
  • Class participation: 20%
  • Journey Report: 20%
  • Final Presentation: 20%

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