Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Final presentations (first half)

What do an electric guitar with an iPhone app and no amplifier, an app for farmers, mail merge, and a website/mobile app to try out new clothing styles have in common?

We had the first half of the Stanford final class presentations yesterday. Here are the videos that I shot using a tablet and my phone during the OEP presentations.

In this class, I teach engineering undergraduate students (mainly juniors and seniors). The goal is to teach them about entrepreneurship and help them to decide whether technology entrepreneurship is for them. In the process, we aim to teach them leadership skills and entrepreneurial thinking, which can serve them well regardless of the career path they choose after leaving Stanford.

The class is a blast to teach with students from CS, EE, Economics, Management Science & Engineering, and all over campus. It's wonderful to see the ideas they come up with and to watch what they do with them.

This year what I did differently was:

1) Get them to form teams more quickly. I did this by telling them that the students who are in teams will receive preference to get into the class. (The course is always oversubscribed with about twice as many applicants as slots open in the class.)

2) I flipped the classroom. The students watched the brief lectures about customer development, lean startup, marketing, sales, fundraising, brainstorming, etc. on video before coming to class. That way class time could be used to answer questions and check in with the teams on how they were doing.

3) I did more simulated entrepreneurial situations. I had the students practice hiring and firing, board meetings, partner negotiations, etc. This was both a lot of fun and I think a good learning experience. It's quite different doing something in a real situation vs. saying what the CEO in a case should have done.

We have some terrific teams this year. In the videos below they give you a sense of the pivots and changes they made throughout the quarter (8 weeks!) and what they learned along the way!