Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stanford class final presentations (2/2)

Today was the final day of OEP presentations for the Stanford E145 class. Thanks to all the mentors for the class and the judges who came in to give feedback on the final presentations. For many of the teams I am sure this is just the beginning! Two more class sessions are left to do the course summary and also to talk about stock options.

I'm very proud of these students and amazed by what they were able to accomplish in such a short time. With this class I just keep asking for them to do more and deliver more in a short quarter and they keep surpassing my expectations. Today we had presentations on student group social networks, solving the grocery story plastic bag problem, and electronic dance music among others.

Next year I plan to ask them to build prototypes of their websites even earlier in the quarter as there are more and more tools to enable even non-coders to do this. Also I have found that students learn so much more about their startups when they have even a very basic prototype. You can see a real difference in those groups who actually went out and were able to go through a few cycles with customers of trying to get a sale. One team made $500 which I think is a record for the class. Another team made $200. Of course it's about making "meaning" as well as money, but I was thrilled to hear how much these teams learned from making their initial sales.

One of the biggest lessons I want to impart next time around is that there is a huge difference between potential customers saying they want something and actual customers really paying for something from you.

Next time around I plan to use fewer cases and take advantage of the situations that come up as the students work on their own startups as the "cases". I think they learn a lot more from their own personal experience and the 6 cases we do now are instructional in some ways but in other ways they get in the way of the students learning even more from their own experience. But that experience needs to be brought into context and to a higher level of scrutiny through the class discussion and check-ins with each team to discover what's going on and where they are getting hung up in the process.

GroupU -

Hopscotch -

T3 -
Yumshare -