Spring | Engineering 140A


Key Course Information

Course Objectives
To learn leadership and management skills for the successful growth of emerging technology companies by creating a fast-paced and effective learning environment. To complete the initial phase of the Mayfield Fellows Program and prepare for the upcoming summer work assignment.
Limited to Mayfield Fellows selected for the current year. Others should visit the STVP site for other courses on entrepreneurship.
For a consolidated list of required and recommended readings, see the Course Materials section below.  
4 units
Some Important Administrative Details
  1. There are only ten weeks in this course, barely the minimum necessary to cover the essentials of this topic area. If you anticipate missing more than one class, please speak with an instructor immediately.
  2. If you expect to miss a class, please let the teaching assistant know ahead of time via e-mail. It will be your responsibility to find out from your classmates or the teaching assistant what material was covered, what additional assignments were made, and to obtain any handouts you may have missed.
  3. You are expected to be prepared for every session. It is our practice to spread participation over the class; we may call upon you. 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.
  4. In order to allow the speakers to be able to call you by name, we ask that you use a name card during every session of the quarter. This is an absolute requirement.
  5. 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 assistant is also available for questions you have about any issue.
  6. 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 assistant will take attendance in the first five minutes of the class and we will always end on time.
  7. Our distinguished guest 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 new ventures.

Course Description

Leadership of Technology Ventures is focused on developing an understanding of the issues and techniques for growing emerging technology companies. This distinguishes the course from those which focus on business plan writing and the actual formation of a venture. The course takes participants through a range of issues faced by management in building a new enterprise. These include product and market strategy, venture financing and cash flow management, culture and team building, innovation and creativity, real-time decision making, and the overall challenges of managing growth and handling adversity.

The intellectual basis for E140A is grounded in the “V-I-E” framework from Collins and Lazier’s Managing the Small to Mid-Sized Company textbook, which is contained in the course reader. Various sessions focus on key strategic decisions described by Collins and Lazier as product, market, cash flow management, and organizational development. “Entrepreneurial Leadership” cases provide special opportunities to integrate the material. Additional models and analysis tools are introduced throughout the quarter to highlight particular aspects of technology entrepreneurship. For example, the course includes Geoff Moore’s “chasm” model on the technology adoption life cycle and marketing in young companies.

The course sessions are presented in a sequence somewhat consistent with the key strategic decision areas outlined in Collins and Lazier. After an initial overview of entrepreneurship, the course examines product and market strategies, finance and cash flow management, and issues related to organization design and entrepreneurial leadership.


Several methods of instruction are utilized: lectures, case discussions, workshops, group projects, and guest presentations. The core concepts and discussions are presented in the main sessions, which are led by the instructor. Some of the case discussions are assisted by a guest who brings special knowledge to the time period of that particular case or who brings professional expertise to the body of knowledge under discussion.

This course incorporates both individual and group efforts. Students form study groups early in the quarter and meet regularly to prepare for class discussion. Each group will be required to present a case opening for two of the cases during the term. Email assignments are submitted individually or as a team, and group discussion is encouraged even for individual assignments.

In addition, a group term project and in-class presentation is required.


There are no prerequisites. A working knowledge of accounting is helpful — typically gained by taking MS&E140 or Econ 90 beforehand (or simultaneously). In addition, knowledge of organizational behavior (e.g., MS&E180) could prove useful. Students from E145 and MS&E472 (or similar courses) will have the benefit of previous instruction in entrepreneurship.


All students requesting admission to E140A must be previously selected Mayfield Fellows. Please see the MFP site for more information. Sorry, no auditors can be accommodated in E140A.

Course Materials

Required Materials
Required Readings
Priority Reading Supplemental Reading and Viewing
  • Web links & video clips in session pages
Recommended Reading
Suggested Web Sites
  • eCorner: eCorner is a free online archive of entrepreneurship resources for teaching and learning with an emphasis in engineering and the sciences. The mission of the project is to support and encourage faculty around the world who teach entrepreneurship to future scientists and engineers.
  • Jim Collins’ site