Teaching Entrepreneurship in “Chilecon Valley”

Teaching in Chile
I’ve spent the last week in Santiago, a guest of Professor Cristóbal García at the Catholic University of Chile as part of Stanford’s Engineering Technology Venture Program.

Valaparaiso houses

Entrepreneurship and innovation in what I call “Chilecon Valley” is being talked about continually here.  In my next post I’ll share a longer description of my impressions.  But to give you a sense of how fast they are moving, it’s only been a week since I posted the syllabus for our new Stanford entrepreneurship class Engr245 (The Lean Launchpad.) This week the class has been adopted in the Computer Science department of the Catholic University of Chile. (Thanks to Professors Professor Felix Halcartegaray Vergara and Rosa Alarcon who will be teaching the class.)

Here’s the course announcement from Professor Halcartegaray (in English):

Customer Development Course in Chile – Lean Launchpad
Next semester on the Department of Computer Science of the Catholic University of Chile professor Rosa Alarcón (@ruyalarcon) and I (@felixcl) will be teaching a course based on the Customer Development Model developed by Steve Blank. The objective of this course is that groups of students finish with a completed software product that has real customers and an identified market. The idea of this course started on a trip to Stanford University during March 2010, where we realized that many of the great innovations in Silicon Valley are born from Computer Science students, so we said “We should give our computer science students an opportunity to develop a company”. Then we saw the great alignment between the Customer Development Model and the Agile software development methodologies so we decided to create the course IIC3515 “Workshop of Entrepreneurship with Software” that applies both models to develop real software products with customers from the startup ideas of the students.

A few weeks ago, it was great to see that professor Steve Blank was developing a very similar course in Stanford called ”The Lean Launchpad” (Engr245) that combines the customer development model with agile development with the business model canvas, and therefore we convinced ourserlves that we where not so crazy with this course, or at least we are as crazy as they are. The syllabus for the Stanford course can be seen here. This course brings to life in a very interesting way the idea we had with professor Rosa Alarcón, and it starts on January 2011 so when Steve Blank was visiting Chile this week, we told him about our course,  and he offered all his help and experience to help us, and so we are very grateful to him. Therefore we will leverage the experience in Stanford giving the course on January and February to have a very interesting proposal to our students on March when we start. The syllabus for our course (in Spanish) is here: Programa de curso IIC3515. In this blog post I will add more information about the development of this course when I have it. We are very excited on this project, and we think it will have an important impact on our university and our students so thank you very much Steve for making this happen.

The goal of course IIC3515 is that students get together in teams (probably of 4) and develop their business idea during the semester, developing the software that represents it. Unlike other courses on entrepreneurship, this one is NOT about developing a Business Plan (in fact, the idea is that they write little and spend the time programming and getting out of the building to talk to customers.)  The students must develop their initial hypothesis of who their customers are and what is their products (using the Business Model Canvas) , and then get out to test this Hypothesis and pivot as they start knowing their customers and “getting smarter about them”.

With this methodology, once they finish the course they will have very important tools to continue developing their startup, and they will also have a product that they will feel confident about that there are customers that want to buy it, unlike what usually happens when the development of the product is completed and then you go out to the market to see if any customer wants it. In this case,  the customer will be considered since the first moment, and this results in a much more controlled market risk for the venture. The idea is also to have investors on the final stages of the course, and have mentors for the students that have real world experience in startups to support the students with their projects.

We look forward to your comments and suggestions! Any updates on this course in english will have the tag “Lean Launchpad course” to make it easier to search.

Here’s the course announcement in Spanish
Listen to the post here: Download the Podcast here

9 Responses

  1. I really appreciate you sharing the syllabus, and also glad I’m not the only one who’d imported it to another country. I do a lot of work in the Italian startup scene, and we’re self-organizing a 10 week session following the coursework you laid out. There’s no university involved, so we’ll also be recruiting our own teams and mentors. Can’t wait to dig in!

    http://www.taralynkelly.com/thinice/2010/12/blog-take-3-learning-lean/

    By the way, I sat in on the Berkeley-Columbia MBA course you just finished. It was fantastic. Thanks again for being so generous with your knowledge!

  2. …Brava Tara….I just wanted to tell Steve your idea…american- italian creativity ;-)

  3. [...] Teaching Entrepreneurship in “Chilecon Valley.” Entrepreneur and professor  Steve Blank points to a growing culture of entrepreneurship in Santiago (even if he points mostly to his own syllabus). [...]

  4. Steve, I feel amazingly grateful for having assisted to your lecture here in Punta Arenas. It´s really helpful your analysis when it comes to understand the logic behind the process of creating through our irresistible entrepreneurial impulses. Now the challenge is to bring some of your excellent concepts to a reality that lays far away from Stanford. The complexity comes neither from a geographic nor a cultural distance, but from a spiritual and even a mystical one. Poverty and desolation (both undeniable aspects of Patagonia) creates a human environment that doesn´t help on identifying objective challenges and priorities. Sometimes it seems that here is all about surviving rather than thinking and planning for a sustainable success. Hope to continue our conversation in California next time. Your friend Max.

  5. Hi Steve,

    I had a great real time attending your talk about Customer Development & Lean Startup at the beginning of “Startup Weekend Santiago”. I’m teh teacher of the “agile guys” that were in front of you.

    I’m teaching & practicing agile methodologies from 2002 at the Universidad de Chile, the ohet main university on Chile, and created the chilean agile community http://www.chileagil.cl, which represented our country on latin-american conferences since 2008, and organize the local main confference every year.

    After talking with Cridtobal Garcia and Andres Arellano I’m opening the “Workshop on Agile Method” that I give every fall to students of the Catholic University of Chile.

    I want to share you our recent experience with anuew couse taht I give the last semster “Advanced Agile & Lean Workshop”, which main content was Lean Startup. We applied it to 2 non-profit endeavours:
    – A job marketplace for students of Software Engineering
    – The http://www.chileagil.cl web ecosystem plataform

    We used the “Entreprenurs Guide to Customer Development” e-book and several videos of Eric Ries and you to introduce us to the method.

    Last week we finished the course (with the final prize to assist to our guru’s talk – that’s you :) ), with both projects developed and with serveral pivots reached.

    My experience was shared with the local web entrepreneurshio community at this talk

    http://www.chileagil.cl/2010/11/30/lean-startup-%C2%A1conoce-a-tus-clientes-charla-webprendedor-2010/

    (Sorry, it is in spanish :) )

    Is nice to know that more people is involved in Chile in Lean Satrtup, I’ll look forward to collaborate with them.

    Finally, at the private talk with you I taalled to you that we implement fully cross-functional teams (mixing customer development & extreme programming), and the experience was so good that I don’t see a point to separate both teams. Any advice here?

    Good job, and I was very happy to meet you in person

    Agustin Villena
    In your private talk

  6. Dear Steve,

    I really enjoyed listening to you at UC Casa Central in Santiago. You are a great lecturer and a good source of experience and inspiration to many where ever you go. Regarding my question at the conference, I’d like to elaborate on it a bit more if I may. When I asked you what your advice/suggestion would be to Universidad Catolica’s authorities, especially to Juan Larrain and to Juan Carlos de la LLera, dean of Engineering, in terms of bridging the rift or the chasm between UC and the Government, in order to build a program between the two, like Stanford and many other good universities have done with their local goverments, to foster/bolster massive entrepreneurship and large scale technology innovation in industry, is because we really don’t have that kind of culture in here(although UC has some advantage already with much road traveled), and that is where you can make a big difference. If you were able to mentor and coach UC authorities on how to approach the Chilean government to get economic support and build some kind of bridge between university and industry with the help and full support of the government in Chile, that would be fantastic, a great contribution on your part, and it would make all the difference in the world. Of course UC’s proposal has to be better and add more value than any other, and that’s also an area where you can help.

    Especially now that we have a new government with President Pinera, who is a distinguished UC graduate, which is pro entrepreneurship and innovation and which is keen on fostering productivity, technology innovation and employment to advance Chile in the next phase in its path to turn into a developed country by 2020.

    There is a great opportunity for you, you have in UC many of the brightest, wisest and most generous people in Chile, and in several aspects, Chile and the Universidad Catolica are looked upon as examples of excellence in many fields throughout Latin America. What is lacking here is how to engage the Chilean government effectively to partner with a top school like UC, drawing a parallel with Stanford, to work towards creating a massive wave of tech innovation and entrepreneurship with strategically designed economic funding aimed at programs especially designed, developed and implemented by UC. These programs which are aimed at targeting large sectors of industry, (especially with the Small and Medium Size Industry, which accounts for 86% of the enterprises in Chile) need a mentor.

    That’s the challenge Steve. In Chile the entrepreneurial culture is largely conservative and not risk taking, therefore it is hard to get financial support for new ventures. I know because I’ve been there myself. Banks are a different story altogether, they are much worse and it is easier to get water out of a rock than it is to get money for a start up technology business with a bank here. Thus the government must jump in and help, like it was done in Japan, in Finland, in the US, Singapore, Korea, etc.

    It was great meeting you and I hope we can chat a little bit some time in the future. I am an entrepreneur who failed with a tech start up in 2008, along with a friend and partner Dr. Danilo Bassi, and I went back to work in the US. I am an American, and also Chilean, a dual national, and I’ve lived my life in both countries for many years, but more in the US where I was raised and went to school. I am doing my PhD in Engineering at UC now, and I still want to be successful at entrepreneurship in tech innovation. With you today I learned a heck of a lot more. Thanks and warm regards,

    Franco F. Yanine (I’m also on Linkedin)

    FRANCO F. YANINE

  7. Hi Steve, I had a great real time attending your talk about Customer Development & Lean Startup at the beginning of “Startup Weekend Santiago”. I’m teh teacher of the “agile guys” that were in front of you. I’m teaching & practicing agile methodologies from 2002 at the Universidad de Chile, the ohet main university on Chile, and created the chilean agile community http://www.chileagil.cl, which represented our country on latin-american conferences since 2008, and organize the local main confference every year. After talking with Cridtobal Garcia and Andres Arellano I’m opening the “Workshop on Agile Method” that I give every fall to students of the Catholic University of Chile. I want to share you our recent experience with anuew couse taht I give the last semster “Advanced Agile & Lean Workshop”, which main content was Lean Startup. We applied it to 2 non-profit endeavours: – A job marketplace for students of Software Engineering – The http://www.chileagil.cl web ecosystem plataform We used the “Entreprenurs Guide to Customer Development” e-book and several videos of Eric Ries and you to introduce us to the method. Last week we finished the course (with the final prize to assist to our guru’s talk – that’s you :) ), with both projects developed and with serveral pivots reached. My experience was shared with the local web entrepreneurshio community at this talk http://www.chileagil.cl/2010/11/30/lean-startup-%C2%A1conoce-a-tus-clientes-charla-webprendedor-2010/ (Sorry, it is in spanish :) ) Is nice to know that more people is involved in Chile in Lean Satrtup, I’ll look forward to collaborate with them. Finally, at the private talk with you I taalled to you that we implement fully cross-functional teams (mixing customer development & extreme programming), and the experience was so good that I don’t see a point to separate both teams. Any advice here? Good job, and I was very happy to meet you in person Agustin Villena In your private talk

  8. Steve, my team and I were students in this course and with the startup we built we participated in the international business concept competition at Virginia Tech AND WE WON!
    Your teachings (through the books, blog and our teachers) were fundamental to get to our current project, Kimeltu, so we are very grateful to you.
    Thank you!
    Will (Guillermo) Vargas

    http://www.insidevtknowledgeworks.com/2011/08/second-annual-vt-knowledgeworks-global-partnership-week.html

    http://www.kimeltu.com

  9. [...] that Steve has worked in Chile before, so use a little networking to get on his agenda:http://steveblank.com/2010/12/13…You will be glad you did!This answer .Please specify the necessary improvements. Edit Link Text [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 151,705 other followers