Feasibility Study (3-5 single-spaced pages. Business style writing.). What did

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Feasibility Study (3-5 single-spaced pages. Business style writing.). What did you learn about the following (and more?2026;your choice to discuss more than just these items): Your idea/company/product?(ignore this one)o Would you pursue this idea in 201C;real life201D; if you had the opportunity?Your team?Yourself?!o Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Why/why not?o Did you at least learn valuable skills that you can take with you, no matter what career path you take? Why/why not?o Has your idea of your career path changed now that you2019;ve take this class? Why/why not? I attached the syllsbus to take an idea about the course.Thank you.

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MGMT 660
Fall Semester 2018
Faculty Name: Tom Kohn
Faculty E-Mail: tkohn@american.edu (preferred over phone)
Office Location: KSB-221
Phone: 202-885-1988
Office Hours: I am available pretty much anytime when I2019;m not teaching, but before (or after) class
might be best. Simply email me to make an appointment and I will make myself available at a mutually
agreeable time/day. I2019;m on campus this semester Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, especially.
Class Time & Location: Monday, 5:30pm2013; 8:00 pm, Don Meyers/DMTI-109
Course Description:
As Albert Einstein is supposedly to have said:
201C;If I had an hour to solve a problem I2019;d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5
minutes thinking about solutions.201D;
This course is about exploring some of the world2019;s problems and testing your hypothesis on it/them to see
if, in fact, it is really a problem that you might want to turn into a business. In the next course, 661, you
should have your answer/business and you will then build the solution to the problem you explored in this
The course is designed for those who are interested in the formation and growth of startups and for those
who are curious about entrepreneurship. Students will explore the principles behind these questions:
2022; How do entrepreneurs create a successful start-up?
2022; How do they identify a market need?
2022; How do they find ideas to meet that need?
2022; How do they turn ideas into an actual opportunity?
2022; How does an entrepreneurial team collaborate to become a successful company?
2026;but more importantly, students will practice many of the principles discussed in the class by engaging
in a group term project focused on developing your own startup idea(s). Students will apply critical
thinking skills and knowledge of processes that are fundamental to building a successful entrepreneurial
Who Is This Course For?
This course is designed for graduate students from all AU schools, not just the Kogod School of Business,
MGMT 660, Fall 2018
who seek to understand an entrepreneurial mindset and the key processes in entrepreneurship and
innovation. Topics introduced in this course are relevant for future founders and executives of early stage
ventures and future employees of larger companies engaged in innovating products and practices.
Simply, for any student, you will gain a valuable skillset that will help you no matter what your future
career path is. For Kogod students, it is one of two courses, along Management 661, that can lead to a
career track or certificate in entrepreneurship but, again, we welcome ALL American University students
to experience the valuable course.
Course Objectives:
The objectives of Management 660 are to teach you:
2022; How entrepreneurs think
2022; What entrepreneurship is and why it is important to economies
2022; How to use the Lean Startup methodology to validate an entrepreneur2019;s idea
2022; The fundamental relationships between investors and founders
2022; The difference between a business model and a business plan, and
2022; How to find a repeatable and scalable business model for a startup company
At the same time it will deepen your understanding of the importance of business skills including:
2022; Customer exploration and validation
2022; Market sizing
2022; Product development and validation
2022; Revenue strategy
2022; Product pricing
2022; Basic financial forecasting, and
2022; Startup financing
Learning Outcomes
By the end of the class, students will be able to apply:
Basic Design Thinking Elements & Product Development: how to conceive, develop, test and refine a
prototype business idea and a product or service their team defines;
Ethnographic Field Research Methodologies: how to conduct 201C;targeted201D; data collection by asking
specific but open-ended questions that allow the person or persons being interviewed to answer
without being limited by pre-defined choices;
Intensive Team Collaboration: Learn through experience about the dynamics of working in the smallteam, start-up environment of early stage companies;
Persuasive Communication: Know how to capture and present your prototype idea to potential users,
customers and investors or partners.
How Is The Class Taught?
The course is taught through the Socratic Method 2013; i.e., class discussions. The professor does not
201C;lecture.201D; Attempting to mimic how interactions actually occur in the workplace, and trying to help
students prepare for the 201C;real world,201D; Professor Kohn is an executive-in-residence who facilitates a
(hopefully) lively, group conversation, led by you, the students. As a result, you must come prepared
every class to participate and be ready to share your knowledge and insights with classmates. In addition,
there are readings, experiential field research work and team collaboration. Through these varied
methods, this class will provide you with the tools and processes to go out and find business opportunities
and to start and develop a sustainable business. In short, this is a practicum.
MGMT 660, Fall 2018
So that you don2019;t get bored with just me up in front of the class, there will be at least one guest speaker
coming to our class and at least one guest judge from the DC startup community joining us for the Final
Required Materials (books, readings, other materials)
Entrepreneurship: The Practice & Mindset, by Neck, Neck and Murray (Sage Publishing, 2018)
2022; ISBN: 978-1-4833-8353-1 (hard copy)
Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works, by Ash Maurya (O2019;Reilly Media, 2012)
2022; ISBN-13: 978-1449305178 (hard copy). ISBN-10: 1449305172 (digital version)
Feel free to get whatever book (hard copy or digital, rent or buy) that works for you. There will be other
readings, resources and videos to be provided as the course progresses. All readings should be completed
in advance of the class where they are listed, as they will be discussed during the class noted on the
syllabus. Warning: professor cold-calls often and there are weekly Reflection Papers on the reading.
Professor Kohn will push you hard but a) you will learn a lot and b) you will have fun in this class.
Through the Running Lean book, and then applying what we2019;ve learned, this course applies many
fundamentals of the Lean Startup methodology, to help you experience the challenges of starting a
business. Lean Startup is a generally accepted startup process that applies the scientific method to moving
from idea to a validated business model. It will help you learn the principles and practices to build a
company with substantially less money and in a shorter amount of time.
Course Professor: Tom Kohn is an Executive-in-Residence (EIR) at Kogod and a two-time startup
entrepreneur. In 2017 he launched his first social entrepreneur startup, CONNECTdmv.org. Tom was cofounder/CEO of Transactis, an e-billing company with $70MM of funding and which is currently
profitable. Transactis has clients and investors such as Wells Fargo, PNC and Capital One banks, plus it
has several venture capital funds i nvested in the firm. Over seven years he pivoted the company three
times before it became the billing company it is today. Tom was also the first employee and CEO of
Bid4Assets, an electronic auction company that conducts auctions high value assets from distressed
situation for the US government, as well as for state and local governments and, now, individuals. He
raised $10MM for each company. As a media executive, Tom was chief revenue officer at
USATODAY.com where he conceived of and launched the firm2019;s e-commerce division, creating a
$20MM new revenue stream for Gannett/USA Today. Tom was also, most recently, the chief digital
officer at a $65MM business-to-business media company, Cygnus, which was coming out of bankruptcy,
and which later was sold. As an EIR he is still active in the business world, consulting for several
companies while teaching at Kogod. In 2013 he was inducted into the Media Industry News Digital Hall
of Fame. Professor Kohn has an MBA from Harvard Business School and received his BA from Stanford
The professor2019;s LinkedIn profile can be found at www.linkedin.com/in/kohntom/. On Twitter you can
find him at @TomKohn.
MGMT 660, Fall 2018
Separate elements of a student2019;s performance are weighted as follows when the professor is assigning a
final grade.
Class Participation 2014; Individual
Weekly Reflections 2014; Individual
Problem/Solution Interviews 2014; Individual
Business Model Elements 2013; Group
Final Presentation 2013; Group & Individual
Specifically, this is how the elements are broken down, Individual Grade vs. Group Grade:
Class Participation = 20%
Reflections = 19%
GROUP = 32%
Business Model Elements = 20%
Final Prezo/PPT = 11%
Problem/Solution Interviews = 11%
Final Presentation/PPT Oral = 10%
Final Prezo/Feasibility Study = 4%
Skills Assessment Exercise = 1%
Elevator Pitches = 3%
Practice/Group Interview = 1%
2014;2014;2014;2014;2014;2014;2014;2014;2014;2014;2014;2014;The following cut-off points will be used to determine your grades. Your work will be often be graded in
relation to the quality of others2019; in the class (i.e., on a 201C;curve201D;), at the professor2019;s discretion.
Important Dates:
2022; Last day to drop course without penalty: September 10th
2022; October 12th: no school (this is a Friday)
2022; Last day to drop course: November 2nd
2022; Thanksgiving: November 21st-25th (Thurs and Friday off)
2022; Last day of classes: December 7th
2022; Final Exams for Kogod: December 10th 2013;15th
2022; Final Night/Presentations (in lieu of exam) for this class: December 10th: 5:30pm-8pm
MGMT 660, Fall 2018
The Course Is Organized Into Three Modules:
1. Understanding Entrepreneurship: The entrepreneurship mindset. Why entrepreneurship is
important. How it2019;s practiced. (classes 1-3)
2. Identifying Growth Opportunities & 201C;The Big Idea201D; / Applying Lean Startup Principles:
The practice of entrepreneurship. Understanding/identifying a need/problem. Vetting product
ideas. Raising our odds of success. Conducting 201C;problem interviews.201D; (classes 4-9)
3. Beginning To Turn Your Idea Into a Business: What2019;s the solution? Conducting 201C;solution
interviews.201D; Build it by creating a business model and a basic understanding of the type of
financing you could find. For your Final Presentation, you will pitch your idea to investors/
entrepreneurs. (classes 10-14)
Specific Assignments:
(Weekly) Reflection Papers 2013; In lieu of weekly quizzes you will be writing and submitting (on
Bb) weekly Reflection Papers. They are only 1-2 pages, but should show effort, detail, and
introspective thought, reflecting on how that week2019;s reading relates to each of that week2019;s
readings and should include your (i.e., reflections) on the readings and the assignments of that
week. Near the end of the semester we will not be doing these weekly. As with all assignments
in this class you must write them using business style writing (again, more description of this
will be posted on Bb) and each week you must refer directly to each of the readings you did and
comment on them. Conveniently, you will also use these ruminations in a) your Final
Presentation (combined with your teammates2019; reflections) as well as b) in your final Feasibility
Study, i.e., 201C;Do you think your company is viable? Why/why not?, etc.201D;
Business Model Elements. Over the course of the semester you will be creating elements
needed to start a company, including the elements bulleted below. As with all assignments, you
will submit these on Blackboard.
o Market Sizing
o Business Model Canvas
o Low-fidelity Prototype
o Customer Personas
o Use Case Diagram
Weekly Problem and Solution Interviews 2013; over the course of the semester 2013; in keeping with
the Lean Startup methodology 2013; your team will conduct five Problem Interviews and five
Solution Interviews to help you assess the viability of your new company. One to two members
of your team can/should go out together.
Problem/Solution Interviews crucial to the customer and product validation process. This is a
very important part of this course. We will discuss these in depth before you start and will listen
to each other2019;s interviews (you will be recording them) in class. You will be creating audio file
of each interview (not video) and imbedding the link to this file in the Word document you
submit each week. Based on past experience here, below, seems to be a reliable way to create
the audio file:
MGMT 660, Fall 2018
Instructions on How to Post on YouTube (Public) Using iMovie:
2022; Create a 201C;New Project201D; and upload audio files to iMovie
2022; Go to 201C;Titles201D; section and add any title to the movie writing 201C;Problem Interview #_201D;
or whatever you prefer as title
2022; Be sure to expand title to the entire length of the audio
2022; Review video to make sure there are no problems
2022; Press the 201C;Share201D; button at the top right of iMovie
2022; Select YouTube upload option
2022; Choose the lowest resolution for the fastest upload speed (video quality is irrelevant)
and choose privacy 201C;unlisted201D;
2022; Name your video, publish, and you2019;re done!
Final Project 2013; The oral presentations by each team will take place on the last day of class, in
lieu of a final exam. We will have at least one, outside entrepreneur and/or investor in
attendance to help judge the final day of presentations. Here is a more detailed description of
what the final project entails:
Group Assignment (written and oral). Presentation of the following in PPT format. One per
1. Final Problem and Solution Interview Findings
2022; Who did you talk to and why?
2022; What did you learn?
2022; What would you do differently if you were to do it over again?
2. Low Fidelity Prototype 2013; how did it evolve? What did you learn? How satisfied are you
with it?
3. Business Model. With regards to the business model, specifically (elements below2026;feel
free to add more, as necessary), what did you learn? How hard is it to take an idea and turn
it into a business? Are you satisfied that your idea can be turned into a business and make
money? What would you predict would be the future of this business? How many
customers, how much revenue, what will the 201C;exit201D; be? Generally, what were the lessons
learned while creating the business model elements?
Market Sizing
Business Model Canvas
Low-fidelity Prototype
Customer Personas
Use Case Diagram
4. Overall, Lessons Learned. What did you learn in this class?:
2022; About your idea?
2022; Your company/product?
2022; The process of taking an idea to a money-making business? (i.e., entrepreneurship)
o What were you trying to set out to do and did you succeed?
o Were there any 201C;pivots?201D; Why?
Individual Assignment (written only, in Word format. One per student.):
MGMT 660, Fall 2018
Feasibility Study (3-5 single-spaced pages. Business style writing.). What did you learn
about the following (and more?2026;your choice to discuss more than just these items):
2022; Your idea/company/product?
o Would you pursue this idea in 201C;real life201D; if you had the opportunity?
2022; Your team?
2022; Yourself?!
o Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Why/why not?
o Did you at least learn valuable skills that you can take with you, no matter what
career path you take? Why/why not?
o Has your idea of your career path changed now that you2019;ve take this class?
Why/why not?
Important Class Disclaimer: You will be creating a company/product in this course. Please note that
we will not be using Non-Disclosure Agreements (201C;NDAs201D;). So, if you have an idea that you think is
proprietary do not discuss it in class, with your classmates privately, in the halls, or anywhere. In my
experience, very few ideas, unfortunately, are truly original (in fact, many have already been created and
we don2019;t even know it!). But, any idea that is discussed in this class is fair game and I/we cannot prevent
anyone from taking an idea and trying to develop it. We will not be signing NDAs. Having this overreaching policy will keep things simple. If you2019;re concerned that others may take your idea then simply
do not bring it up.
No Nonprofits. No Apps. No Services (only Products). Because nonprofits, apps and
services are hard to price. I recently started a nonprofit, myself (summer 2017) so I2019;m a big fan of
nonprofits but, for this class, you need a revenue model and to create a revenue model you need a product
or service that you can price. So nonprofits are a no go. Apps are also often not really a 201C;company201D; (just
a technology or product), plus they are often simply priced at some nominal, one-time fee in the App
Store. Again, they are not priced. So they, too, are off limits. Finally, services are very hard to price.
Usually, you just price someone2019;s time, rather than an actual product. So, again, services are not allowed.
Blackboard Announcements and Content Folder Are Crucial: The professor will keep students
up to date on changes and/or announcements through Blackboard Announcements (i.e., email). All
documents will be posted in Bb in the Content folder.
Business Style of Writing: Professor Kohn emphasizes clear organization of thinking, in both written
and verbal communication. He often points out to students that your eventual bosses will appreciate and
value this clarity of thought in both your written and verbal communications. He emphasizes writing in a
business style, as one might write a memo to one2019;s boss. He will distribute a document on this style of
writing and will repeatedly discuss it in class. Bosses and professors (and most everyone, really) have
limited time and you must get your point across clearly and quickly. As such, the use of bullet points,
paragraph headers, and charts/graphs within your written documents is encouraged. Whatever it takes
to get your point across succinctly, strongly, clearly and quickly. This style may be different from the
long-form, prose style you are taught in other classes. The best style for your written work in this course
combines bullets/headers with prose 2013; i.e., a hybrid writing style 2013; so that your professor (or future boss)
can both skim your work or read it in-depth. The professor will post a document about this in the Bb
Content folder.
MGMT 660, Fall 2018
Blackboard Announcements and Content Folder Are Crucial: The professor will keep students
up to date on changes and/or announcements through Blackboard Announcements (i.e., emails sent to
you). Please make sure you check email for these important updates. All class documents 2013; including
weekly class PPTs 2013; will be posted in Bb in the Content folder. Generally, as always, Blackboard is your
lifeline to this course. It will be used extensively for announcements, assignments, discussions, links to
articles, copies of PowerPoint slides, etc.
Attendance/Missing Class: Coming to class is, obviously, very important, especially when the
professor subscribes to the Socratic teaching method and, thus, counts on you to help keep the class
interesting through lively discussion. Attendance is taken every day. If you are going to miss class due to
illness or a valid reason, you must email the professor before class to let him know of your situation
before class begins. You are allowed two such absences. After this, for every class you miss the
professor reserves will decrease your grade by 2 points (i.e., from a 94 to a 92. Professor Kohn has sole
discretion on such matters. If nothing else, of course, missing class earns you a 201C;zero201D; for class
participation that day. You will be expected to know the class material even from days you miss. Please
get notes on such class from your classmates, although the professor also posts each day2019;s PowerPoint
presentation 2026;
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