Coursera Startup Engineering Course enrolled!



I am now starting Coursera’s Startup Engineering course, provided by Stanford University’s Professors Balaji S. Srinivasan (balajis) and Vijay S. Pande (pande). As an introduction, they said:

Welcome to Startup Engineering! This is the course we wish we’d had before beginning our careers. It’s a summarization of what we know about starting technology companies/labs and scaling them up, taken from our experiences building Counsyl and Folding@Home.

As described in detail here, the first part of the course will cover modern software engineering principles with a focus on mobile HTML5 development, taught via in-class lectures with online questions and programming assignments. Guest lecturers from top Silicon Valley startups (including Uber, Coinbase, Meteor, Square, Stripe, AirBnb, Twilio, Taskrabbit, Judicata, Counsyl, Twitter, and Asana) will bring these concepts to life with real engineering problems from their work.

In the second part of the course, you will run a crowdfunder to attract pre-orders and/or social media attention for your startup product. Specifically, over the course of the homework assignments, you will progressively develop a node.js-based crowdfunding application and populate it with your own startup idea, which you may have brought with you at the outset or else developed over the course of the class. Your crowdfunding app will be prototyped as a simple command line application, exposed as a webservice, and (at your discretion) integrated with other students’ webservices to create a simple crowdfunding site. This site will be designed for a mobile HTML5 target via use of Twitter Bootstrap, will support basic social sharing functions, and will optionally accept Bitcoin for payment.

Lectures will continue in the second part of the course, but will be focused on the design, marketing, and logistical aspects of operating your crowdfunder. Some may decide to spend this time on marketing; others on design; others on making an impressive demo for a crowdfunder video. But all projects will be ranked by (at least) two scalar criteria within each category: the number of Bitcoin raised during the crowdfunder period and/or the number of social media shares of the crowdfunder project (see slides for details). No other homework will be given in the second half to allow you to fully focus on your crowdfunding project.

Grading will be based on multiple choice questions and programming assignments; as noted above, in the programming assignments you will successively build up portions of your own simple crowdfunding site. The best final projects in each category (e.g. genomics, transportation, law, Bitcoin, etc.) will qualify for prizes sponsored by startups. All homework assignments should be submitted on this site and will be automatically graded.

Very interesting reading materials as a preparation for the course were placed as an introduction to the course

15K participants so far, a challenging course for the beginners of Linux, but very interesting indeed.

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