Greetings from Silicon Valley! Week two has officially come to an end and our students are fully immersed in the full Duke in Silicon Valley experience. While we are living in the Mountain View area, we have been traveling throughout the Bay to apply knowledge from the course in both learning and understanding the nuances of the many company visits and guest speaker talks. All 23 students are enrolled in the “Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise” instructed by Dr. Jeremy Petranka. Affectionately known as “Dr. J.” to the students, he is currently an Associate Professor of the Practice in the Duke Fuqua School of Business. While this is his first year collaborating with Duke in Silicon Valley, Dr. J. has hit the ground running and guided the students into full engagement with building a foundation of understanding the entrepreneurial life cycle.
During the first week of the program, we visited a number of companies, the first of which was Intuit. SVP Chief of Staff and Duke Alumna, Lindsay Argalas shared their “Design for Delight” strategy and walked individual groups through customer satisfaction experiences via rapid prototyping. Following our visit at Intuit, both the Undergraduate students and the Graduate students attended a San Francisco Giants game and had the opportunity to meet with CIO Bill Schlough, who is also a Duke alumnus. Later in the week, our students visited Idea Couture to gain more insight on global strategic innovation. On our first Friday, we ended with visiting Education Superhighway, where the students met with Founder and CEO, Evan Marwell. At Education Superhighway, Evan outlined specific goals to attain by 2018 in order to provide internet access at every public classroom in America.
The second week of the program kicked off with a visit to the Hewlett Foundation where students dissected the differences between foundations and charities. They then had the opportunity to visit Coinbase, the largest bitcoin wallet company in the world, which was Founded by a Duke alumnus. Throughout the week and during their coursework, Dr. J. guided the students through the elements of ethnographic observations and dissecting psychographic information.
This entire summer has a lot on the menu between the “Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise” enterprise, visiting companies, hosting guest speakers, and networking with Duke Alumni. We are very excited to share the experiences of the Summer 2016 Duke in Silicon Valley Cohort! Please stay tuned, as there is much more to come!