Santa Clara University

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

CIE Speaker Series

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Fall CIE Speaker Series

Steve Blank

Steve Blank

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship welcomed serial entrepreneur, author and Silicon Valley legend Steve Blank for a fireside chat with Leavey School of Business Dean Dr. Drew Starbird.  The event was part of the CIE's Global Entrepreneurship Week activities.    

Event Information:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
6:30-7:00 pm Check In/Registration 
          & Complimentary Desserts
7:00-8:30 pm  Program
Recital Hall
Parking available in the Parking Structure (permits required on campus until 8 pm)
Register Here 
Registernow *Update* This event is now closed.
About Our Guest Speaker (as taken from 

My path has taken me from repairing fighter planes in Thailand during the Vietnam War, to spook stuff in undisclosed location(s), and I was lucky enough to arrive at the beginning of the boom times of Silicon Valley in 1978.

After 21 years in 8 high technology companies, I retired in 1999. I co-founded my last company, E.piphany, in my living room in 1996. My other startups include two semiconductor companies, Zilog and MIPS Computers, a workstation company Convergent Technologies, a consulting stint for a graphics hardware/software spinout Pixar, a supercomputer firm, Ardent, a computer peripheral supplier, SuperMac, a military intelligence systems supplier, ESL and a video game company, Rocket Science Games.

Total score: two large craters (Rocket Science and Ardent), one bubble home run (E.piphany) and several base hits.

After I retired, I took some time to reflect on my experience and wrote a book (actually my class text) about building early stage companies called Four Steps to the Epiphany. My latest book, The Startup Owners The Startup Owner's ManualManual integrates 10 years of new knowledge (and fixes lots of typos.)

I moved from being an entrepreneur to teaching entrepreneurship to both undergraduate and graduate students at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University, Columbia University, Caltech and the Joint Berkeley/Columbia Executive MBA program. The “Customer Development” model that I developed in my book is one of the core themes in these classes.  In 2009, I was awarded the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in the department of Management Science and Engineering. The same year, the San Jose Mercury News listed me as one of the 10 Influencers in Silicon Valley. In 2010, I was awarded the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business.

In 2011 at the request of the National Science Foundation I modified my Lean Launchpad class and it became the curriculum for the NSF I-Corps. Science wrote an article about the I-Corps and so did Nature, the Economist, and Forbes. National Public Radio did a story on the class here and so did the San Jose Mercury. I testified in front of Congress about the success and future of the program.

In 2012 the Harvard Business Review listed me as one of the “Masters of Innovation.”

In 2012 I was the keynote at the National Governors Conference. My talk was on C-Span here, slides are here.

All my coursework, syllabuses, and presentations can be found here.

The NY Times had a few things to say about my work herehere and here.

I also followed my curiosity about why entrepreneurship blossomed in Silicon Valley and was stillborn elsewhere.  It has led to several talks on The Secret History of Silicon Valley.

In 2007 the Governor of California appointed me to serve on the California Coastal Commission, the public body which regulates land use and public access on the California coast. (The NY Times described the work of the Commission here.)

I am on the board of the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV). Recently I served on the Expert Advisory Panel for the California Ocean Protection Council as well as on the boards of Audubon California (and its past chair) and the Audubon National Board as well as the Peninsula Open Space Land Trust (POST) and as a trustee of the U.C. Santa Cruz foundation.

I was the commencement speaker at Philadelphia University in 2011.


In compliance with the ADA/504 please direct your accommodation requests to: Linda Jenkins via email at at least 7 days prior to the event.

"The presence of a guest speaker on the campus of SCU does not necessarily imply approval or endorsement by the University of the views expressed by the guest speaker or by anyone else present at the event"



2011-2012 CIE Speaker Series 


Fall11 Cabrera


Spring12 Nick Woodman forweb

Winter12 Holland


More About The CIE Speaker Series

On a quarterly basis, the CIE hosts the CIE Speaker Series- informative, entertaining events that feature a dynamic, leading entrepreneur or leader in innovation sharing experiences and advice with the SCU community, generating awareness of the role played by and importance of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Target Audience
The audience for the CIE Speaker Series includes SCU students and faculty as well as invited guests from the Silicon Valley business community and the CIE Advisory Board.

The CIE Speaker Series provides attendees a unique opportunity to hear a first-hand account of stories in start-ups and breakthroughs in innovation and technology including challenges and lessons learned.  Presenters typically provide a 45 minute presentation followed by an informative 15 minute Question & Answer session.  


Fall:  Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Winter: Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Spring:  Wednesday, May 8, 2013

All CIE Speaker Series events are held in the Recital Hall, Music & Dance Building.  Program time is 7 pm, join us for desserts and coffee during check in from 6:30-7 pm.

Thank you to all who joined us in 2011-2012 as we welcomed Chris Cabrera, Paul Holland and Nick Woodman (links below to event recap and photos). 

If you have a disability and require accommodation, call 408-554-5757 or email 48 hours prior to the event.

2011-2012 CIE Speaker Series Archive

(for information and photos):

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