Students of the ‘How to be a Futurist’ Course Publish Books on Startup Success and Failure

Utilizing crowd wisdom and case studies, Berkeley students publish two books during the 2022-2023 academic year


July 6, 2023


Book cover for Sink or Swim, Lessons for Startups

During the Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters, SCET hosted the course titled ‘Future of Technology: How Innovators Critically Examine Game-Changing and Time-Wasting Technologies.‘ This special topics course equips students with skills to critically analyze startup success and failure. Through literature reviews, netnographic analyses, and case studies, students identify patterns to apply in their own research, career decisions, or entrepreneurial ventures. The culmination of each semester involves the publication of a book on Amazon, collaboratively written by nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate students.

  • Attention Berkeley students: Become an author! The course is now enrolling for Fall 2023.

The University of California, Berkeley’s Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 classes produced these books. The first edition, titled ‘Behind the Hype: What Makes Startups Succeed or Fail – A Student Survey of Patterns,’ and the second edition, ‘Sink or Swim Lessons for Startups: A Semester-long Analysis at UC Berkeley,’ were developed and published through student brainstorming exercises and polls. The author listed is the course instructor.

The students employed netnography and various methods to analyze and publish business profiles and case studies of dozens of startups in three emerging technology sectors: Blockchain, Healthcare IT, and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Students from diverse majors discerned the internal and external factors contributing to the success or failure of each company. Factors such as people, marketing, technology, and funding were explored.

The students were then divided into Production, Analytical, Design, Editorial, and Marketing teams to collaborate on the book. The analytical team analyzed the profiles and success/failure factor ratings submitted by the students. The design team created the layout and cover, while the editorial team focused on style, grammar, and consistency. The marketing team developed a promotional plan, and the Production team coordinated the final assembly. The instructor contributed a preface and an overview of the course design. Conclusions drawn include insights into startup success and failure, complemented by graphs, charts, and summaries.

This collective wisdom aims to inform future entrepreneurs, empower students hesitant about their ideas, and assist founders in identifying areas of focus. Success is transient, and we hope to contribute valuable data points, experiences, analytics, and perspectives to the formula. We trust that you will enjoy this labor of love by University of California at Berkeley students, as well as international exchange students from France, Germany, and Korea, alongside undergraduate and graduate learners gathered at the Life Sciences and Hearst Memorial Mining building in Silicon Valley!

Amazon Book Links: Print and Kindle editions