College Course

College-level course developed in conjunction with the book – resources and exams are available through the publisher, Pearson Education.

CalPoly Startup Course

Co-author Dr Zhang teaches the CIS 299 course Internet Startup Technology and Strategy at Cal Poly Pomona. Cal Poly Pomona is one of the 23 campuses of California State University, ranks 8th among public Western Colleges in U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 edition of “Best Colleges”, and 34th when the category includes both private and public universities. 

The course was offered as a 4-unit unrestricted lower-division elective course, and was quickly filled by students from various majors, including Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Management, Accounting, finance, and Graphic Design. The class meets twice a week for 10 weeks. The format include lectures, individual assignments, student presentations, in-class exercises, exams, and a 5-milestone group project. At the end of the course student groups presented their Internet startups, from idea discover and evaluation to prototype of their MVP in a “startupfest”, to their classmates and interested students from outside the class.

The course subjects include discover and evaluate innovative online startup opportunities through market research. Develop the minimal viable product or prototype through current technologies, methodologies, and strategies. Launch the new product to market through effective marketing channels and models. Make successful online business and keep it growing. Topics include web and mobile development, lean methodology, wireframing, product development, product management, Leadership, Internet marketing strategies, and analytics-driven optimization.

The Learning Objectives include:


  • Fundamental technologies (programming languages, database, infrastructure, web hosting)
  • Current technologies (Frameworks, Platforms, APIs, IDEs, Cloud computing, etc.)
  • Emerging technologies (Native contents, Massively online, The Internet of things (IoT), Wearable)
  • Business-driven technologies (User experience, Wireframing/prototyping, SEO, Analytics-driven optimization)


  • Product Discovery and Evaluation (Commoditization, Innovation, Competitive strategies, business models, Market research)
  • Product Development & Management (Software development methodologies, Product management, Outsourcing)
  • Marketing & Sales Strategies (Search engine & Social media marketing, Email advertising, Affiliate marketing)
  • Finance and Legal Issues (Incorporating, Partner and adviser agreement, Return on Investment (ROI), Economies of Scale)


  • Internal Environment (Student clubs, competition, seminar, and workshops, Senior projects, Campus incubators)
  • External Environment (Network events, Advisors and mentors, Internships, Funding and supporting resources: angel investor, venture capital, crowdsourcing, seed accelerator, and startup incubator).