Teaching at Olin College next year

College photo 10842 130x0I’m excited to tell you that I just accepted a position as Visiting Lecturer at Olin College for Spring 2013! Actually the full name is Olin College of Engineering.

Olin is a small engineering college, actually in the top ten of engineering colleges according to US News’ Rankings. Olin is a very young college: it just celebrated its 10th year! 

I’ll be teaching Entrepreneurship in a course called “The Tech Startup” (at least I think that will be the name of the course.) 

As you might know, I was teaching at Brandeis University over the last three years. The course I taught at Brandeis  was more computer science oriented, aimed at getting the students the experience and helping them gain the skills to build software products in a way that looks like the real world.

At Olin the focus will be on the broader topic of how engineers should think about startups, how to come up with products that have a chance at selling, making sure they match what customers want and are willing to pay for. I

am still nailing down the details of the curriculum but it’s very exciting to have this opportunity and I am totally psyched about it!

Funny: Are computers boys or are they girls?

A SPANISH Teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

‘House’ for instance, is feminine: ‘la casa.’
‘Pencil,’ however, is masculine: ‘el lapiz.’

A student asked, ‘What gender is ‘computer’?’

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer’ should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men’s group decided that ‘computer’ should definitely be of the feminine gender (‘la computadora’), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2 The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine (‘el computador’), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.