Are you ready to catch the Third Wave?
Part memoir and part vision of the future, Steve Case’s book “The Third Wave – An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future” provides interesting insights about the future of the internet. His guidance for both large and small companies looking to succeed in future is based on lessons learned from growing AOL into the first public internet company, the failed AOL-Time Warner merger, and his experience with Revolution Ventures, the venture capital firm he founded.
According to the author, we are at the onset of the Third Wave of the internet, the era in which the internet becomes a horizontal platform, a resource that is embedded into every aspect our lives. The first wave involved the build-out of the infrastructure and tools that connected people to the internet and each other. The second wave saw the rapid growth of services and applications like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Snapchat and Instagram.
The ubiquitous nature of the internet in the Third Wave will disrupt processes, products, business models and value chains in many sectors. Just as electricity transformed the way we live and work, the internet will transform industries ranging from technology to education, health, transportation, financial services, and food. The implications for corporations are significant. According to the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation, 40% of the top 10 incumbents by industry today will be displaced over the next five years.
How do you succeed in the Third Wave? Having a bold vision and strategy are important, but ultimately execution will still be key. The author identifies three P’s that will differentiate the winning companies:
Two other P’s stood out in the book:
“It is no longer acceptable for the businesses to see the world purely through the lens of profits and customers; there is also a patriotic duty to make our country stronger, our people more empowered, and the world better.”
—Steve Case, p. 164
“It doesn’t really matter what the plan is if you can’t get your people aligned around achieving the same objectives. “
–Steve Case, p. 139
Opportunities abound in the Third Wave. Where you land is up to you. Will you be the disruptor – or the disrupted? Your success may depend on how you manage the five P’s: partnerships, policy, perseverance, purpose and people.
Are you ready to ride the Third Wave?
 Jim Collins, Good to Great (New York: Harper Collins 2001), 41