The Third Wave

Top 3 Takeaways

  • The Third Wave will be built on partnerships, much like the first wave was as opposed to second wave companies that could create change just with the tech itself
  • Companies that are born in the Third Wave will be more spread out than the Silicon Valley based businesses of the Second Wave
  • Businesses and government agencies will have to work together

The Nostalgia of AOL

This book was nostalgic for me as Case wrote about the early days of America Online and I remember vividly using the service. He writes that at one time AOL was Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram all rolled into one and I agree. I remember visiting my sister at college in 1998 and they had just an internet connection but not AOL and I was confused as to why anyone would want to use the internet without AOL. It’s funny how fast things change.

Innovation Will Spread Out

All the innovation won’t be happening by geeks in Silicon Valley but rather by people all over the United States. All things will not be equal however, as investors will still be willing to spend more money in areas surrounding traditional innovation hotspots like San Francisco and Boston. Things will even out over time and once a proven success, a company will be worth just as much as a similar Silicon Valley company, much like Zappos (Las Vegas) and ExactTarget (Indianapolis) did. One of the biggest issues entrepreneurs in areas outside of tech hubs will face is the fight for talent in trying to persuade talent to leave the big cities to move to smaller cities.

Industries to Disrupt

The industries that will be have the most dramatic change will be healthcare and education; two systems that are generally slow to change or resist change. I am interested to see how blockchain technology will change these systems to more easily share information and make integration with our daily lives more seamless.

Internet Connectedness will be Expected

In the third wave, internet enabled will be a given and won’t even need to be mentioned much like we don’t say homes are electricity enabled today. Everything will be expected to be used with the internet and the services and apps that use internet connections.

Differences Between Startups and Small Businesses

Although most may start out small, there is a significant difference between a startup and a small business. Small businesses generally are self financed or receive loans from local banks and  try to solve local problems or fill gaps and grow steadily over time. Startups, generally rely on considerable dollars from investors and try to disrupt whole industries and bring about global changes.

People and Culture

It was really interesting reading about the merger between AOL and Time Warner and how they couldn’t seem to get out of their own way. They had all the resources available but there were many turf wars, jealousy, rumors, and no clear direction which led to them losing a substantial amount of money. Eventually the CEO “resigned” and even Case knew he was no longer valuable as Chairman of the Board.

Excerpt from Third Wave explaining why AOL and Time Warner didn't work

Change Isn’t That Far Away

The future seems far away so we focus on short term results. Kodak actually invented the digital camera in 1975. The executives at Kodak knew that digital posed a threat to their film business but they were told the change was about  twenty years in the future, these executives (who most likely wouldn’t be around for the digital era) were more concerned about the short run.

America is getting disrupted

America can lead the Third Wave but also faces getting disrupted itself. There is a global fight for talent and we need to ensure our immigration policies are encouraging people with an entrepreneurial spirit from all over the world to come to America and stay. We currently have many that will attend  American universities but then are going home and starting businesses in their home countries. We don’t need to look past Google to realize that if Sergey Brin, an immigrant from Russia and his family had not came to America, we may not have Google or it may have been born outside of America.

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