Steve Case’s career began when he cofounded America Online (AOL) in 1985. At the time, only three percent of Americans were online. It took a decade for AOL to achieve mainstream success. AOL became the top performing company of the 1990s, and at its peak more than half of all consumer Internet traffic in the United States ran through the service. After Case engineered AOL’s merger with Time Warner and he became Chairman of the combined business, Case oversaw the biggest media and communications empire in the world. In The Third Wave, which pays homage to the work of the futurist Alvin Toffler, Case takes us behind the scenes of some of the most consequential and riveting business decisions of our time while offering illuminating insights from decades of working as an entrepreneur, an investor, a philanthropist, and an advocate for sensible bipartisan policies. We are entering, as Case explains, a new paradigm called the “Third Wave” of the Internet. The first wave saw AOL and other companies lay the foundation for consumers to connect to the Internet. The second wave saw companies like Google and Facebook build on top of the Internet to create search and social networking capabilities, while apps like Snapchat and Instagram leverage the smartphone revolution. Now, Case argues, we’re entering the Third Wave: a period in which entrepreneurs will vastly transform major “real world” sectors like health, education, transportation, energy, and food—and in the process change the way we live our daily lives. The Third Wave is part memoir, part manifesto, and part playbook for the future.
Steve Case is one of America’s most accomplished entrepreneurs—a pioneer who made the Internet part of everyday life and orchestrated the largest merger in the history of business between America Online (AOL) and Time Warner. Case’s entrepreneurial career began when he cofounded AOL, which became the top performing company of the 1990s. At its peak, nearly half of Internet users in the United States signed on through AOL. As chairman and CEO of Revolution, a Washington, DC based investment firm he cofounded in 2005, Case partners with visionary entrepreneurs to build businesses such as Zipcar, LivingSocial, Sweetgreen, and many others. Case was the founding chair of the Startup America Partnership—an effort launched at the White House to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. A member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, Case also serves as Chairman of the Case Foundation, which he established with his wife Jean in 1997.
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