How to beat the Ubers of tomorrow: The book that every tech titan eventually gets around to penning has been a long time coming from Steve Case. “I am writing this book today,” explains the co-founder of AOL (through which half of the traffic on the Internet once flowed) and the co-architect of its jaw-dropping merger with Time Warner (condolences, Ted Turner), “because we are living at a pivotal point in history, and I want to offer whatever perspective I can to ensure a bright future.”
The perspective that Case offers in The Third Wave (with a bow to futurist Alvin Toffler) will be particularly interesting to the leaders of large companies that are well-established in their industries. He contends that we are entering a new phase of Internet growth. The first wave was focused on creating the infrastructure of the online world; it was dominated by companies like AOL, Cisco, and Microsoft. The second wave was driven by software as a service; it was — and still is — dominated by companies like Google, Uber, and Facebook. The third wave, says Case, will be “an era when the term ‘Internet-enabled’ will start to sound as ludicrous as the term ‘electricity-enabled.’” In this phase, the Internet of Things will become the Internet of Everything.
As the Internet permeates every product and service and spreads through every industry, it will create rich opportunities for established companies, says Case. That’s because there are high barriers to entry in many industries, and creating new platforms within them will require cross-sector partnerships as well as new governmental policies and regulations. An app created in a dorm room isn’t going to be enough to commercialize self-driving cars, for instance. That’s going to take a large-scale, concerted effort — the kind of effort that requires the resources and influence of large, established companies.
That’s the setting for The Third Wave. If you’d like to read more, Case describes what companies will have to do to successfully ride the next, big wave in the excerpt below, reprinted with permission of the publisher.