8.29.2016

How One of the Internet's Founders Sees the Future

I just reviewed Steve Case's bestseller, “THE THIRD WAVE – AN ENTREPRENEUR’S VISION OF THE FUTURE”  for Impakter Magazine:




When Steve Case’s book came out on 5 April 2016 (publisher: Simon and Schuster), it was an immediate New York Times and Wall Street Journal sensation, hailed as the number one business book of the year.

Part memoir, part business manual, it’s a must read for at least two reasons:
  • one, because it is a unique memoir from someone who was on the leading edge of the Internet revolution: Steve Case was a co-founder of AOL in 1985, the first Internet company to go public (in 1991), the first to bring millions of Americans online; AOL was a corporate giant that arose a full decade before Google, Amazon and Facebook; Case oversaw the Time Warner-AOL merger in 2000 and became chairman of the combined business, the largest media and communications empire in the world at that time.
It is clear that any aspiring entrepreneur could learn from Case’s unique insights into the startup experience, ranging from near death to unexpected comebacks; and, cherry on the cake, the book comes with a mesmerizing series of photographs marking the main events in Case’s life and AOL’s rise.
  • twoit provides an eye-opening vision of the Internet’s future: if anyone has an idea where the Web is headed, surely Steve Case does. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, he has drawn a “compelling roadmap for the future”. No entrepreneur or corporate manager who wishes to succeed in this first part of the 21st century can afford to ignore Case’s advice.
What is remarkable about Steve Case is that he is both an inspired investor and a dedicated philanthropist.
Steve Case
IN THE PHOTO: STEVE CASE PHOTO CREDIT: TWITTER 
Six years before leaving AOL-Time Warner in 2003, Steve Case had launched the Case Foundationwith his wife Jean and had made it his business to bet on upcoming innovative entrepreneurs, keeping himself abreast of all new developments in the IT world.
In 2005, he co-founded, along with Donn Davis and Tige Savage, an investment firm aptly called Revolution to finance digital startups, aiming, according to its website, to “support ideas that change the world.” Based in Washington D.C., the firm, of which he is chairman and CEO, also runs a $525 million fund to invest “outside of Silicon Valley” – in fact, as explained on its website, Revolution’s “mission is to establish itself as “the premier firm outside Silicon Valley.”
Revolution has helped build up many businesses including the car-sharing app Zipcar, the GPS fitness tracking app Runkeeper, the online learning platform BenchPrep, the daily deal websiteLivingSocial,  Sweetgreen, an American “simple, healthy food” restaurant chain and Revolution Money, an online financial services company (sold to American Express in 2009) .
In 2010, Steve and Jean Case took the further public step of signing The Giving Pledge, joining other major billionaires like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet and Carl Icahn, in reaffirming their commitment to give away most of their wealth to philanthropy.
At the same time, Case is a rare believer in a bi-partisan approach to economic policies.
Though a Republican, he has worked to support President Obama’s job policies to create employment and spur entrepreneurship. He was a member of Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness  and founding chair of the Startup America Partnership – he is now chairman of UP Global, a non-profit to support entrepreneurial communities, created in 2013 from Startup America Partnership and Startup Weekend. Unlike many in the business community, he strongly believes that the government has a key role to play in jump starting innovation.
The foreword is written by Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of several acclaimed biographies, most recently of Steve Jobs and of a remarkable history of innovation on the Web called The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.
IN THE PHOTO: WALTER ISAACSON
Walter Isaacson, in introducing Steve Case for us, evokes the moment when the idea of a Time Warner-AOL merger was first aired out, back in 1999. It happened improbably in Beijing, in the course of a twelve-course banquet for a thousand people at the Great Hall of the People to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution in China. Time magazine, of which Isaacson was editor at the time, had brought to China the whole of the Time Warner Board and a few other American business leaders, notably Steve Case.

Read the rest on Impakter, click here.
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