A few weeks ago, I was at a local mall just engaging in some retail therapy. Average stuff. I cut through the Barnes & Noble to use their elevator and get to the next floor of the mall. As I walked through, I was stopped dead in my tracks. I saw a sign for an author’s book-signing event that following Friday. And I was shocked to see who it was.
It was an event featuring Steve Case, an entrepreneur that I greatly admire. I’ve followed Steve and his work for a few years now, the peak occurring probably when I finally got to hear him speak at the SXSW festival back in the spring of 2015. While I didn’t get the chance to meet him then, I really enjoyed hearing about his viewed on entrepreneurship, his focus on policy (not politics), and his Rise of the Rest organization. The stories and impact of investors are great and everything, but I’ve never really been one to focus on the money side of entrepreneurship, I’ve always enjoyed the stories behind them. And Steve’s story is unique.
So, when I heard that Steve was going to be signing copies of his new book, The Third Wave, my first thought was … well I need to get this book, and read it! I knew it would be less expensive on Amazon.com, than purchasing it in the store, and I also just have an Amazon problem in general…so I had ordered the book before I even got home. The very next day, there was the book in my hands, and I got to reading. I ordered the audiobook, too, which happened to be narrated by Steve himself.
The Third Wave is a great piece of work. As the flap jacket and narration will tell you, it’s part memoir, part manifesto for the future. And the memoir piece isn’t too overly focused on Steve himself as it is on his journey through the world of establishing Internet access for Americans, navigating the United States government and their politicians, and then getting involved in present-day entrepreneurship to help advance areas that, otherwise, wouldn’t receive as much attention. This is a very, very important part of Steve’s story and one that I admire very much.
And in that interview, Steve did a great job of summing up the premise of the book. “The Third Wave” could be seen as a surfing analogy but it’s primarily referring to the waves of the internet and how they affect and impact each of our lives.
Steve identifies the First Wave by the fact that in 1985, only 3% of Americans were online for an hour week. There was not as much content or interaction, so there wasn’t as much a need to be present online or to have access.
The “Second Wave” saw the development of apps and services on the internet. Companies like Google and Facebook made the internet searchable and social respectively, and the way we interact with each other and our devices changed greatly as a result.
The “Third Wave,” Steve says, is upon us. It’s all about integrating the Internet more into our lives. We will have to start thinking about how we can use the internet to stay healthy, how it affects what we consume, how we think about investing money. And as it enters more facets of our life, it will also come with more regulations form everyone’s favorite entity: the government. So, how do we work together to advance this technology while not going overboard?
Steve talks a lot about how there is a ton of opportunity for people to position themselves to be a part of these industries that very well may be disrupted by this next level of and progression of technology as it relates to the Internet. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? That’s what so many of my entrepreneur-type friends think about, study, and quite frankly: do. They are always looking for that next big but also MEANINGFUL thing that they can build, help with, or contribute their time and passions to, as to be a part of that “Third Wave.”
Back in September 2014, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a program called the Hive Global Leaders Program. This program gathers hundreds entrepreneurs from across the world in San Francisco (and now many other cities, like Boston) to engage in deep, meaningful, and quite frankly (and honestly) life-changing conversations and exercises in what we were really doing in our work, why we were doing it, and what we want to do moving forward in terms of adding quality and value to the world and people around us, in our communities and abroad. Hive was one of the most transformative experiences I’ve ever had, and reading The Third Wave really reminded me of that.
Reflecting on Steve’s experiences and his passion to work toward policy points that would be advantageous for entrepreneurship in places where economies are weak and people are poor is an example of values-based, meaningful work. From his position of wealth, it would be easy to just throw money at these problems as a VC or an investor, but Steve is conscious about issues facing the world and helps eradicate issues through entrepreneurship. It’s impressive and very service-minded.
To say that I admire Steve Case and his ethos…would be an understatement. It was definitely a treat to not only be able to meet him at the book signing, but to have a quick chat and have him sign my copy of the book!
It’s been years since I’ve been really been able to engage in leisure reading. After graduate school finished in 2014, the last thing I ever, EVER wanted to touch was a book. But as I begin thinking more seriously about my next academic steps in life (applying for Ph. D. programs sometime in the somewhat nearish future), I’ve decided to pick up reading a bit more. And it’s been great. The Third Wave is but one example of being able to leisure read something that’s not academic, and outside of my defined field of interest…but was a great read, anyways.
So, to wrap, up, I wanted to share two of the biggest takeaways that I really enjoyed from the book. Here’s the first one. The three P’s.
Steve’s three P’s are partnership, policy, and perseverance. The most important of this one, in entrepreneurship and even more importantly in life, is perseverance. Being able to bounce back and work through both successes and setbacks in life is very, very important to success. In my opinion, it is the only way to successful. I must admit, I have less respect for those who tend to give up easily. Perseverance is essential to being successful and getting through challenges. And we ALL experiences challenges.
The second big takeaway that I wanted to share is some food for thought.
“As Senator Marco Rubio has pointed out, Airbnb is now the largest hospitality provider, yet they don’t own a single hotel. Similarly, Uber is the largest transportation company, though they don’t own a single vehicle. And neither company existed just a decade ago.”
The Third Wave. Read it…it’ll make you think.