Instaread Summary of The Third Wave An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future, by Steve Case
Two out of five stars
It seems appropriate that the title of the book is taken from the book “The Third Wave” by Alvin Toffler and published in 1980. For most of the contents has appeared in many other publications, the breakdown that Case does regarding the development and expansion of the internet is right out of “Introduction to Computers” textbooks.
This can be seen from the first three key takeaways:
1. The First Wave of the Internet was about building the technology from the ground up and getting people connected.
2. The Second Wave of the Internet was about developing and creating the products we use online. Google, Amazon, eBay, social networking, and mobile devices all emerged in this period.
3. The Third Wave of the Internet will crest when the Internet is as ubiquitous and essential to modern society as electricity.
The most interesting of the key takeaways in the summary is number eight, the last one.
8. The downfall of AOL resulted from the aftermath of the merger with Time Warner and a subsequent culture clash that sank the once-thriving Internet business.
People that followed the merger will recall that there were many people that argued at the time that it made little sense. AOL was known for bombarding the world with disks containing the software to open an AOL account and I remember reading pieces by analysts pointing out that the limits of population size meant that AOL would soon be unable to grow. It was clear to nearly everyone that AOL would soon need to seek new sources of business if they hoped to survive long term. Yes, there was a culture clash, but much of that was due to the bizarre marriage of businesses that really didn’t understand each other. There was also the systemic bursting the the dotcom bubble that had a lot to do with the failure.
This summary convinced me that this book contains little, if anything that is new. I also found it darkly amusing that Case is still trying to justify and explain one of the worst business decisions ever made.
This book was made available for free for review purposes.