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The Third Wave

An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future

By Steve Case
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The Third Wave by Steve Case

The Third Wave (2016) explains that, at this point in the information age, entrepreneurial relevance and success depend on awareness about the current environment. Find out how the next revolutionary innovators will be disrupting the status quo by using the internet to change mainstay industries like healthcare, food and education.

Key idea 1 of 8

The history of the internet has had two distinct phases, and a third phase is beginning now.

In 1980, futurist Alvin Toffler wrote The Third Wave, a book describing how the next “wave” of evolution in the information age would transform the world and create an electronic global village.

But to understand this “third wave,” let’s first take a step back and look at what came before.

The first wave began with the creation of the foundation and infrastructure of the online world.

Companies like Sprint, Cisco, Apple, Microsoft, AOL, and IBM created crucial hardware, software and networks, making the internet available to everyday users.

This wasn’t exactly an easy task. These online pioneers faced an uphill battle, struggling to convince people that the internet was relevant and worthwhile. Indeed, many saw it as a fad. In a 1995 interview on PBS, the author was asked, “Why do people need [the internet]?”

By the turn of the twenty-first century – the beginning of the second wave – the answer to that question was more than apparent.

By this time, search engines like Google were helping people navigate ever vaster amounts of information; online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay appeared; and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter emerged, connecting more and more people.

The second wave further revolutionized the world when mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android enabled people to access the internet wherever they went.

This brings us to the third wave, on the threshold of which we currently stand.

The third wave is about integrating the internet into everything we do. No longer limited to PCs, tablets and other devices, the internet is becoming part of our homes, automobiles, agriculture and cities. This technologically-integrated age has also been referred to as the Internet of Things.

The third wave will find entrepreneurs taking advantage of this new era to challenge major industries such as healthcare, education, food and commuting.

So, let’s dive in and discover what these future fields of entrepreneurship may look like.

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