I recently finished reading Steve Case’s book, “The Third Wave.” Steve Case grew up in Hawaii (same as me) and co-founded America Online (AOL). At one point, AOL had a market cap of $163 billion. It was also the best-performing stock of the 1990s. Mahalo to Yuka Nagashima for getting us a signed copy!
The First Wave
Steve Case presents a case that the First Wave of the internet (1985-1999) was about building the infrastructure and foundation for an online, connected world. The dominant players included Cisco, IBM, Apple, AOL, HP, and Sun Microsystems. Mr. Case believes the First Wave companies were driven by People, Products, Platforms, Partnerships, Policy and Perseverance. To sum up the environment during the First Wave, he writes:
In the early days of AOL, so much of our job was just explaining what the Internet was, how it worked, and why anyone would want to use it.
In an age where everything is on the internet, it’s an amazing statement.
The Second Wave
The Second Wave (2000-2015) was about building on top of the internet. Google made it easier to find things on the web while Amazon and eBay made it easy to buy things online. Social networking, smartphones, and Software as a Service (SaaS) also came of age during the Second Wave. Mr. Case also explains that we saw software products that achieved infinite scale.
Second Wave companies were driven by People, Products, and Platforms.
The Third Wave
Steve Case believes the Second Wave is starting to give way to something new:
Decades from now, when historians write the story of technological evolution, they will argue that the moment the Internet became a ubiquitous force in the world was when we started integrating it into everything we did.
Mr. Case makes the case that the term “internet-enabled” will come to sound as silly as the term “electricity-enabled.”
Rather than the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s more about the Internet of Everything. He believes the internet will be fully integrated into every part of our lives. Every industry leader in every sector is at risk of being disrupted. The Third Wave is about that massive shift.
Just like the First, the Third Wave will be driven by People, Products, Platforms, Partnerships, Policy and Perseverance.
Chapter 3 was my favorite part of the book. Mr. Case lays it out in plain English:
If you’re a tech entrepreneur looking for an industry to disrupt, what better place to begin than the healthcare system?
Furthermore, he writes: “Our hospitals are stuck in a pre-Internet world, and patients are suffering because of it.”
Wow. It was as if Steve Case was in the room talking to me. I felt a marked sense of validation and a heightened interest to finish reading the book as fast as possible.
We’re Riding the Third Wave
As I write this blog post on a Saturday from the offices of 500 Startups in San Francisco, I am convinced Paubox is every bit a part of this new, gigantic Third Wave.
Our evangelical zeal to revolutionize the way people send and receive secure, HIPAA compliant email is being well received across the nation. We are now in 43 states plus Guam and we’ve tripled our customer base since January.
To accelerate our growth, we applied for and got accepted into 500 Startups. We are over the moon to be a part of their top-tier accelerator program.
We are going to do it as big as we can.