“I think we need to have a more evenly dispersed innovation economy and we need to make sure that anybody, anywhere, with an idea has a shot at the American dream.”
It’s hard to imagine, but in 1985 — the year this week’s guest co-founded America Online — only 3% of Americans were connected to the internet, online for an average of a measly one hour per week.
It took a decade, many near-death experiences and back to the wall pivots, but under the leadership of Steve Case, AOL would go on to become the world’s largest and most valuable internet company, driving worldwide adoption of the medium that has literally transformed every aspect of modern day life.
The story is legend. After AOL became the first internet company to go public, Bill Gates gave Steve a choice — sell his upstart to behemoth Microsoft or get crushed. Believing in himself, his team and the renegade idea of community over content, Steve decided to take his chances. David against Goliath, the odds were not in his favor. But not only did AOL survive, it went on to become the top performing stock of the 1990s. At its peak, nearly half the users in the United States used AOL to access the internet. When AOL’s valuation escalated to $163 billion in 2000, Steve negotiated a $350 billion merger of AOL and Time Warner, the largest merger in business history, and served as chairman of the media and communication colossus until 2003.
It all looked great on paper. But paper isn’t reality. Cultures clashed. The stock price plummeted. With his own take on why the historic merger faltered, Steve lives to fight another day.
Today Steve is chairman and CEO of Revolution, DC-based investment firm, and the Case Foundation, a philanthropic effort that invests in hundreds of organizations with an entrepreneurial approach to strengthening the social sector.
The epitome of the American Entrepreneur and a true maverick of the digital age, this week I sit down with Steve to discuss his incredible story, the current state of entrepreneurship in America, and his new book highlighting an emerging new phase of the internet. Part memoir, part business playbook, and part manifesto, The Third Wave, An Entrepreneur’s Vision of The Future* bears witness to the fascinating machinations behind crafting the early stages of the internet we currently enjoy and provides an astute forecast for successfully stewarding pioneering tech entrepreneurship in the coming decades.
I only had a very strict 45 minute window with Steve, so this is a pretty tightly focused discussion. It’s a conversation about the internet’s incipient Third Wave and the focus on partnerships, policy and persistence that will be required to tackle and transform hulking, real world sectors like health, transportation, education, energy, and food.
It’s about something Steve calls impact investing — fostering the nascent emergence of entrepreneurship in outlier locales beyond the typical tech hotbeds of Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley and Silicon Beach.
It’s a conversation about why the most valuable currency of the future is ideas.
And it’s about why the killer app is, and will always be, people.
Steve Case has impacted our world more than anyone I have ever met. It was an honor to converse with him, and I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
A few spots are still available for our next retreat — for info visit ourplantpowerworld.com
Check out Julie’s new podcast divine throughline
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
Harrys.com: A superior shave at an affordable price. Type in my coupon code “ROLL” at purchase for $5 off your starter set and get an entire month’s worth of shaving for just $10 when you visit Harrys.com/roll.
Framebridge.com: The easy new way to frame the things you love. In addition to free shipping, Rich Roll Podcast listeners will save an additional 15% off your first order by entering the coupon code “ROLL” at Framebridge.com.
Background, Context & Reference:
- Connect with Steve: Revolution | Case Foundation | Facebook | Twitter
- Book: The Third Wave, An Entrepreneur’s Vision of The Future* by Steve Case
- WashingtonPost: Get ready, the Internet is about to change again. Here’s how by Steve Case
- WashingtonPost: Steve Case on his days running AOL and on the future ahead for tech by Jon Gertner
- VentureBeat: What Steve Case’s ‘third wave’ means for global startups by Gonzolo Costa
- Bloomberg: Steve Case’s Second Life as D.C.’s Favorite Businessman by Nick Summers
- Forbes: Steve Case: What Leaders Need to Know About The Next Wave of Tech by Dan Schawbel
- Forbes: Steve Case’s Revolution Growth Raises $525 Million To Keep Backing Startups Far From Silicon Valley by Alex Konrad
- Fortune: Steve Case Is Looking Outside Silicon Valley for the Next Big Thing by Jasper Scherer
- Fortune: The Co-Founder of AOL Forecasts The Future of Tech by Anne VanderMey
- Entrepreneur: How Steve Case is Preparing for the Web’s Third Wave by Matthew Toren
- GeekWire: AOL Co-founder Steve Case cautions that overnight success won’t be so easy in the next decade by Kevin Lisota
- TheAtlantic: How Steve Case and His Company Are Driving the Sharing Economy by Derek Thompson
- CNBC: Steve Case: This is what keeps tech from fixing the world’s biggest problems by Althea Chang
- WSJ: AOL Co-Founder Steve Case’s Favorite Gadgets by Chris Kornelis
- FastCo: Steve Case’s VC Bus Tour Looks To Fund Startups In Overlooked Cities byJared Lindzon
- TechCrunch: Steve Case’s Revolution Growth just closed a new fund with $525 million by Connie Loizos
- Wired: The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup by Peter Yang
- Inc.: Steve Case: What Entrepreneurs Need To Know About Our Rapidly Changing Digital World
- CNBC: Steve Case: This is What Keeps Tech From Fixing The World’s Biggest Problems
- CNBC: Steve Case: Remember, even the internet was once a tough sell
- CNN: Steve Case On The Coming Third Wave of Technology
- Bloomberg: Steve Case: Entrepreneurship Is Alive and Well
- Yahoo Finance: AOL is Cool Again: Steve Case
- HuffPo: Do Well By Doing Good: An Interview With Steve Case by Alexandre Mars
- TED: Steve Case: 10 Unforgettable Talks
- Talks at Google: Steve Case: The Third Wave [VIDEO]
- sweetgreen aims to inspire healthier communities—starting with the way people think about food
Notable People Discussed:
- Jim Kimsey: co-founder, CEO and the first chairman of America Online
- Marc Seriff: best known as the CTO and co-founder of America Online
- Evan Spiegel: co-founder and CEO of the mobile app Snapchat
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:
*Disclosure:Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
The Plantpower Way is available at these fine retailers!
Are you a company interested in sponsoring the podcast? Click here to learn more & take our sponsor survey.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT THE PODCAST?
Tell Your Friends & Share Online!
Donate: Check out our brand new Patreon account!
Download Our Free App! Now you can access, stream, download and share the entire RRP catalog in the palm of your hand on any iOS mobile device (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) with our mobile app. Never miss an episode, plus special announcements, discounts, giveaways. Already downloaded? Awesome. When you have a minute, and it feels right to you, do us a solid and give the app a review in the iTunes Store.