THE THIRD WAVE BY STEVE CASE
People at startups think about the future every day.
We will see more people starting more companies to solve more problems and seize more opportunities—many of which will never land on Silicon Valley’s radar.
The leaders behind these emerging companies will end up being the most diverse group of CEOs ever.
During the Second Wave, the surge in Internet usage, coupled with the rapid adoption of smartphones, led to an explosion in social media and the creation of a thriving app economy. Some of the most successful companies, such as Snapchat and Twitter. But there are signs that this model is now peaking, that a new wave is about to break. And there is growing evidence that this new period will look quite different from the Second Wave.
THE THREE P's
It all comes down to the three P's; partnership, policy and perseverance.
The startups of the third wave will collectively shape what could be one of the most thrilling chapters in the history of American entrepreneurship. They will pursue bold visions, but their true gift will be mastery of execution.
During the Third Wave, a great product will only get you so far. You typically won’t be able to build an audience by dropping your app in the App Store and waiting for users to sign up. That’s because most Third Wave industries have gatekeepers.
For the most part, success will hinge on an entrepreneur’s ability to form constructive, supportive partnerships with the organizations and individuals that can influence those decision makers and, eventually, with the decision makers themselves. These Third Wave companies won’t have the option of going it alone.
Partnerships in the Third Wave are the prerequisite for success. And that can create a Catch-22—where a company needs a partnership before it can get funded, but can’t secure a partnership without showing proof of concept. Getting over that hump will require persistence—and patience.
Third Wave entrepreneurship will require a special kind. A great Third Wave idea will have dozens of obstacles to viability, not just with hardware and software but with logistics and supply chains, with partnerships and policy. The Third Wave will require a high degree of adaptability. Your initial product may not survive its first contact with the marketplace. Or with regulators. Or, perhaps partners you seek to align with will demand some adjustments. You’ll have to keep adjusting, tweaking, pivoting. Persevere. DISRUPTION As the Third Wave approaches, many long-established, stable, profitable corporations will be in jeopardy.
Incumbents often fail because they underestimate the speed at which the future is approaching. People at startups think about the future every day.
Frequently, large companies have a decision-making process where many people have the power to stop an idea, but very few have the authority to green-light one.
Too often corporate executives are too shortsighted to understand how technology that is disrupting a different industry might be adapted to do the same to their own.
Corporate recruiters need to be working overtime hiring and retaining and celebrating and protecting the innovators within their walls. There is a mythology in the tech world that the best talent gravitates toward startups.
You can generate a financial return while enabling a societal benefit—driving both profit and purpose.
What we are seeing is the convergence of three powerful megatrends—the Third Wave, the rise of the rest, and impact investing—and the chance for a supercharged result.
Entrepreneurs with vision, Talent and venture capital- how simple it ought to be to start a business and scale it up.
Indeed, I would expect that in the coming decades, we will see dozens of companies reach unicorn status by making products principally to sell to around the world.