WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Case welcomes internet's 3rd wave at NVTC event

I’ve never met Steve Case, but I drank beer in his office once.

I have a friend who started at American Online in the early days when they occupied a couple floors on Westwood Center Drive in Tysons Corner, Va.. I’d meet my buddy out there on a Friday night, and there would be a trash can full of beer on ice for the AOL crew.

About 10 o’clock, they’d start to shut down parts of the network because there just wasn’t that much traffic. This was probably 1992 or 93.

We’d sit around and chew the fat drinking free beer. On one visit my friend walked me down the hall and showed me Case’s office. It was a corner office, but rather unassuming. The chairs were very comfortable.

Case mentioned those early days of what he calls the first wave of the internet as he accepted his Pinnacle Award from the Northern Virginia Technology Council on Monday night.

The first wave was the building of the internet and proving that it was commercially viable.

We are in the second wave now, according to Case. We are buildings apps and services that ride on top of the internet infrastructure.

The third wave – also the title of a new book by Case – is coming. The third wave is the integration of the internet into everything in our lives: health care, education, transportation, etc.

To succeed in the third wave will take a different entrepreneurial mindset than success in the first and second waves, he said. It’ll be harder, and there will be fewer overnight successes.

It’ll take partnerships, it’ll take policy initiatives and it’ll take perseverance.

Because of those three Ps, Case said he is optimistic about the prospects of success for the Washington region. “They play to the strengths of this community,” he said.

While he didn’t mention the government market, the needs of the third wave as Case described it definitely plays to the strength of government contracts. More than almost any other market, government contractors understand the need for partnerships. Policy drives everything, and you certainly need perseverance.

So, are you ready for the third wave? More importantly, is your customer?

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:00 PM


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