Toffler’s “Third Wave” was the information age: an electronic global village, where people could access an endless array of services and information, participate in an interactive world, and build a community based not on geography but on common interests. He predicted the world as we know it today.
The Third Wave is the era when the Internet stops belonging to Internet companies. It is the era in which products will require the Internet, even if the Internet doesn’t define them. It is the era when the term “Internet-enabled” will start to sound as ludicrous as the term “electricity-enabled,” as if either were notable differentiators. It is the era when the concept of the Internet of Things—of adding connected sensors to products—will be viewed as too limiting, because we’ll realize that what’s emerging is the much broader Internet of Everything.
Steve Case: The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future
Think about the progression. We started out this way on our brochures and business cards and fliers:
Visit us on the world wide web at
Then we simply went to
Now it’s simply
In other words, people understand that this configuration, “.com,” is on the world wide web, and people understand that the www goes in front. (In fact, your browser adds it in automatically).
As I am reading The Third Wave, one quote that really grabbed me was part of the second one above:
…the era when the term “Internet-enabled” will start to sound as ludicrous as the term “electricity-enabled,” as if either were notable differentiators.
This book is a big bold optimistic “we won’t believe what’s coming next” book. I think he is right about that.
Steve Case, the author, was in on the early days, as co-founder of AOL. (Yes, AOL still has a home/landing page. And, yes, I still know some folks who have aol.com as part of their e-mail addresses. (And, yes, I still hyphenate “e-mail,” though that is the old style. I’m not young, after all).
But, here’s one point of this book – we are through being enamored with the wonder of the world wide web. Now, it is simply part of our tool box.
No, that’s not it. It’s much more than part of our tool box. It’s the very air within which we work, just like electricity and computers/devices with printers (which have replaced typewriters) and paper that enable our work.
Consider this. I think this is downright funny (from the book):
Back then, our band of online pioneers had to fight for everything…
We had to beg PC manufacturers to consider shipping their computers with built-in modems.
In other words, it’s gone from novelty device to “it’s inconceivable to think about functioning without it.”
It’s ludicrous to even ask “could you do your work without the world wide web and the connected world?” Nope! And neither could I!
I’m looking forward to presenting my synopsis of this book, The Third Wave, at the June 3 First Friday Book Synopsis.