Book Review: The Third Wave by Steve Case

Who doesn’t know America Online, or AOL? Even as someone who don’t live in the US, I still remember seeing AOL logo as bundled software in my Microsoft Windows. Little I know that AOL was the biggest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the US in the 90’s, until I read it in this book, written by one of AOL co-founder and former CEO: Steve Case.

The Third Wave

The title of the book, The Third Wave, refers to Steve’s prediction of the upcoming major wave on the tech industry. Steve referred AOL time as the First Wave, in which the business is to provide access and content to internet. Once people have access to the internet, the Second Wave was to revolutionize the way people access, use and extract value from internet. This is the time of Facebook, Apple and Google, fueled by mobile internet. And this era is coming into flat growth.

The next growth in the tech industry will come from the Third Wave, which will revolutionize interaction of technology and internet with our every day life. Steve provides some area where huge revolution is about to happen, in healthcare, education and food/agriculture.

If you afraid that The Third Wave is only for the tech industry entrepreneur, no need to worry. The rest of the book talks about entrepreneurship, on why and what is needed to be a successful entrepreneur riding the Third Wave. Especially, how to see the government not as hindrance, but as partner towards progress. And not only with governments It is also important to find partners as you start, to build credibility and to spread influence.. Finally, perseverance, the factor that get you up after a fall, will still be a key attribute in the Third Wave, as it always be.

So, if you are a decision maker, or an aspiring entrepreneur in technology industry, the book is a must read. Even if your business is nothing related to tech, the content of the book will provide another perspective in order to achieve greater success.

Brotherhood at Work

If you ask any war veteran of what they missed from a war, I’m pretty certain that the answer will almost be uniform: Brotherhood. It is some kind of bond among the man and woman in the battlefield, with high level of trust and understanding. They might fight and scream to each other on once occasion. But at the end of the day, they all understand that in order to survive, they should watch each other back. You watch my back, I watch your back. And nobody get left behind.


I might never seen a war, let a lone be in one. However, I got a chance to feel the brotherhood in my previous project. It was a 2 years project, where my boss, myself and the rest of the project team cover each other. We cover each other when someone need to go on leave, or absence, and lend a hand to bring a junior team member up to speed. We strive towards common goal, to finish the project and survive.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen such brotherhood in my new project. Everybody seems busy to cover their back, And as you may guess, no job gets done. Even worse, customer and competitors can sense this, and use it to their advantages.

I think it is our job as leaders to instill brotherhood in our environment. The whole team should protect each other instead of blaming each other. The team need to covers other who are not available, and help the weak to get on their feet. The team should strive towards common goals instead of killing each other.

So, as a leader, is your team kills each other, or help each other in a brotherhood?

The Happiness Scaffolding

There are 2 things that most people want in this world: to be healthy and to be happy. While health has a clear measure, visible, and physical, happiness is state of mind and not clearly visible.

So, what does it take to attain and maintain the state of mind that we call happiness? These are the things that I do and remember as I go through my day and while maintaining happiness.

  1. Money is a mean to achieve happiness, not the happiness itself. Otherwise, the rich will be be the happiest people in the world, which is not the case.
  2. The more control people has on their time, the happier they are. So, take control of your time to do things below
  3. Go outside. Sunlight exposure increase the Serotonin hormone, which elevate mood and make you happy.
  4. Exercise. There is another hormone called Dopamine that is produced after exercise, and it improves mood and motivation. Exercise outside for double happiness
  5. Give and share, could be money, time, knowledge or anything. The warm feeling of helping someone will make you happy
  6. Physically meet old friends and family. Especially friends from your school day. All the stories make a good laugh
  7. Focus on what you have, not what you want. Most people have enough of what they need to be happy.

Willpower and Purpose

Beginning of new year, how many people start with resolution? Something that they want to achieve in the new year? Study shows that Gym membership rise in January, then dip sharply in February, just after those who want to lose weight and get healthier run out of willpower to keep their new year resolution.

It doesn’t happen only to new year resolution, but to anything that is motivated by willpower alone. How many people want to eat healthier, wake up earlier, quit smoking and drinking, and only able to maintain it for so long before finding excuse to stop? “Someone’s birthday party”, common excuse to start eating garbage.

Compare that with someone who just survived a heart attack, or lung cancer. When someone got so close with death, their motivation usually come from purpose to live longer, to see their kids grow up. And someone with such purpose will mostly able to quit smoking and eat healthier for the rest of their life.

Willpower is limited. It easily run dry when situation get tough. A gym class might easily get skipped when boss calling from office. And it is hard to resist ordering a box of pizza at 7pm in the office. But many people will no to a sudden request to stay longer in the office, because it is his son’s birthday, and his purpose is to make his family happy.

So, while the new year is still fresh, let me end this post with a question of self-reflection: What motivates your new year resolution? Willpower, or purpose?

Other good reading in the topic: