AOL co-founder’s advice on how Trump can revive US entrepreneurship

Steve Case on the future of entrepreneurship

WASHINGTON — Steve Case, the co-founder and former CEO of America Online, is offering President Trump some advice on how to ensure America remains the most innovative entrepreneurial nation in the world.

Case expanded his best-selling book, “The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future,” to include a new chapter, in the wake of Trump’s election.

“I’ll admit it; I was surprised by the outcome of the 2016 presidential election,” writes Case, in the updated book, which is now available in paperback. “That said, I wasn’t entirely shocked.”

Case describes the first wave as getting America connected to the internet.

“When we started AOL in 1985 in Tysons Corner, Virginia, only 3 percent of people were online,” Case told WTOP.

The second wave built on the net, with apps and services including Facebook, Google and Snapchat.

In the third wave, Case said, entrepreneurs will transform the way people live.

“How we stay healthy, how we move around, what we eat, how we learn,” he said. “That will disrupt some big industries: health care, education, transportation, energy, food — things like that.

“That’s going to require a different mindset and a different playbook.”

The next generation of entrepreneurs will need to interact more with others.

“You can’t go it alone in the third wave,” Case said. “If you want to revolutionize health care, it’s not just about the app or software; you have to partner with doctors and hospitals.”

Public policy and engagement will be more important in the third wave.

“These are regulated sectors, for good reason,” he said. “You want to make sure the drugs we take, the food we eat and the driverless cars on the road are safe.”

Case said tax incentives for regional entrepreneurship can help even the technology playing field.

“Last year, 78 percent of venture capital went just three states: California, New York and Massachusetts. So the other 47 states were fighting over the remaining 22 percent — we’ve got to change that.”

Attracting and retaining talent, according to Case, will require addressing immigration concerns.

“If we continue to push immigrants away — graduating top-notch innovators from our universities, but then forcing them to leave to create companies and jobs elsewhere — we’ll lose our entrepreneurial edge.”

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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