American Online founder Steve Case offered his insights to how the internet and business will change over the next five years.
- In an interview with MarketWatch, AOL founder Steve Case talked about future business leaders, how the internet will continue to connect the world, concerns about economic and technology futures, and upcoming technology opportunities.
- As one of America’s most well-known entrepreneurs, Case pioneered internet usage and played a major role in making it part of everyday life.
- Case’s insights are generally optimistic—though he does have some worries about technology leaving certain groups of people behind.
Why it’s news
In the next five years, Case says that more companies will begin to pop up across the country, not just in major cities like San Francisco, New York, and Boston. Already, this phenomenon is happening as major companies find success outside of the usual cities. He discusses this in his new book Rise of the Rest.
As a more level playing field appears, Case says more people will have access to the American Dream ideals.
“I think five years from now, people will be surprised by how many iconic multi-billion dollar companies are in surprising places all around the country,” he says.
In the near future, Case says the internet will meet “the real world” as it moves on to the next phase. Initially, the first phase of the internet was about connection, the next about apps and software, and the third focused on real-world connections like healthcare and food.
Case also predicted that regulatory policy on the internet will become much more important since the way people use the internet will more regularly affect everyday life.
As technology progresses over the coming years, Case predicts that it will become increasingly invisible, a phenomenon that Case says is already happening.
One of Case’s fears however, is that technology will leave some people behind. Technology should instead be used to create more opportunities for individuals, he says.
Though Case is generally optimistic about the future, his greatest concern is making sure everyone has an equal opportunity for success.
He points out that 75% of venture capital is focused on three states. Pointing out inequality in entrepreneurship, Case says that women only receive 10% of venture capital despite making up 50% of the population. Similarly, Black Americans receive less than 1% of venture capital though they comprise 13% of the population.
Case says he is trying to address this dynamic through his seed fund Rise of the Rest.
“There won’t even be a tech sector,” he says. “Technology will be embedded really in everything. We see a lot of that already. Most companies are tech enabled. We’ll see even more of that in the next five years. And I’ve always thought even from the early days of AOL and the internet, that it really will arrive when it’s no longer hyphenated. It’s not e-commerce, it’s commerce, it’s not e-mail, it’s mail. It just becomes the fabric of life, like electricity.”