AOL Founder & CEO Revolution, Steve Case: The Rise of the Rest


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By Joubin Mirzadegan. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

For more than 10 years, AOL co-founder and Revolution Chairman Steve Case has been investing in startups in all corners of the US — and urging others to do the same. His new book about this movement, The Rise of the Rest, explains why: The next wave of the tech industry, he argues, is not going to be anchored to physical offices in Silicon Valley alone. “The pandemic has created more attention on that,” he says. “That dispersion that started a decade ago accelerated over the last couple years ... people will be intrigued by the level of innovation happening in these cities.”

In this episode, Steve and Joubin discuss changing attitudes toward young CEOs, the future of entrepreneurship across the US, the benefits of not being headquartered in Silicon Valley, investing in startups around the world, integrating technology into other systems, revolutions as evolutions, delegating paranoia, shifting one’s mindset as CEO, the missing killer app for blockchain, the commercialization of the internet, the 50th anniversary of communism in China, “the worst merger of all time,” and how AOL almost bought eBay.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Why Steve got demoted as CEO of AOL before it went public (04:55)
  • His new book, The Rise of the Rest, and his previous book, The Third Wave (11:08)
  • Democratizing capital for startups across America — and flying on Air Force One (18:43)
  • America’s entrepreneurial success “didn’t happen by accident” (22:36)
  • AOL’s early market motions and the resurgence of the “business person” in tech (25:16)
  • The earliest days of online computer services pre-AOL (29:13)
  • Steve’s entrepreneurial origins and believing in the potential of the internet (35:20)
  • A short-lived Apple partnership in the 1980s, and the invention of “America Online” (39:49)
  • Being a shock absorber for the rest of the company (44:28)
  • The difficulty of scaling AOL and betting big on community over content (48:54)
  • AOL and Time Warner’s notorious merger, and Steve’s tactical decision to step down as CEO (56:08)
  • The aftermath of his resignation: “It was frustrating to go from leading to watching” (01:03:25)
  • Managing a family in tandem with a fast-scaling startup (01:07:54)


115 episodes