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America Should Become a Nation of Startups, Former AOL CEO Steve Case Says

"If you want to create jobs, you can’t just focus on Silicon Valley, New York and Boston."

Mike Kepka for Re/code

Forty million jobs have been created by startups in the past 30 years, AOL co-founder and former CEO Steve Case says. But that number could be even higher.

On the latest episode of Re/code Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Case talked about his new book “The Third Wave” and the future of entrepreneurship in America. Now an investor at Revolution, Case said we must start looking for opportunities to apply the startup mentality to all industries nationwide.

“If you want to create jobs, you can’t just focus on Silicon Valley, New York and Boston,” he said. “And you can’t just focus on tech, you have to focus on other sectors.”

On the new podcast, he also discussed why the notorious AOL-Time Warner merger went wrong and what he thinks of Kara’s plan to run for mayor of San Francisco in 2023.

“I think it should happen, because that will fuel the fleeing of people from Silicon Valley,” Case said.

Drawing its title from the 1980 Alvin Toffler book that inspired Case as a young entrepreneur, “The Third Wave” argues that we’re entering a new era of the Internet. During the first wave, companies like AOL built up the consumer and commercial Web and got people using it; in the second wave, roughly the past 15 years, people built ideas and businesses on top of the Internet. Now, Case says, the Internet is expanding to touch on every facet of our lives, including sectors and geographic areas once considered separate from technology.

“Some of the industries most ripe for disruption, like health care, are centered in the middle of the country,” Case said. “Partnerships with the incumbents are going to become more important.”

Mike Kepka for Re/code

Listen to or download the episode in the audio player above, or click here to subscribe to Re/code Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher on iTunes; you can also find Re/code Decode on TuneIn, Stitcher and Clammr.

Kara Swisher will be back in this space next Monday to interview Khosla Ventures partner Keith Rabois. And on Thursday, don’t miss Re/code Media with Peter Kafka. This week, Peter talks to New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich. Click here to subscribe to Re/code Media on iTunes.

You can also hear Kara this Friday on Too Embarrassed to Ask, her podcast with Lauren Goode of The Verge. Click here to subscribe to Too Embarrassed to Ask on iTunes right now. And you should also check out Re/code Replay, an archive of audio content from our events and interviews by Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg, Peter Kafka, Ina Fried and more. To subscribe to that, click right here.

You can follow @Recode on Twitter for the latest on upcoming guests.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara. You can also suggest guests for the show on Twitter, and we’ll do our best to nab them for a Red Chair interview.

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