Big ideas, small minds and ‘database hugging’

Remember that great idea you had – the one you took to your boss? The one that was rejected out of hand? The one you’re still convinced is a great idea? Well hang on to it. It might just be the Next Big Thing. Hanging on to it is just what Tim Berners-Lee did 20 years ago. When he wrote a memo in 1989 on a great idea he had for a hypertext system, his boss was less than enthusiastic. 18 months later, the boss gave him the go-ahead, but on the strict understanding that Berners-Lee was to do it in his own time, as a side project. And thus was born the World Wide Web. Years later, when Berners-Lee’s boss died, the memo was found among his personal effects. Vague but exciting, he’d written in the margin. 20 years on, Berners-Lee has been giving his vision for the next phase of the internet – what he calls ‘the huge unlocked potential’ of the web. Linked data, he says, is the way forward. Not just hyperlinks to pages, but data with relationships that make it interesting, exciting and useful. His 16-minute talk to TED last month is a fascinating insight into where the web has been, and where it’s headed: Find out more: