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Flickr user gdsteam ] By Katrina Brooker 5 minute Read Last week, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, asked me to come and see a project he has been working on almost as long as the web itself.
After politely offering me a cup of coffee, he leads us into a sparse conference room. At one end of a long table is a battered laptop covered with stickers.
The British-born scientist is known for his dry sense of humor. But in this case, he is not joking. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it.
For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open.
But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over. In a post published this weekendBerners-Lee explains that he is taking a sabbatical from MIT to work full time on Inrupt.
The company will be the first major commercial venture built off of Solid, a decentralized web platform he and others at MIT have spent years building. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.
He opens up his laptop and starts tapping at his keyboard. Watching the inventor of the web work at his computer feels like what it might have been like to watch Beethoven compose a symphony: He pushes the laptop toward me so I too can see.
On his screen, there is a simple-looking web page with tabs across the top: He built this app—one of the first on Solid—for his personal use. It is simple, spare.
But to Berners-Lee, this is where the revolution begins. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod—which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web.
Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.
He calls it Charlie. Unlike with Alexa, on Charlie people would own all their data.
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That is the kind of machine Berners-Lee hopes will spring up all over Solid to flip the power dynamics of the web from corporation to individuals.The new e-business leaders, whether coming from sales, marketing, branding, finance or other business functions, hold in common strong management skills and business insight.
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