CHAPTER ONE

An Opportunity as Big as the Web

IN NOVEMBER 2012 I WAS SITTING IN A PACKED CONFERENCE room at the brand-new Open Data Institute (ODI) in London, a public-private partnership launched with a 10-million-pound grant from the British government. The ODI has all the look and feel of a well-funded tech startup. The Institute is situated in London’s equivalent of Silicon Valley, known as Silicon Roundabout for the Old Street roundabout where the nearest tube station is. It’s an area much like the tech hives in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood or Silicon Alley in lower Manhattan—underdeveloped neighborhoods with ample space for new companies to stake out their territory, innovate like mad, and drive up the cost of real estate. ...

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