Just as with his first break-through, the hyperlink, he realises that its the links that make things useful. To take this on step further the linking is how we embed mean into web documents. The same applied with data. Data by itself is not as useful as data linked to other data and this linkage is meaningful.
Linking was only half the story and Tim doesn’t talk about the importance of standardising the data format, which by the way he also underestimated with HTML and why web developers have had a nightmare with different web browsers interpretation of HTML. Data formats is the less exciting half of the equation but is going to be just as critical. Especially with numbers like dates, currencies, measurements (and their metrics) etc. I’m thinking (hoping, praying) that we’ve learnt our leasons from HTML and people know when and how to draw up a standard for data formats before this thing explodes.