The new digital world order

Tariq Krim is interesting not just because he’s the guy who set up Netvibes, the fully-customisable content aggregator respected by geeks and loved by users, he’s also passionate about politics, which, as we’re frequently being told, isn’t that common with the under 35s.

Okay, so Tariq was 36 last weekend, but let’s not split hairs.

Earlier this year, Tariq was nominated a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and invited to Davos to join discussions around the ‘2030 Initiative’ – the creation of an action plan for how to reach the vision of what the world could be like in 2030.

When we meet up at the Web 2.0 Expo Europe, Tariq tells me it was the discussion on hypercommunication at Davos that he found most fascinating. Sadly we didn’t have much time and I didn’t have a chance to press him on the exact meaning of this (but I’ll get back to you).

Strangely enough for a futurist, Tariq says he often finds himself looking to the US elections for inspiration.

“When I want to see the next shift in marketing I always look at the US election. Politics is always ten years in advance of everything else. Because, simply, you have to beat your opponent.”

So, what’s he been seeing in the current presidential election campaign?

“Barack Obama has built this social network and I’m interested in how he’ll use that after the election. If he gets in it’ll mark a major change in politics. Obama’s money comes from millions of small donations – he will have shown that these people can just as powerful as big corporations.”

For Tariq, the rise to power of Barack Obama, bourne in on the back of three million internet donations, couldn’t come at a more appropriate time.

“The world is going to go digital and all those who don’t play by the new rules are going to get destroyed. There’s going to be an adjustment and it’ll be painful. In 2000 people said this [the internet] is a joke – now it’s a reality check.”