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Semantic Web – What’s Your Pitch?

By   /  January 28, 2011  /  No Comments

Elevator Door

People working in the Semantic Technology space are often asked for a clear, concise, easy to understand answer to “What is the Semantic Web?”  My friend and colleague Brian Sletten recently said to me, “If you ask 10 Semantic Tech experts to define Semantic Technology, you’ll get 11 different answers – one from each of the experts and the one that represents what the listener hears.” 

At the 2010 Semantic Web Summit, a speaker was asked “What’s your Elevator Pitch?” I myself have been asked this enough that I now ask a critical follow-up question before answering: “Who is in the elevator with me?” I’m not looking to be glib with this answer; I find that depending on the inquirer’s background, any number of elevator pitches may resonate. I like to think that I’m getting better at describing this stuff, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Elevator Pitches recently, and I would like to start collecting them from the community. So here’s my challenge to you, dear readers:

How to give me your pitch!

  1. Decide who’s in the elevator with you. Is it a C-Level executive? A potential investor? A Java developer? An Object-Oriented Programmer? A publisher? A Data Management professional? Someone who saw “Semantic Web” on your T-Shirt?
  2. Videotape your pitch.
  3. Submit it. Once it’s uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, or your platform of choice, send a link and embed code to:
    eric (at) semanticweb.com. Be sure to use the email subject line, “Elevator Pitch.”


  1. Start your video by telling us your NAME and WHO is in that metaphorical elevator with you.
  2. A good pitch is designed to grab the attention of the listener so he/she wants to hear more, so don’t worry if it’s not comprehensive.
  3. Your video doesn’t have to be made in an elevator; just make sure it’s under 90 seconds in length.
  4. By their very nature, elevator pitches are informal – have fun!

UPDATE: Shortly after we published the initial request for pitches, Sandro Hawke (see Sandro’s pitch here)reached out asking if a better question might not be, “What is the Semantic Web good for?” addressing the value proposition. It’s a good point, and I expect that many pitches will answer this question as well. Certainly, if you feel that’s a stronger angle, feel free to pitch accordingly.

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