December 5, 2003
angela talk, day one
(what follows is an imaginary conversation between Angela Tesoro, billionaire founder of a fictious women’s health club franchise, and Timothy Falconer, advocate for the Semantic Web)
Angela: Hi Tim, it’s Angela. Got a minute?
Timothy: Hey Angela. Sure, what’s up?
Angela: This morning I was approached by a startup company that’s looking to make and sell some computer software. They’re convinced they’re gonna make millions of course, and they need an angel investor, which is why they met with me. Their ideas sound pretty good, but you know me. I’m not the most computer literate person, which is why I’m calling you.
Timothy: What’s their idea?
Angela: It’s probably too complicated to go into right now. I’ll have my assistant send you the prospectus. From what I understand though, the whole thing hinges on the success of something called the “Semantic Web.” We did some Google searches and found some pretty negative commentary about it, though. My financial advisor thinks we should pass because too many people are saying it’s some kind of pipe dream. Remember how much I lost in the dot-com bust? We’re still pretty gun-shy over here, but I figured I’d call you first to see what you thought. What do you think of the Semantic Web?
Timothy: I think it’s the real deal. There’s definitely money to be made if you play your cards right. What did they tell you about it?
Angela: A lotta stuff about something called ‘metadata’, and how it’ll let everyone make better websites. Most of what they said went over my head. They said it’s the vision of the guy who invented the Internet.
Timothy: You mean the guy who invented the World Wide Web.
Angela: (laughs) If you say so. What’s the difference?
Timothy: The Web is just one of many things you can do on the Internet. There’s also email, and instant messenger, and a bunch of other things. They all use the Internet, which is like the plumbing that holds it all together. The Internet’s been around a lot longer than the Web. Most people first learned about the Internet when the Web became popular, so it’s a common mistake to confuse the two. And yes, the Semantic Web is an improvement on the first Web, led by the guy who invented the first Web, Tim Berners-Lee.
Angela: Well it sounds like I’m talking to the right person. Can we have lunch tomorrow? I need someone to teach me about this Semantic Web.
Timothy: Sure thing. See you tomorrow.