The more I consider gatejumping, which we discuss in Trust Agents, the more compelling I find the idea.
Gatejumpers, for the record, are those who skip past useless middle steps (ie, gates) to get to their goals faster.
The reason I’m so excited about a possible Apple tablet, for example, is because a big player coming into this industry can wipe out middlemen. So, in the case of academic textbooks, which it seems Apple wants to get involved in, this means less debt for the average student.
Less Debt = More Freedom
Technological progress tends to cut out middlemen and leaves those who gain access to it better off (wealthier, healthier, or otherwise).
But those who profit protect their position at all costs. In the case of American healthcare, insurance companies will go to any length to protect current and future profits. They will do this using any means they have access to, since their survival may be at stake.
Middlemen benefit from the status quo, where buyers and sellers are divided. Those who protect the status quo prevent the liberation of resources and therefore, by definition, inhibit progress.
Consider Craigslist v. classified ads. Technology enabled easier connection, removing the need for buyers to pay for connection to sellers. As a result, billions of dollars are liberated and put back into the hands of people. They can then use this to better their lives in whatever way they see fit.
So, just as serfs and slaves have (largely) been replaced by robots, enabling a higher quality of life for all, many middlemen will be replaced by the social network’s ability to connect for free. This can happen because the social graph lays bare who has access to whom. We can then get to who we need, directly.
This is why LinkedIn is so powerful. As Cluetrain said ten years ago, hyperlinks subvert hierarchy. They do so by facilitating connections.
The job of the middleman is to connect two parties– real estate agents, for example, connect buyers/sellers to restricted information. But as technological progress occurs, this job becomes easier and easier– though fees will not go down.
The job of the gatejumper is to connect these same two parties without the need for the middleman. If they can create a technology that does this, all of humanity can profit… but only if the middleman can be wiped out.
The middleman will protect his position with past, current, and future profits.
Wiping out middlemen, when possible, then becomes a moral imperative.
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