Face it, we’re all being disintermediated:
- Mothers are disintermediated by nannies, schools and now fathers.;
- Lawyers are disintermediated by legal forms, LegalZoom and Legal Advantage;
- Big law firms are being disintermediated by small law firms;
- Programmers are being disintermediated by “platforms;”
- Large consulting firms are disintermediated by smaller consulting firms;
- Strategy consulting firms are being disintermediated by their alums in businesses such as the Business Talent Group;
- Web designers are being disintermediated by WordPress;
- Accountants are being disintermediated by QuickBooks and TurboTax;
- The high end of the nail salon market is being disintermediated by home gel applications and UV lamps;
- Universities are being disintermediated by EdX, Singularity University, Udacity.com, edX, Meetup.com;
- Cable TV is being disintermediated by the internet;
- The telephone company was disintermediated by VOIP. In fact, all our voice networks are now IP-based. All the easier for the NSA to operate.
I, like you, am both an intermediator and intermediatee. I’m being disintermediated by the world wide web. Today, more than ever, you don’t need an investment banker to raise capital or sell your company.
Information is at everyone’s fingertips. One just has to know where to find it, now how to do the task, and be willing to spend the time to do the task oneself. If one is low on funds, there is no option. You do it yourself.
Any service that depends on the intellectual property and judgment of a human being is going to be very expensive. Sometimes the cost will be prohibitively so. I am as frustrated as the potential client. I’ll talk with potential clients who clearly need my assistance—but they can’t afford to pay me.
One can get quite depressed and ask “What’s the point?” But that is the point. I was taken aback by a WSJ video featuring Vivek Wadwha of Singularity University, formerly at Stanford Business School. He claims to have been a pessimist, two to three years ago: hunger, pollution, water, resources, disease, healthcare, food all are huge problems. Now he claims to be a huge optimist—“one of the biggest ones out there.” To quote him: “Things are moving a lot faster than we understand. As human beings, we think linearly; we’ve become pessimistic. However, technology is advancing exponentially.”
Wadhwa claims that one can now build a world-changing company for 10’s of thousands of dollars. He talks about advances in computing: Today’s smartphones have more computing power than existed in the world 40 to 60 years ago. The same advances that have happened in computing are now occurring in media, medicine, artificial intelligence, robotics and nanotechnology. It’s even more powerful when one combines the two technologies: for example medicine plus computing yielding gene sequencing machines.
With computing power that is readily available, big changes can happen. But, who has the capability to harness this computing power? Someone who has the knowledge to ask the right question and then solve the puzzle.
Think about it, you can’t disintermediate if you don’t have the knowledge. That is where learning, and the ability to learn comes in. One can no longer say “I don’t know how to do that.” That will no longer suffice as an answer. One is now expected to get the answer and figure it out.
So yes, we’re all being disintermediated, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to fold up the tent, and give up. Rather, we have to design a new tent, or maybe design and build a house, one that works for us. No one said it would be easy.
Content researched, edited and reviewed on a best efforts basis.
We make no claim to being comprehensive in our review, as the contents are companies and topics we, ourselves, find of interest.
This newsletter is currently being proofed by Dave Henshaw, which is much appreciated. Dave is my USMS swimming lane mate, and Granite State Penguin team-mate. He is retired from MIT, where he used to produce and proof their annual financial report. Exactly what we need.