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Why Gatejumping is Vital

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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So, just as serfs and slaves have (largely) been replaced by robots, enabling a higher quality of life for all, many middlemen will be replaced by the social network’s ability to connect for free.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.

To Conclude

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.

Makes sense?

* Filed by Julien at 1:41 pm under political


Hi, I’m Julien Smith. I'm the founder and CEO of Breather.

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4 Responses to “Why Gatejumping is Vital”

  1. Michael Bigger Says:

    Agreed, but don’t forget Amazon with the Kindle. Now if we could only jump the Canadian Wireless Gates, maybe Canadians could get book delivered on Kindle.

  2. Whitney Says:

    There’s an art to know which gates, hurdles or mountains we need to climb, because we need the gifts and lessons we learn on those journeys, and which ones are needless impediments to progress.

    Yes, you can learn as much as you ever need to on your own, if you are motivated to acquire that knowledge. But sometimes you need the structure and steps set out by someone who has already tread that path. For example, I’ve tried a bunch of times to get in shape on my own; working with a trainer and having her help guide me on this path works better for me, because I don’t have enough specialized knowledge of the right steps or where to locate all the information on my own. I will learn and ask questions along the path, but this mentorship is crucial to get me to where I need to go, as efficiently as possible.
    Alot of us on the web have figured out ways to get to where we want to be, but since so much of what we do “feels” independent- typing away at our keyboard, not having classroom experiences to learn this stuff- I think sometimes we forget that we have all helped mentor each other along this path as well. We’re in a school without walls, without formal texts, but it’s as much an education as I’ve ever received in formal education.
    That said, I wish I had some additional hard core skills built up along the way; the last time I did any serious programming was back in the days of BASIC (yes, you can laugh now) so I know I could learn HTML and CSS better than my at best rudimentary knowledge, but now, slowing down to acquire those skills seems more difficult than doing what I do and hiring that stuff out to others for whom that is a special skill.
    Part of it is we can be generalists in many areas and specialists with real depth and breadth of knowledge in fewer areas, and we have to learn when to partner with others to help accelerate our path forward. Getting to the right person is great, but we need to have the skills and knowledge in place to leverage that opportunity once we arrive.
    I am a huge believer in gate jumping and questioning the purposes of the gates, but I also know you sometimes have to walk before you can run, metaphorically as well in the Couch to 5K sense.

    Traditional credentials like university degrees are like insurance at this point; they are evidence of having traveled a certain path, having a baseline level of knowledge and experience, and the world at large tends to respect that. For example, most people in high public office have at least one college degree, if not graduate degrees. I somehow doubt we’ll be electing a President in the States any time soon who doesn’t have a college degree.

    That doesn’t mean that the path to your own personal success requires formal education in addition or in lieu of experience- it’s the mix that leads to the best outcomes. And it depends on your profession as well- I certainly don’t want to be operated on by a neurosurgeon who took all his surgical skill training through twitter.

  3. Niall Harbison Says:

    Ans this is why social media is making such a difference at the moment because it is wiping out so many gatekeepers. Just look at newspapers and print media in general, they used to control all the news and then we started reporting it ourselves and cut them out completely, same with the music industry.

  4. Itamar Rogel Says:

    Agreed, and the interesting thing is that middlemen are not always so easy to identify. Most often, these middlemen are engaged in value-adding activities as well. It’s shifts in technology and in thinking that turn an unsuspecting organization from a self-perceived “value creator” to just a … middleman :-)

    Some random examples – book publishing houses. Or TV networks, in their role as content aggregators (not as producers): TV programming, once an important value-creating activity, is slowly (?) turning into a simple middleman act, as more and more people want to get their content by themselves, and get it directly.

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