I think that there’s a big future in that sort of thing. Lots of people like the idea of being self-employed, and technology makes that easier in all sorts of ways. But while you may not want to work for Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss, you probably would want Dilbert’s health plan. In a way, sites like eBay and Amazon are disintermediating the pointy-haired boss, and the other layers that sit between people who do work, and the actual customers – just as music sites like GarageBand.com are disintermediating the record companies (and producers and A&R men) who sit between the musicians and their audiences.
But they’re also re-intermediating, by putting themselves in that role. To the extent that they’re doing things that traditional companies used to do – like dickering with health insurance companies, and providing a trusted reputation that makes customers feel better about dealing with strangers they’ll never meet – they’re filling that niche, although in a very different way, and one that will have very different implications for the economy, and for employment.
by Jeff Jarvis