A decade of disintermediation

Dave Winer quotes a piece by Scott Karp: “But what happens if big company brands realize that they no longer need a media middleman to connect with consumers?” Well, forget the ‘if’. Some of us already did realise – a decade ago.

I was lucky enough to begin my career in new media with a ‘big company brand’: namely, Her Britannic Majesty’s Government, and specifically its Diplomatic Service. Think of it as a big company brand, backed by nuclear weapons. 🙂 As far back as 1996 (or thereabouts), I remember giving presentations to diplomats heading overseas to do press and communication work, in which I would describe how the internet would ‘cut out the middle man’ (my exact words) in terms of getting political messages from government to government.

Working in government actually does have certain advantages. There’s no (direct) pressure over commercial targets, or cashflow. And with virtually all the material from UK government sources being Crown Copyright – allowing (nearly) unlimited re-use – we didn’t have the same psychological or financial hurdles to overcome. ‘Let’s get it out there.’ And we did.

So, as one might say: bing. A full ten years ago. Oh yeah, and remind me to tell the story one day of how I (co-)invented blogging back in 1998.