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Response: Obvious to Him . . . Perhaps?


I was watching Euan Semple's video of his DO lecture, and at one stage he spoke about middle managers as intermediaries, and their potential for extinction as social media began to disintermediate them as it begins to permeate enterprise consciousness. Very briefly, he made what I think is an important distinction, one which is often overlooked in this type of conversation: there are two types of intermediary – "synthesisers" and "gatekeepers".

Synthesisers offer value as integrators, bridgebuilders, hubs and filters – they link people to other people, link people to information, and help make sense of information flow. This value will become more important, not less. These middle management incumbents will have the best chance of survival (they will still be subject to "shotgun" redundancies actioned by senior management with eyes on numbers rather than value, so they're not immune to the threat) as information flows increasingly become more important than information stores.

Gatekeepers, on the other hand, only offer interruptions to information flow, and attempt to hoard, rather than share, information. These will be most threatened by social media behind the firewall, and most likely to be disrupted by information flow.