We usually think of all the power belonging to people at the top. But some of the most powerful and prosperous positions in today’s economy are hidden in plain sight: in the middle. Middlemen—the women and men who serve as true connectors in today’s business world—have great power, but often don’t recognize the untapped potential of their pivotal position. In this talk, Marina Krakovsky shows six ways to own the power in the middle, which leads to more influence, more opportunity, and ultimately a better career.
Today’s hyper-connected Age of the Internet makes the role of middleman more prevalent than ever. From appliance flippers on Craigslist and PowerSellers on eBay to Internet-enabled middleman businesses like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, and ZocDoc (and the many venture capitalists who fund them), middlemen thrive in the modern economy. Krakovsky shatters old stigmas about middlemen of yesteryear, explaining why some middlemen have disappeared while many others have gained in importance. She offers clear suggestions about what today’s businesses must do to make technological progress work for them, not against them.
Marina Krakovsky is the author of The Middleman Economy: How Brokers, Agents, Dealers, and Everyday Matchmakers Create Value and Profit (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015). She writes about ideas in the social sciences, particularly new research in psychology, sociology, and economics. Her work has appeared in Discover, the New York Times Magazine, Scientific American and Scientific American Mind, O, The Oprah Magazine, Psychology Today, Slate, Stanford Magazine, the Washington Post, Wired, and other publications. She and economist Kay-Yut Chen are co-authors of Secrets of the Moneylab: How Behavioral Economics Can Improve Your Business (Portfolio/Penguin, 2010). Marina graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.