Interesting post, Eric. I’ve been writing about similar topics from the angle of automation. I’m having fun thinking ahead to a future where every task that possibly can be automated is to see what changes in people’s work and life, and tech-enabled middlemen are definitely a part of that evolution. I see TEM as service-based automation. AI is then automating tasks for the human middlemen, covering more and more of the work as the tech advances.
One key piece of this is how these companies treat their employees. By obscuring complexity around logistics and tasks to create simple consumer experiences, service-based products (Washio, Uber, DoorDash, Q) minimize the visibility of workers. It will be curious to see how that plays out in the overall job market. Same goes for partners of companies like M, Operator, and Magic where the consumer doesn’t care about the details as long as they get the end result they desire. It’s like turning other companies into APIs or something (whether they want that or not!)