In the late 16th century, a medical student in the Italian city of Pisa observed a swinging chandelier with interest. Later, after scrutinizing a collection of chandeliers of all shapes and sizes arcing from left to right the student, one Galileo Galilei, concluded that whatever their form or size, chandeliers take roughly the same time to complete one arc.
Galileo's subsequent experiments led to theories that rocked the prevalent school of thought in Europe at the time – namely that the universe revolved around the Earth.
Of all the shifts and changes that the coming year will bring, I suspect that 2013 will be looked back on as the year that marked the Death of the Gatekeeper. Known technically as 'disintermediation', recent years have seen the viability and necessity of middlemen significantly eroded – an erosion that will gather pace in the coming 12 months.
From travel agents to financial planners and stockbrokers, modern technologies and the Internet in particular have seen a profound change in the nature of distribution. The gates have been blown wide open – consumers can now connect directly with service providers and have access to ample information with which they can make intelligent buying decisions.