Some things we used to do for free, without the need for a middle-person:
Talk to each other on the way home from school
Eat dinner together
Pay for stuff
Enjoy a view of the Thames from the Festival Hall
Hail a cab
Go on a date
In some cases a middle-person can add tremendous value – mediating a dispute instead of going to court for example.
All too often though, that new thing we’re all dying to try is just a mechanism for taking a cut of the value others have created.