"Middleman" is a term usually used in a negative sense--"Eliminate the middleman," for example. But for Vijay Malik, being a middleman is nothing but good news.
Malik is an inventor whose Kansas City, Missouri, company, Max Space Inc., currently has seven products on the market. What makes him different from most inventors is that he acts as a middleman for the concepts he comes up with. He enlists one company to manufacture the product and another to sell it. Rather than just licensing the idea to another company, which can be difficult, Malik retains control of his concepts. He makes more money than he would with licensing agreements and keeps the cost of introducing new products low. In effect, he's a virtual entrepreneur, creating the concept and getting others to execute it for him.
Don Debelak (email@example.com) is a new-business marketing consultant who has introduced new products for more than 20 years. He is the author of Bringing Your Product to Market (John Wiley & Sons, $19.95, 800-225-5945).