When the Economy Goes South – Launch a Startup!

While it goes against the media, one of the best times to launch a startup is truly in down times.  Many top-notch employees are being laid off and can be obtained at well under market rates, materials are cheaper, office rents tank, everything all around becomes a better bargain.  Tom Siebel of Siebel Systems launched his company in 1993, when the economy was on a downswing, and he’s now one of the most weathly Americans.  It’s a scary time, but the most brazen entrepreneurs see opportunity – thus while the competition is shriveling up, the smart ones are making a run for it.  So while you’re worried about your job, you could be planning your next big break.  Boulder has all the resources right here; quit thinking about it and start executing!  The time is now!

About the Author:
With a couple of startups of my own (all in the meh category), I switched sides and have been supporting entrepreneurs for over 8 years now. I currently work for TechStars, love to travel, bike, and hang with friends and family.



  1. Sherry December 13, 2008

    Of the money we have seen thrown around thus far let me ask you this, that 168 billion that our country borrowed to give away to us in the form of an “economic stimulus package” …did it do a darn thing to create jobs or stimulate our economy. NO, nothing. And we borrowed the money from China. This past year the high cost of gas nearly destroyed our economy and society. More people lost jobs and homes as a direct result of that than any other factor in our history. Fannie and Freddie continue to get all the blame. Of all the homes I have seen lost in my area SW FL and believe me I have seen many, none were due to an adjustable mortgage. They were due to lack of work. Families went broke at the pump alone. Then added to that were increased electric rates FPL raised ours 16%. The high cost of fuel resulted in higher production and shipping costs that were passed on to the consumer, in most cases higher prices for smaller packaging. Consumers tightened their belts, cut back, went out to eat less or stopped totally. Drove around on tires that needed replacing longer, some even quit buying medicines they really need. Unfortunately cutting back and spending less results in even more layoffs. A real economical catch-22. And, as we are doing the happy dance around the lower prices at the pumps OPEC is planning to cut production to raise prices. They are even getting Russia in on the cutbacks. Oil is finite. We have used up the easy to get to reserves already. It will run out one day. We have so much available to us. Solar and Wind are free sources of energy. Of course to get the harnessing process set up is somewhat costly it is still free energy. It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car. The electricity to charge the car could be generated by solar or wind at least in part and in most cases totally. Why not use some of these billions to promote the set up of alternative energy projects on a national level? Give tax breaks and incentives to promote this. We could create clean cheap electricity, create millions of BADLY needed new green collar jobs, and most importantly get out from under our dependence on foreign oil. We should never allow anyone to have that much control over us as a nation. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and suv’s instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. What a powerful resources we have neglected. Jeff Wilson has a profound new book out called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. I suggest anyone interested in this subject read this book. http://www.themanhattanprojectof2009.com

  2. Matt Makowski December 15, 2008

    Hi Nicole,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. As a real estate consultant for the past 22 years, I see real estate investments in general follow that pattern you have laid out in your blog. Baron de Rothchild’s famous quote, “Buy when blood is running in the streets.”, while presenting a somewhat grizzly image, it’s the contrarian theory of doing the opposite of the mainstream. I will use some of what you’ve expressed in my own blog. Let’s keep Boulder vibrant!
    Keep well, healthy and happy,

  3. Andrew Hyde December 15, 2008

    I’ve talked to a few startups that are thriving in the downturn.

    There is some great talent out there to bootstrap something.

  4. Micah December 18, 2008

    Scott Shane recently published a book called “The Illusions of Entrepreneurship” in which he shows that higher unemployment rates lead to more start-ups. It’s all about opportunity cost.

  5. Nicole Glaros December 19, 2008

    It’s a great time – truly. I’m friends with a local investor and she says that she always buys when everyone sells, and always sells when everyone buys. I think this is like that. When everyone else is running scared and keeping every penny in their wallets, we go outside our comfort zones and try something crazy like start a business. I’d love to hear what you are working on too – send me an email and let me know. Maybe we’ll write about it here!

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