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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Ok Entrepreneurs, Time to Step Up

Comments (33)

Of all the macro events happening in the world, there are two occurring in the US right now that seem to be dominating most people’s thinking: (1) the US election and (2) the credit crisis (or whatever it’s being called today). 

While I don’t watch TV news (and therefore get to miss out on all the talking heads on CNBC and CNN) I do read extensively online, especially about startups, software / Internet technology, and venture capital.  Most of my general business news is either via headlines (once a day in the morning when I scan several newspapers), alerts (whatever WSJ, CNN, and NYT alerts send out during the day or tidbits my friends put on twitter), and business magazines (Forbes, Fortune, BusinessWeek).  The business magazines are usually already two weeks old by the time I get to them (in the bathroom) and they lag the actual events by another week or two.

So – I get a nice mix of current sentiment (via headlines and alerts), two to four week old stories (via magazines), useful industry information, and a small mix of random stuff, without getting sucked into the day by day, play by play endless noise, chatter, and punditry.  While this isn’t a pure or organized stream of information, I’ve found the tempo enables me to stay "informed enough" without being distracted.

Since I returned from my Q3 vacation two weeks ago, each day seems to bring more bad news and overall negative sentiment.  In the last week I’ve started to notice a bunch of doom and gloom among entrepreneurs, especially high profile ones.  In most cases, these aren’t cautious warnings, or suggestions of behavior modification, or real analysis of what’s going on.  Rather, it’s an emotional response which is starting to creep into the zeitgeist of an otherwise typically optimistic set of people.

If you remember that Fear Is The Mindkiller you’ll quickly realize the correlation between the general commentary (the sky is falling, the world financial markets are collapsing, all your money will disappear, things will never be the same) and the notion of "killing your mind."

My recommendation to all of you entrepreneurs out there is to get off the negative sentiment treadmill, step up, and lead.  The people working for your company are likely confused, concerned, and overwhelmed with all the noise in the system.   In the near term, building your business will likely be more challenging on a number of dimensions.  So what – that’s the normal cycle of business.  You don’t need to be a blind optimist and spout happy talk, but you do need to have a clear sense of purpose and goals for your company.  Leadership 101.

When I look back at the dotcom apocalypse that was 2000 – 2002, I realize some of the best companies I’ve ever been involved in were created during that time.  In the midst of this, I remember the endless stream of "the Internet is over" and "the information technology business in now a mature business and there will never be innovation again."  Yeah – whatever.

Get some exercise, take a shower, eat a good breakfast, and get out there and build a great business.

  • http://www.respondingtoopportunity.com josh

    Could not agree more. Create value everyday, not doodads, and you will survive to come around positioned to take full advantage of the coming upswing.

  • http://info.rvibe.com/blog/ Braydon

    While I am not a high-profile entrepreneur, this post really resonated with me. In the end, it takes willingness and leadership in tough times to make a difference. And if you don't take that leadership, either someone else will, or you will lose. It's definitely not an easy thing to do, but it sure is critical.

    • http://www.writewaydesigns.com Write Way Designs, I

      I agree! As they say, “if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem.” Everyone needs to take charge!

  • http://tmh176.googlepages.com Tom Hughes

    Hear, here. The economy binged on the empty calories of financial engineering and “house prices can't go down” thinking. While that's being sweated out, the resources to build the next great businesses will be affordable.

  • Steve Ireland

    During each down-swing the most recent batch of “new comers”, sweater vests et all all seem to disappear to some secret place. This reduces noise across all channels making it easier for capable people with good ideas to have intelligent conversations. Entrepreneurs that are passionate and resourceful do better in this environment because they don't need to “run and shout” to be heard.

    It's also a great opportunity to focus inside yourself and your company instead of out at your industry (where there's really nothing to look at). Now you have time to slow down a bit to take your customers out for a drink and wife to a movie.

    Now is the best time to get together with cool people, think, experiment and develop. When things pick up then it's time to sell and grow. What are you doing today to be first in line at the next party (hint-hint)?

    – An addicted Entrepreneur

  • sigmawaite

    The 'news' you are talking about is heavily from Washington, DC, right?

    Okay, remember: “Washington is Hollywood for ugly people.”.

    So, it's another version of Hollywood. Instead of fan and celebrity magazines, they have the TV 'news'.

    As in Hollywood, they like 'stories', and these are by people who liked Beowulf, Chaucer, morality plays, etc. Beowulf was about some big monster, right? The newsies give us as many big, hairy, scary monsters as they can find.

    Morality plays? Yup: Look for scandal, greed, sin, corruption.

    Real information? That wasn't in Beowulf, Chaucer, and the morality plays and is not in the news.

    Should we just laugh at it? We can laugh, but it's serious. My long time view is that citizens need solid information and the news based on 'stories' as in Beowulf and the morality plays instead of solid information misleads the citizens and, thus, is the worst problem facing civilization.

    E.g., the 1929 crash caused the Great Depression which caused WWII which killed maybe 100 million people. The current crash, if not handled well, could lead to WWIII with total nuclear war and kill 1 billion people.

    The problem is, the newsies didn't clearly provide the information to let us see this coming.

    Hooray for the Internet, the best solution so far to this worst problem.

    Now with some millions of 'news channels', need a way for each person to find the news they will regard as “cool” (thanks, Henry) for each of their interests. Working on it.

  • http://www.freedomspeaks.com Jason Kiesel

    Great post. The sky is not falling as many would have you believe. I'm going about my business until my business goes away (which isn't any time soon). Media outlets love to fear monger. This entire crisis is, after all, predicated on human psychology.

    Jason Kiesel
    Founder & CEO
    http://www.freedomspeaks.com

  • http://steve-tarde.blogspot.com steve tarde

    I teach entrepreneurs how to write for CASH. I like your style.

  • http://www.rouleur.info Warrick Taylor

    Thanks Brad

    “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” – Ann Bradstreet 1655

  • Matthew Trifiro

    Please everybody, listen to Brad. Self-induced paralysis is our worst enemy. We need to remind ourselves, our investors, our customers, that value creation did not end because Lehman folded.

    And don't get me started about the old media hype machine on this issue.

    It is perhaps best put by Louis Rosetto, WIRED magazine's founder, in a letter he wrote to his kids: “Faced with fierce competition for… eyeballs, Old Media is hawking the apocalypse.”

    He goes on to channel John Perry Barlow and remind us that the purpose of media is “to sell our eyeballs to advertisers. And how better to do that — if your monopoly is being eroded by this newfangled Internet — than to scare the shit out of us? Then we're so paralyzed that we stick around through the commercials.”

    You can read the whole letter here:

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/16-06

  • Richard Stump

    I agree with your sentiment. I wrote a post recently that now is the time to start a new business. If you can find your niche and fight and claw to grow it when things seem terrible you will be well positioned to take off when things turn positive.

  • http://www.capturetheconversation.com James Clark

    I fully agree Brad. The best thing you can do for yourself, your employees and your family is to get up everyday and accomplish something. Even the smallest accomplishments move the needle forward.

    The biggest example of effects of negativity is what just happened with the Cubs. That grand slam by Loney in game one sent the negativity soaring in Wrigley. Negativity leads to anxiety which leads to failure. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy – some call it a curse.

    Brad as a Red Sox fan, I'm sure you can appreciate the analogy. In the Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS Johnny Damon stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam, and the fact is – it's been different ever since with two championships, and going to the ALCS this year.

    OK Entrepreneurs, Time to Step Up TO THE PLATE. Be the Johnny Damon, the James Loney.

    Stay healthy, stay focused and don't let the negative energy seep into the batter's box.

    Get in the mindset of “C'mon Meat, throw me that weak-ass shit!”

  • http://ePenang.PP.my NaS

    in the world, 75+ countries and increasing: November is for Global Entrepreneurship Week! Care to join us and let entrepreneurs take over the world (instead of just watching politicians talking down on each other)? http://unleashingideas.org

    Need all the support we can get!

  • Jared Still

    Outstanding advice and sentiment, Brad! Couldn't agree more…these are great economic times in the respect that they demand solid business execution and leadership, so those that capture that will gain market share and set the innovation curve! Amen!

  • SDC

    Great Post…Buffet says it best “Be fearful when others are greedy…and greedy when others are fearful!”

  • http://falseprecision.typepad.com/my_weblog/ Todd Vernon

    Being an entrepreneur by default means that every day you take about 10 punches. You won't succeed, its too hard, Google will kill you (regardless of business idea). You get used to the 10 punches. The current spiral into the economic abyss just arms people with a new punch to use on you. After a few weeks you will get used to that punch also and it won't get you down.

  • http://spellspace.blogspot.com tess

    During the .bom 2000 collapse, did all the “great” start-ups survive? and why did they not survive?

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Nope – there were plenty of “great startups” that failed. Maybe that means they weren’t great.

      • Charles

        I think by definition a great startup has to survive. You can have a great product or idea, great staff, great backing etc, but still fail. To be a great startup, it kind of implies you had all of the above at least in some measure.

  • http://entrepreneur-blog.os-cubed.com Lee Drake

    Brad,

    You pegged it correclty. Also – if you look at the last 10 years of history the current administration always seems to create a “crisis” just before elections. By sowing fear uncertainty and doubt into people's minds they make them less likely to want to change things in the middle of an emergency. I think – if you look at the general 12 month trailing averages – that we are on a downward curve, that is nearing the bottom of the dip, and will continue right back out the other side and back up the curve in a matter of time. You just have to wait for it, and in the meantime take advantage of the down economy by acquiring talent that is let go from other businesses, and smaller businesses that have great resources but don't have the operational wherewithall to survive the downturn.

  • http://www.janetfouts.com Janet Fouts

    Absolutely right. This is a time when the entrepreneurial spirit thrives. We survived the last crash and came out stronger and smarter and we'll do it again. When the bottom of the market hits entrepreneurs look up!

  • http://onlyonce.blogs.com Matt Blumberg

    Totally. But it's not just about spirit. It has to be about direct communication as well. Hold a meeting. Send a thoughtful email. My CFO and I just sent a long note to all explaining how this situation impacts the company, both directly and indirectly. I got more positive feedback about it than any other email to ALL I've sent out in 9 years.

  • http://www.thehighwaygirl.com thehighwaygirl

    The current economic state has actually given me a reason to be positive. It's definitely separating the men from the boys. Those who are in business for all the wrong reasons are falling away, leaving industries (music in particular) lean and filled mainly with people who truly want to change things for the better. Exercise, shower, breakfast, kick ass. Not always in that order. : )

  • http://blog.brand-yourself.com Trace Cohen

    Very interesting outlook. Now is the time that entrepreneurs are needed most! They are the leaders of tomorrow, with a vision to take us where we need to go. I believe it all starts with education, the students of today will be the ones in the work force soon, so it is our job to take the reins and push through.

  • http://www.marcellus.tv preetam mukherjee

    Money quote: “Get some exercise, take a shower, eat a good breakfast, and get out there and build a great business.”

    I think all of us, myself included, ought to think about every bit of that sentence deep and hard.
    Clarity of purpose, optimal health for optimal performance levels, “getting out there”, and BUILDing a GREAT(not good) BUSINESS(not adventure).

    Thanks, Mr. Feld. I had no idea who you were before I chanced upon your blog just now. But I totally dig the way you translate thoughts to words…among the most cohesive writings I've read in a long time.

  • http://www.magazineblu.com Kimberly Toms

    Bravo! In my 26 years of building businesses for others – and marketing for Microsoft, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, BP, Arco, USAF, USPS, and many more – I've learned that surviving in business is like a game of “Chicken” in your swimming pool: Success is derived by those who have a solid mix of 1)smart strategy, 2)optimistic energy, 3)a solid foundation, 4)foresight into potential pitfalls, and 5)mental staying power.

    So, lets all saddle up and focus on the opponent (the economy) with a long-term approach. If you have a true solution to a true market need, you will survive! Sure, you may have to get creative in cash flow, but buck up soldiers! When the going gets tough, real entrepreneurs have the most fun.

    Best wishes to all…you CAN make it happen.
    Kimberly Toms
    Nola Blue Media / Magazine BLU / MagazineBLU.com

  • Thomas

    Maybe if the VCs shared more of the pie with entrepreneurs and all of the employees at these start-ups that risk everything on one company, then they would get higher quality and more of them.
    So:
    Okay VCs, Time to Step Up.

  • http://vruz.tumblr.com vruz

    Actually I think you're both right and wrong, Brad.
    Entrepreneurs are typically optimistic, but that doesn't mean they have to be unrealistic.
    Leadership is in part about leading the way, when the way is blocked we have to think two and three times before embarking other people in our trip for fortune.

    Acknowledging reality in order to move forward and find a way out is the most optimistic thing one can ever do.
    Whether those thoughts should be expressed in a public blog, we may agree or disagree there, but my point is, precisely… there's no leadership without finding out, searching for and showing others the way forward.

    And that's what they're doing.

  • http://www.mylifestartingup.com Marc

    Kudos. I'm sick of the negativity being spewed here in the Valley. So what?! Now we actually have to build a REAL company. People should have been doing this anyway. Embrace the economy. I wrote about this as well: http://www.mylifestartingup.com

  • http://barfieldmanagement.com Chase Barfield

    Brad – I couldn't agree with you more. Fear, doom, and gloom does nothing but poison the mind and the spirit.

  • http://sanjaydattatri.blogspot.com Sanjay Dattatri

    Maybe you will like this video I made:
    http://sanjaydattatri.blogspot.com/2008/10/its-no

  • http://www.Juuble.com Samuel Diamond

    There is a difference between gloom and doom, and rationalizing how the market will affect the future of a company.

    This time around, you can't look at the internet structure, or look at the economy, and say ” Yea – whatever.”

    Although it is great motivation, people have to remember to have a good idea of just how the world works. It isn't even that hard to look beyond the fodder:

    1. Barrel was up $120. Business models couldn't survive. Manufacturing went up.
    2. Small letdown in growth; people didn't buy as much to pay for housing.
    3. Tightening credit as more people couldn't pay loans; gains sheet for companies based off loans.
    4. Every product imaginable becomes 2X more expensive ( Corn, oil, plastics, gas, cereal, fruits.). Multiple that by everything you buy for business or pleasure or sustaining.
    5. All of this killed the housing, where most of the bank money is at. People don't buy houses, and some can't afford it with the 50 dollar barrel lifestyle.
    6. Those people can't pay, and the banks can't survive.

    Now for the future:

    7. The spiraling will force a have vs. have-nots model of internet business.
    8. Certain things that were free from the ISP end will start withering away or become more expensive ( ie: Bandwidth caps ).
    9. Servers that handle sites will need more money for energy use. This will hurt some companies already struggling in the ad revenue dept.
    10. Companies will balkinize, breaking into smaller fragments as it becomes more of a concern to be a “leader” than to keep up with a crumbling revenue-dry network.
    11. Bigger companies will take advantage of the long-tail, buying the smaller companies or recreating business models and keeping them in-house ( ie: ESPN develops its own ad network, ties with parent company Disney ).
    12. Offline structures become more important, but a little precarious as there is much more tension due to the recession.

    I can go on and on, and I can be wrong, but I make sure I list the bad, then I can go about creating the good. Never say ” Yea – whatever.” to any forecast. Be a leader, but have a head on your shoulders. Alan Greenspan just apologized for doing the exact opposite of the latter.

  • http://juuble.com Samuel Diamond

    I would give a huge influence to Jared Diamond, and this man:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_J._Toynbee

  • Tom Hughes

    Hear, here. The economy binged on the empty calories of financial engineering and "house prices can't go down" thinking. While that's being sweated out, the resources to build the next great businesses will be affordable.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/steve_irel49311 steve_irel49311

    During each down-swing the most recent batch of "new comers", sweater vests et all all seem to disappear to some secret place. This reduces noise across all channels making it easier for capable people with good ideas to have intelligent conversations. Entrepreneurs that are passionate and resourceful do better in this environment because they don't need to "run and shout" to be heard.

    It's also a great opportunity to focus inside yourself and your company instead of out at your industry (where there's really nothing to look at). Now you have time to slow down a bit to take your customers out for a drink and wife to a movie.

    Now is the best time to get together with cool people, think, experiment and develop. When things pick up then it's time to sell and grow. What are you doing today to be first in line at the next party (hint-hint)?

    – An addicted Entrepreneur

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/richard_st59861 richard_st59861

    I agree with your sentiment. I wrote a post recently that now is the time to start a new business. If you can find your niche and fight and claw to grow it when things seem terrible you will be well positioned to take off when things turn positive.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/MatthewTrifiro MatthewTrifiro

    Please everybody, listen to Brad. Self-induced paralysis is our worst enemy. We need to remind ourselves, our investors, our customers, that value creation did not end because Lehman folded.

    And don't get me started about the old media hype machine on this issue.

    It is perhaps best put by Louis Rosetto, WIRED magazine's founder, in a letter he wrote to his kids: "Faced with fierce competition for… eyeballs, Old Media is hawking the apocalypse."

    He goes on to channel John Perry Barlow and remind us that the purpose of media is "to sell our eyeballs to advertisers. And how better to do that — if your monopoly is being eroded by this newfangled Internet — than to scare the shit out of us? Then we're so paralyzed that we stick around through the commercials."

    You can read the whole letter here:

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/16-06

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/sigmawaite sigmawaite

    The 'news' you are talking about is heavily from Washington, DC, right?

    Okay, remember: "Washington is Hollywood for ugly people.".

    So, it's another version of Hollywood. Instead of fan and celebrity magazines, they have the TV 'news'.

    As in Hollywood, they like 'stories', and these are by people who liked Beowulf, Chaucer, morality plays, etc. Beowulf was about some big monster, right? The newsies give us as many big, hairy, scary monsters as they can find.

    Morality plays? Yup: Look for scandal, greed, sin, corruption.

    Real information? That wasn't in Beowulf, Chaucer, and the morality plays and is not in the news.

    Should we just laugh at it? We can laugh, but it's serious. My long time view is that citizens need solid information and the news based on 'stories' as in Beowulf and the morality plays instead of solid information misleads the citizens and, thus, is the worst problem facing civilization.

    E.g., the 1929 crash caused the Great Depression which caused WWII which killed maybe 100 million people. The current crash, if not handled well, could lead to WWIII with total nuclear war and kill 1 billion people.

    The problem is, the newsies didn't clearly provide the information to let us see this coming.

    Hooray for the Internet, the best solution so far to this worst problem.

    Now with some millions of 'news channels', need a way for each person to find the news they will regard as "cool" (thanks, Henry) for each of their interests. Working on it.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jpmorgan jpmorgan

    Could not agree more. Create value everyday, not doodads, and you will survive to come around positioned to take full advantage of the coming upswing.

  • Warrick Taylor

    Thanks Brad

    "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome." – Ann Bradstreet 1655

  • SDC

    Great Post…Buffet says it best "Be fearful when others are greedy…and greedy when others are fearful!"

  • steve tarde

    I teach entrepreneurs how to write for CASH. I like your style.

  • James Clark

    I fully agree Brad. The best thing you can do for yourself, your employees and your family is to get up everyday and accomplish something. Even the smallest accomplishments move the needle forward.

    The biggest example of effects of negativity is what just happened with the Cubs. That grand slam by Loney in game one sent the negativity soaring in Wrigley. Negativity leads to anxiety which leads to failure. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy – some call it a curse.

    Brad as a Red Sox fan, I'm sure you can appreciate the analogy. In the Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS Johnny Damon stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam, and the fact is – it's been different ever since with two championships, and going to the ALCS this year.

    OK Entrepreneurs, Time to Step Up TO THE PLATE. Be the Johnny Damon, the James Loney.

    Stay healthy, stay focused and don't let the negative energy seep into the batter's box.

    Get in the mindset of "C'mon Meat, throw me that weak-ass shit!"

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/todd_vernon84 todd_vernon84

    Being an entrepreneur by default means that every day you take about 10 punches. You won't succeed, its too hard, Google will kill you (regardless of business idea). You get used to the 10 punches. The current spiral into the economic abyss just arms people with a new punch to use on you. After a few weeks you will get used to that punch also and it won't get you down.

  • Matt Blumberg

    Totally. But it's not just about spirit. It has to be about direct communication as well. Hold a meeting. Send a thoughtful email. My CFO and I just sent a long note to all explaining how this situation impacts the company, both directly and indirectly. I got more positive feedback about it than any other email to ALL I've sent out in 9 years.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Nope – there were plenty of “great startups” that failed. Maybe that means they weren’t great.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jared_stil28971 jared_stil28971

    Outstanding advice and sentiment, Brad! Couldn't agree more…these are great economic times in the respect that they demand solid business execution and leadership, so those that capture that will gain market share and set the innovation curve! Amen!

  • Charles

    I think by definition a great startup has to survive. You can have a great product or idea, great staff, great backing etc, but still fail. To be a great startup, it kind of implies you had all of the above at least in some measure.

  • Janet Fouts

    Absolutely right. This is a time when the entrepreneurial spirit thrives. We survived the last crash and came out stronger and smarter and we'll do it again. When the bottom of the market hits entrepreneurs look up!

  • Lee Drake

    Brad,

    You pegged it correclty. Also – if you look at the last 10 years of history the current administration always seems to create a "crisis" just before elections. By sowing fear uncertainty and doubt into people's minds they make them less likely to want to change things in the middle of an emergency. I think – if you look at the general 12 month trailing averages – that we are on a downward curve, that is nearing the bottom of the dip, and will continue right back out the other side and back up the curve in a matter of time. You just have to wait for it, and in the meantime take advantage of the down economy by acquiring talent that is let go from other businesses, and smaller businesses that have great resources but don't have the operational wherewithall to survive the downturn.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/thehighwaygirl thehighwaygirl

    The current economic state has actually given me a reason to be positive. It's definitely separating the men from the boys. Those who are in business for all the wrong reasons are falling away, leaving industries (music in particular) lean and filled mainly with people who truly want to change things for the better. Exercise, shower, breakfast, kick ass. Not always in that order. : )

  • preetam mukherjee

    Money quote: "Get some exercise, take a shower, eat a good breakfast, and get out there and build a great business."

    I think all of us, myself included, ought to think about every bit of that sentence deep and hard.
    Clarity of purpose, optimal health for optimal performance levels, "getting out there", and BUILDing a GREAT(not good) BUSINESS(not adventure).

    Thanks, Mr. Feld. I had no idea who you were before I chanced upon your blog just now. But I totally dig the way you translate thoughts to words…among the most cohesive writings I've read in a long time.

  • Kimberly Toms

    Bravo! In my 26 years of building businesses for others – and marketing for Microsoft, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, BP, Arco, USAF, USPS, and many more – I've learned that surviving in business is like a game of "Chicken" in your swimming pool: Success is derived by those who have a solid mix of 1)smart strategy, 2)optimistic energy, 3)a solid foundation, 4)foresight into potential pitfalls, and 5)mental staying power.

    So, lets all saddle up and focus on the opponent (the economy) with a long-term approach. If you have a true solution to a true market need, you will survive! Sure, you may have to get creative in cash flow, but buck up soldiers! When the going gets tough, real entrepreneurs have the most fun.

    Best wishes to all…you CAN make it happen.
    Kimberly Toms
    Nola Blue Media / Magazine BLU / MagazineBLU.com

  • Trace Cohen

    Very interesting outlook. Now is the time that entrepreneurs are needed most! They are the leaders of tomorrow, with a vision to take us where we need to go. I believe it all starts with education, the students of today will be the ones in the work force soon, so it is our job to take the reins and push through.

  • Thomas

    Maybe if the VCs shared more of the pie with entrepreneurs and all of the employees at these start-ups that risk everything on one company, then they would get higher quality and more of them.
    So:
    Okay VCs, Time to Step Up.

  • vruz

    Actually I think you're both right and wrong, Brad.
    Entrepreneurs are typically optimistic, but that doesn't mean they have to be unrealistic.
    Leadership is in part about leading the way, when the way is blocked we have to think two and three times before embarking other people in our trip for fortune.

    Acknowledging reality in order to move forward and find a way out is the most optimistic thing one can ever do.
    Whether those thoughts should be expressed in a public blog, we may agree or disagree there, but my point is, precisely… there's no leadership without finding out, searching for and showing others the way forward.

    And that's what they're doing.

  • Marc

    Kudos. I'm sick of the negativity being spewed here in the Valley. So what?! Now we actually have to build a REAL company. People should have been doing this anyway. Embrace the economy. I wrote about this as well: http://www.mylifestartingup.com

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chase_barf55451 chase_barf55451

    Brad – I couldn't agree with you more. Fear, doom, and gloom does nothing but poison the mind and the spirit.

  • Braydon

    While I am not a high-profile entrepreneur, this post really resonated with me. In the end, it takes willingness and leadership in tough times to make a difference. And if you don't take that leadership, either someone else will, or you will lose. It's definitely not an easy thing to do, but it sure is critical.

  • Sanjay Dattatri

    Maybe you will like this video I made:
    http://sanjaydattatri.blogspot.com/2008/10/its-no

  • Samuel Diamond

    There is a difference between gloom and doom, and rationalizing how the market will affect the future of a company.

    This time around, you can't look at the internet structure, or look at the economy, and say " Yea – whatever."

    Although it is great motivation, people have to remember to have a good idea of just how the world works. It isn't even that hard to look beyond the fodder:

    1. Barrel was up $120. Business models couldn't survive. Manufacturing went up.
    2. Small letdown in growth; people didn't buy as much to pay for housing.
    3. Tightening credit as more people couldn't pay loans; gains sheet for companies based off loans.
    4. Every product imaginable becomes 2X more expensive ( Corn, oil, plastics, gas, cereal, fruits.). Multiple that by everything you buy for business or pleasure or sustaining.
    5. All of this killed the housing, where most of the bank money is at. People don't buy houses, and some can't afford it with the 50 dollar barrel lifestyle.
    6. Those people can't pay, and the banks can't survive.

    Now for the future:

    7. The spiraling will force a have vs. have-nots model of internet business.
    8. Certain things that were free from the ISP end will start withering away or become more expensive ( ie: Bandwidth caps ).
    9. Servers that handle sites will need more money for energy use. This will hurt some companies already struggling in the ad revenue dept.
    10. Companies will balkinize, breaking into smaller fragments as it becomes more of a concern to be a "leader" than to keep up with a crumbling revenue-dry network.
    11. Bigger companies will take advantage of the long-tail, buying the smaller companies or recreating business models and keeping them in-house ( ie: ESPN develops its own ad network, ties with parent company Disney ).
    12. Offline structures become more important, but a little precarious as there is much more tension due to the recession.

    I can go on and on, and I can be wrong, but I make sure I list the bad, then I can go about creating the good. Never say " Yea – whatever." to any forecast. Be a leader, but have a head on your shoulders. Alan Greenspan just apologized for doing the exact opposite of the latter.

  • Write Way Designs, I

    I agree! As they say, "if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem." Everyone needs to take charge!

  • NaS

    in the world, 75+ countries and increasing: November is for Global Entrepreneurship Week! Care to join us and let entrepreneurs take over the world (instead of just watching politicians talking down on each other)? http://unleashingideas.org

    Need all the support we can get!

  • tess

    During the .bom 2000 collapse, did all the "great" start-ups survive? and why did they not survive?

  • Jason Kiesel

    Great post. The sky is not falling as many would have you believe. I'm going about my business until my business goes away (which isn't any time soon). Media outlets love to fear monger. This entire crisis is, after all, predicated on human psychology.

    Jason Kiesel
    Founder & CEO
    http://www.freedomspeaks.com

  • Samuel Diamond

    I would give a huge influence to Jared Diamond, and this man:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_J._Toynbee

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