As everyone is aware, the global economic downturn is upon us and we’re all standing around trying to figure out what this means for all of us — especially us startups. I hope nobody is living in a bubble and believes we’re at the bottom and it can’t get much worse. My prediction, and plenty of others, is that it’s going to get much, much worse and last a lot longer than we can imagine. Maybe decades at this point, although that’s even hard to fathom.
The public markets are going to take a really bad beating and many companies, even companies with fairly strong balance sheets and business fundamentals, could find themselves in terrible terriority - either by a takeover or massive layoffs and cost reductions.
All-in-all, I do believe that this is a necessary cycle - part of the normal cycle of things. If you look at the chart for the past 30 years, we’ve been on the up and up for a long time. An overall correction is due.
I also believe that a large portion of the spiral is psychological. Nonetheless, the spiral will spin out of control for a good bit of time and we all need to be prepared. As a startup, you’ve got some really, really tough choices to make. Some are obvious, some are not so obvious. My advice would be to think long and hard about survival, forget everything you thought you knew a week ago and assume you’re going to have to get heads down and grunt through this. Even well funded startups are going to be in big trouble soon if they’re not careful. All your models, your predictions, yours forecasts and best guesses are gone. Throw them out and assume ZERO.
Jeff Haynie, who's company Appcelerator just raised its series A, talks about startup survival during the meltdown.