Thursday, January 24, 2008

Recession creates opportunity - Part 1

No doubt it's a little overdue, but they're finally using the 'R' word.

There's an old saying "Recession is when your neighbor loses his job, depression is when you lose yours". I'm not sure if that's true anymore (but it's still a 'keeper').

I feel like we're in a replay of the 'bubble burst' of 2000 when I read or listen to the analysts on Wall Street and/or see who is in Davos at the World Economic Summit right now. It's a really creepy mix. There's simply no doubt that more than 25% of the people there will have absolutely no impact on the economy in the coming years. There's a few bloggers and Web 2.0 people. Let's hope that's a big positive. We'll see if the stories of told for personal gain, or overall good.

The US economy has been driven, in large part, for almost a decade, by mergers and acquisitions. Wall Street gets real nervous when that activity slows. I'm not against M & A at all. It's part of the system and sometimes creates some new and exciting companies (or 'rescues' others).

The mortgage mess is just part of the problem.

Currently, it's the American consumer that drives the economy. The pundits will have you believe the recession is because they're being cautious.

The fact is that many of the baby boomers and their kids, the largest portion of the of the 'consuming public' ... are broke!. Many of their parents were laid off (by M&A) just before their retirement, and the kids are paying off huge college loans!


We got a huge rate cut by the fed. The markets reacted 'a little', but not a whole lot. Emergency cut? Did it put money in your pocket? It slowed or temporarily stopped the blood bath in the world markets. The reality is the fed could cut rates again on January 30 at the FOMC meeting and the same thing will happen.

It's not enough.

The middle class needs CASH. The currently proposal in congress is a 'start' but 500 bucks maybe just just enough to pay off a credit card. I personally can't stand subsidies of any kind but I don't see any other way?

This isn't gloom and doom. It's an example of why blogs are so important. It's an example of how you, maybe for the first time in history, can and should be part of the dialog. There were much uglier economic times in history. There were a few 'great leaders' that ultimately fixed it. This 'could' be a blip on the radar screen. You have a voice. The college gang knows what I'm talking about.

Buy Grandma a computer so she can tell her story, and our politicians, corporate executives, and other decision makers finally 'get it'?

I'm an optimist by nature but we can't underestimate what's going on right now.

Stop blaming 'the war'. Start blaming blatant reliance on OIL. Who missed this?
Some things, like the hyper speed at which we became 'a world economy', were simply unpredictable.

Most importantly, whether you believe it or not, your voice CAN be heard. I found that out when I moved to rural America. Call your representatives on THE PHONE. Tell them your story. If they hear enough of them, they might actually break out of the 'political bubble' and realize what's really going on. If they already see the writing, you may force their hand?

I don't like when people get ripped-off whether it's within our 'search marketing / SEO / SEM space', or on Wall Street. If you have time, and hold stocks, attend a stockholder meeting. Watch the insider trades. Question them.

Companies can still be profitable and retain honor and integrity.

There's a lot of them that aren't. They're doing 'whatever it takes' to keep the stock price up and to pacify the fund managers on Wall Street.

There will always be good guys and bad guys. When times get tough, the bad guys appear like a plague. That simply makes things worse. We'll look at that in Part 2 from a search marketing perspective.

There's still lots of entrepreneurial opportunity, recession or not. In 'our space', we see new start-ups every day and existing ones scoring nice amounts of venture capital. If these companies create a solid 'corporate culture' (Google, again, being a great example), they may very well succeed without be creepy or doing crazy things that hurt people and ultimately hurt the overall economy.

While I've been an outspoken proponent of an ongoing dialog in the search marketing space in recent months, this issue is a 'little' larger.

I've never said this before but if you think I'm right, take 10 seconds and send this piece to Mixx, Blogrunner (NY Times), StumbleUpon, Digg, Google Shared Reader, or wherever you're comfortable. I honestly don't care if my name is on it or not. (I simply can't moderate any type of forum right now ...but don't mind being an instigator :).

Grass roots has worked before and it can work again. There's a lot of people out there right now that need our help.

Web 2.0 has provided us the greatest opportunity in history to speak out. Let's use it for everyone's good (and not just our own personal gain).

Update: As most of you know, I rarely get political in this blog and although I don't think this piece really had a political spinn, it appears the house and senate at this hour are close to a deal which makes sense. We'll see. Thanks for the notes from a few of you. I sincerely felt it was important but didn't expect action this soon.