Don’t Quit that Job Just Yet

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Photo by Egan Show

The economy has everyone shaky, even those in the web space who have been largely unaffected, so far, by the ups and downs in the market. The Web market is largely filled by companies who have, at best, private equity via venture capital or angel funding, or they simply are bootstrapping and don’t have any outside investment.

Times are tight, but even in the VC-stage where a company might have anywhere between a million dollars in investment capital to $35M or more, the money really isn’t that big in the grand scheme of thing and the funding is privately held. Mostly.

Here in Baltimore, VC money flows toward Biotech companies where significantly higher investments are made in comparison to small investments in the web space. Obviously, biotech has a higher overhead when it comes to research facilities, labs, expensive chemicals and doctoral employees. Web startups deal with much smaller costs like commodity priced hardware, and much cheaper salaries. Again, by comparison. Biotech is drying up, but web investments continue to happen.

However, just in the last three days, at least three people I know in the web space have lost their jobs due to the slowing economy. We’ll probably see more of it as well. eBay, who is admittedly a public company and outside the realm of the “typical” web company, just announced a 10% reduction in their workforce. That’s not going to be the end.

The worst time to try to change jobs is right now. If you are able to get a great job, you’re going to be subject to a last in, first out layoff policy. It’s likely anyway. Nothing is ever guaranteed.

If you’re independent, you may very well encounter a slowdown in business (so I hope you’ve saved!), but you probably aren’t going to fire yourself. Now would not be the time to start that practice.

Conflicting recommendations exist. Some recommend that work is going to be hard to come by in an entrepreneurs world, so flee for stability and medical benefits. The other side says, as I do, that work is going to be hard to find and if you get it, you’re going to be far from stable.

Be very careful how you proceed. Make sure you have a backup plan. Try not to panic. Hunker down for the long-haul and do what you can. Don’t let the economy frighten you but instead, lean on your strengths and make money how you can. It’s going to be tough for everyone, myself included, but there will always be a demand for quality people in essential positions.

If you’re in a stable “day job”, I would not recommend quitting now to go the entrepreneurial route. It’s going to be tough going. However, if you’re already there, stay there and kick some butt. It will be slow. Times will get tough. But you can survive!

Technosailor Venture Files — Hello World!

It was a fateful moment when I learned Aaron was looking for an entrepreneurship blogger. Pumped up after a day-full of Podcamp/Searchcamp Philly — drinking from the yet another firehose — I made the promise to myself: it was time to share my 20+ years as an entrepreneur. Blog I must.

And lo! A light shone in the heavens. Okay, maybe it was just a tweet — but here before me was the springboard to blog stardom: love him or hate him, Aaron’s a social media playa . . . and it just made more sense to hitch my wagon to Technosailor than trying to build from scratch.

So what can you expect from me? Experiences — good and bad — in funding, growing, staffing, powering up. . . and winding down . . . startups. Thrill of victory and agony of defeat, all that. I’ll write about the DC startup scene (although my flying radius extends to New York, and occasionally Silicon Valley). And about events (like Podcamp) that I attend. And, as appropriate, I’ll relate some real-time experiences with my current [stealthy] startup, CHALLENJ (though I promised Aaron I wouldn’t shill).

And maybe the occasional rant — about the self-obsessed San Francisco startup scene (what — you’re missing TechCrunch 500″) . . . lawyers . . . and bloviating CEOs, VCs, and other tech ego-trippers lacking the humility gene.

My first co-founder used to say, “I’d rather be lucky than smart.” (Then, coming from a megalomaniac hell-bent on global domination, the words didn’t exactly ring true.) The point is, a heckuva lot of what we entrepreneurs have to confront is neither predictable nor under our control. Still, we prefer it this way.

My hope is that some pearls appear in forthcoming posts that will help you navigate the shoals of murky startup waters. (Warning: more metaphors ahead.)

Hello [brave new entrepreneurs'] World!

Introducing Ray Capece

I want to take a moment to introduce Ray Capece, the new editor of Venture Files. The other day, I noted that Steve Fisher, who founded and really pushed Venture Files, has moved on to other things. Notably, he is one of the voices of Solutions are Power by Network Solutions.

Ray contacted me after my post the other day, and he has agreed to step in to the Venture Files editorial role. Ray comes to us with over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience having had multiple startups, some that have succeeded and others that have failed. His successes include an IPO and $30M in venture capital raised over the years. He has also gone through Chapter 11 bankruptcies and had other failures.

He is also an experienced journalist having worked for several years with Electronics magazine.

He is the perfect candidate for this job. Tomorrow morning, he will introduce himself here at Technosailor.com. Join me in welcoming him to the family.