Friday 27 February 2009

Gartner Economic Downturn Briefing - Part 2

Continuing on from yesterdays post; the sessions reinforced to me how little of the core Gartner content is aimed at web companies. Almost all yesterday's stuff was only really relevant to 10,000 seat corporate enterprises. I've worked in several big companies before, and the internal "business process support" technical challenges they face are very different to our external product-led technical challenges. We also don't tend to have such epic workforces and supply chains, we tend to be pretty lightweight and entrepreneurial by comparison.

Back on track - the economic downturn. It's kind of uncomfortable to think about the upside of something that is affecting so many so negatively, however we're well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that are coming to the surface.

With a battening-down-the-hatches mentality, people are preparing for the worst. Sites like Fool and Lovemoney pick up as we try to get as many money-saving tips as we can. The first preventative action we're likely to take is reviewing utilities and other basic household expenses, and sites like Gocompare and Moneysupermarket see a lot more visitors.

On top of this, there are a whole slew of creative new ideas starting to come through, all predicated on our current need to squeeze a little more value out of things we otherwise tolerated waste in.

At the worst end of the scale, people are being made redundant. Again this is a terrible tragedy affecting people I know, and it feels unfair to be thinking about the opportunity at a time like this. Nonetheless, the internet is now the de facto tool of choice for finding your next role, and this means more actives on Jobserve and Monster. Whether you've been affected yet or not, it is now more important than ever to get an up-to-date profile out there and build up strength in your network (before you need it). Off we go to the professional social networking sites like Plaxo and Linkedin.

Lining my own pockets for a moment, online gaming and gambling is fairly recession-resilient, but even simple ad-supported business models can do OK. You're still turning page views and actives into revenue, and if you're providing the service or content that's currently in demand, then that's not insurmountable in any times.

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