There is no doubt whatsoever that the world around us is changing.  A lot.  The world economy is suffering and teetering on the brink of a dramatic increase in unemployment.  The American consumer is tapped out.  And like it or not, we are leaving a generation of center-right leadership in Washington as the political pendulum swings back to the left.  Our new President will be the first Word of Mouth/social media President.  Support Barack Obama or not, you have to be impressed with the wide range of internet marketing tactics used to support his campaign — e.g. create your own logo, the every vote counts video, the hundreds of "Get out and Vote" events/ads/etc. on Facebook, etc.  Keeping tabs on Washington will be just as important for entrepreneurs as NYC or the Bay Area for the foreseeable future.

What does all of this mean for us?  Where will the opportunities lie over the next few years?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Government 2.0 — remember… the documentary, not a company ;-)  Well imagine that now, using new technologies, social media, etc.  I suspect that there will be alot of opportunity in bringing Web 2.0 concepts to government agencies.  Lord knows they'll have cash and the support of our Web 2.0 President.
  • Government programs — are you familiar with acronyms like SBA, SBIR, SCORE, STTR, etc.?  You neither?  Well guess what, within a year or two, these programs may provide the easiest and most pain-free way to get early stage capital so you aren't completely starving when you start your new venture.
  • Clean energy — this one goes without saying although I find it funny that energy prices are dropping like a rock right now.
  • Efficiency apps — anything that helps people or companies save a significant amount of money in the normal course of doing business.  We're working on one in the advertising space.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of opportunities here.
  • Austerity apps — things that help consumers not spend money.  Counterintuitive perhaps, but I agree with Mish when he says that frugality is in.  Frivolity is out.

In hockey, they teach you to skate to where the puck is going.  Entrepreneurs are well served to pay attention.  You've been playing at one end of the ice for a long time, but the puck has gone clear to the other side of the ice.  Don't hang out too long at the wrong end of the rink. 😉