For a variety of reasons, I've thought a lot lately about how different it is to start a company now vs. 10 years ago.  Sure, the basics are the same — find a pain, develop product/service for that pain, sell it, etc. — but aside from that I think that starting a company is an entirely different beast today.  Overall, I think we've come a long way — I see most of the differences as a major improvement.  Here are a few that come to mind:

1999 — company is legitimate if it has $10m+ in funding,
2009 — company is legitimate if it has a low burn rate and is cash-flowing

along the same lines…

1999 — company hires specialists for a variety of roles (HR, hosting, design/branding/marcom, etc.),
2009 — company outsources most of these secondary functions

1999 — expansion & gold rush mentality,
2009 — contraction & creative destruction of multi-billion dollar markets

1999 — working hours:  10am-10pm — staff working tirelessly to advance the business, often to the point of burnout or bad habits (drug, alcohol abuse, etc.),
2009 — working hours:  9am-6pm, 9pm-midnight — tolerance for flexible work schedules & arrangements, working harder + smarter than competition

1999 — religious belief in the big payout,
2009 — cautious optimism in the decent recurring payout

1999 — overzealous treatment of company secrets, non-disclosures, etc.,
2009 — openness and coopetition