Y Combinator's Paul Graham makes the case that now is a perfectly fine time to start a company—maybe not a restaurant, he says, but certainly anything in high tech. Graham writes: "If we've learned one thing from funding so many startups, it's that they succeed or fail based on the qualities of the founders. The economy has some effect, certainly, but as a predictor of success it's rounding error compared to the founders."
And: "Fortunately the way to make a startup recession-proof is to do exactly what you should do anyway: run it as cheaply as possible. For years I've been telling founders that the surest route to success is to be the cockroaches of the corporate world. The immediate cause of death in a startup is always running out of money. The cheaper your company is to operate, the harder it is to kill. Fortunately it has gotten very cheap to run a startup, and a recession will if anything make it cheaper still." (To read the rest of Paul's essay, click here.)
To read about how Clif Bar, Method, Electronic Arts, and more success stories got their start in crappy economies, check out Inc.'s May cover story, "Starting Up in a Down Economy."