A recession is a very good time to start a company. I founded Atari during a significant downturn, and that allowed for us to share risk with business partners, which allowed us to keep our costs low. For example, we were able to move into a large facility. Our meager balance sheet could never have supported that rent, but the landlord looked at us a a better option than just leaving the building vacant. Also, our vendors were all willing to provide long terms for payment on their parts and services.
The most important part of all was that I had my pick of the best engineers and managers in Silicon Valley. Since many of their friends were laid off, the thought of moving to a fun job at a new start-up seemed not that much more risky to them than staying put where they were. Our ability to cherry-pick the best of the best allowed us to crush any technical problems we encountered and the talent we amassed powered Atari as not just a game market leader but also a technical super power. We were the first non-government organization to use the N channel MOS semiconductor, and we basically put that technology on the map. We innovated on so many technical levels that by the time I left the company we had a 85 percent market share.
Many things are better for a start-up during a recession. Now is the time to start a company.
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