There's a lot of depressing posts floating around the startup blogosphere. Here's why I'm still a happy camper:
We're the luckiest people on the planet
If you're reading this, you're almost certainly a well-educated inhabitant of a developed country, with strong computer skills and enough time on your hands to browse the internet. Times may get tougher in a relative sense, but the options and resources we have make us part of the world's upper class.
Family and friends aren't going anywhere
There's no stock index for the value people bring to your life. No matter what happens, I can still go home to my family and friends.
My competitors are in the same boat
The barriers to entry have been raised for everyone. It's going to be harder for me to raise new funding and make sales, but that's true for everyone around me. Even funded startups will have a tougher time meeting their targets and getting follow-on rounds. The upside of being early-stage is that adaption is far less painful. If I can't raise enough funding to attack the enterprise market directly, I can go lean, and get revenue and domain knowledge by selling the business tools directly to individuals.
Tough times favor trying new things
There are a lot more pressing reasons to change the way you do things when businesses are under pressure. As Nat Torkington says, depressions force technologists away from iterating on existing solutions, and onto radically new approaches. The sudden increase in painful problems means lots of new opportunities to solve them.
There will be a lot less noise
A lot fewer businesses will get started. That means my startup will find it a lot easier to get noticed, rather than competing with the latest toothpick collector social network for coverage.
I'm still building something I value
The one thing I can truly control is what I'm working towards. As long as I'm able to keep making progress towards my goals for Mailana, I'll be happy. As an engineer I always have the option of continuing in complete Ramen Noodle mode to keep development progressing, so I can last a long time.