Big Picture: Finding the Next Big Thing
Depressions and severe recessions always signify deep societal shifts on local, national and global levels. Whether it is a transition to an urbanized economy, a move from an agricultural base, a shift towards high-tech or, most recently, the emergence of Internet based efficiencies, downturns always signify big structural changes.
It's often difficult to predict what those specific changes will be. Most broad characterizations - such as "this downturn means the beginning of a new globalization" - aren't very helpful. In the past, IBM correctly identified the changes in mainframe computing, which eventually revolutionized business computing. Apple placed its bets on personal computing, helping to evolve and change that and other related markets. Boeing focused on increased government spending on aircraft and defense. The point is that those companies pursued opportunities that were a bit different or subsets of the initial market changes. For the CE industry, the big question isn't "if" there will be the next game-changer, it's "when" and "what" it will be. That's because there is always a rebound and there is always opportunity.
Think about it. Despite the state of the economy, there are still venture capitalists out there willing to support a strong idea backed by a solid business model. Established companies are still investing in the future.
Everyone involved in the CE industry has to look at new areas to incorporate into their existing businesses. Yes, we all have to trim costs and seek new efficiencies. But that doesn't mean we should stop looking for the next big thing.