Breakfast Discussion: Appetite for Uncertainty

Our weekly Innovation Breakfast discussions are far-flung.  But no matter what the topic du jour is , it is interesting to “take the temperature” of the group.  The U.S. Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) is designed to measure consumer confidence, defined as “the degree of optimism on the state of the economy that consumers express through savings and spending.”  If we performed a similar survey with the different visitors to the Innovation Breakfast, we would probably measure things other than savings and spending.

We could measure:

  • the number of people looking for jobs
  • the number of entrepreneurs focused on a new startup (of course, a telling stat is the number of serial entrepreneurs, the number of “forced to be an entrepreneur” (laid off) and the number of entrepreneurs who left good paying jobs, with bennies.
  • the number of consultants currently actively consulting
  • the number of entrepreneurs looking for funding
  • the number of entrepreneurs looking for new hires or people with new jobs
  • and many other indicators.

One comment made on this past Friday was that uncertainty is a very different driver than it was five years ago.  Five years ago, uncertainty was a trigger for spending.  If we don’t know the answer, we will spend money to determine the answer.  Or, we don’t know what the future holds so we need to capitalize on our position now.  Today, the perception is that uncertainty is a trigger for cost reductions.  We don’t know what the future holds so we are holding back budget, or looking for ways to cut costs.  What do you think?  How does uncertainty impact your budget?

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