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The Global Economic Freak-Out and You

We're trying to stay calm here -- really, we are. We understand that this isn't 1929 or even 1987 -- and maybe not even 2001, for that matter -- and that the bright people who run our economy have the tools and the know-how to deal with what's happening.

We know that the economy is cyclical, that all sort of factors can affect it and that things have been much worse in the past. We're aware that 6 percent unemployment would have only been considered possible on Fantasy Island back in 1981 when jobless rates were closer to (or in) double digits. We get it.

But when names like Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers -- companies that have survived worse than a credit crunch or a recession, if we're even in a recession -- start to disappear from the roster of financial titans, we do tend to freak out a little bit. And when the U.S. government, which (rightfully) so loathes doing this sort of thing, steps in and nationalizes mortgage lenders (Freddie and Fannie, of course) because it has to, we freak out a little more. And when the stock market starts the week by dropping 500-plus points, we build an underground bunker and start buying bottled water in bulk.

OK, maybe not. In fact, we're writing this on Monday afternoon -- and by the time you get it on Tuesday, the market might be back up 500 points. That's how quickly the economy moves these days. Still, it's clear that there's reason for concern, so it obviously came as no surprise when we read last week that companies are cutting IT spending.

What we want to know is how the economic slowdown will affect you, the Microsoft partner, and what you're doing about it. We asked this question, or one very much like it, a few months ago and kind of hoped that things would be better by now. But they're not, really, so we'll revisit the topic again: Tell us, how bad (or good?) are things for you now, and what's your plan for riding out the downturn? As always, send your answers to [email protected]. As always, we'll only identify you by first name (so, if you're really hurting, don't be afraid to let us know), and we'll try to run the most interesting answers later this week.

Posted by Lee Pender on September 16, 2008