Garage, Inc.

The opening piece in the new issue of Wired offers a nugget of hope amidst our newly announced (but apparently not new) recession: innovation often comes out of economic hardship.From Daniel Roth's essay: "... for the bravest inventors and entrepreneurs, conditions are ideal to pounce on a business opportunity. In periods of economic turmoil, people are hungry and work cheap, and entrenched companies often concentrate on in-house cost-cutting instead of exploring new markets, which can explode with the next turn of the business cycle."The key, Roth says, is that the "entrenched companies" counting their change shields garage inventors from competing with monied behemoths. He uses the example of Tom Siebel, inventor Siebel Systems, which pioneered customer relationship software and was eventually bought by Oracle. Siebel thinks now's the time to strike with your game-changing startup. (In fact, that's what he's doing.)Apparently, the sector to keep an eye on is clean tech. The Depression laid the groundwork for the development of nylon, the DC-3 aircraft, and television. I wonder what we'll get from this downturn.(Photo of the garage where Hewlett Packard started by Flickr user bragadocchio.)