Here on the Business In General blog, and at Bplans.com, we are committed to optimistic support of entrepreneurship and the startup and growth of business, especially small- and medium-sized businesses.

I’m not Pollyanna-ish about our business environment, however. It is unrealistic to think, or even hope, that a few short months of so-called recovery, including a pre-and-post-holiday spend-a-thon, can repair the damage caused by a decade of questionable high-finance economic activities. It is a time of despair for the tens of millions of people who have suffered the devastating impact of the current depression.

Still, humans are resilient, hence the old, often paraphrased saying, If I didn’t laugh, I’d surely cry. And with that sense of humor and appreciation of the absurd, comes opportunity. Despair.com is one company which has succeeded in business by encouraging us to poke fun at our adversities, to laugh, albeit cynically, when we are most suffering from social and economic hardship.

I discovered them early in the last decade when they released a series of Demotivational posters — humorous send-ups of those smarmy, pretentious posters that were supposed to make us all happy about working harder for less.

Since then they have added greeting cards, calendars, more Demotivator posters, laptop computer skins, t-shirts, a Pessimist’s “The-glass-is-half-empty” mugs and glassware, and more. This year they are offering “The Rise of Mr. Ponzi“, the long-suppressed autobiography of Charles Ponzi, the great-granddaddy of financial and investment wizards.

Despair.com has shown that opportunity and success are possible, when the prospects seem worst, even as they busily make fun of their own industriousness and schadenfreud. Go to Despair.com. Look over their site and their offerings. If you cry, it could be because you are laughing so hard.

Steve Lange
Palo Alto Software

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