There are long-term needs and wants, and then there is fashion, and there is changing technology as well. Does the recession mean markets are falling apart? Is technology making some markets fall into disorder? Does that make this a good time to start something new in those same markets? Maybe.

Seth Godin suggested this the other day, in Crowded at the Top:

The very best time to launch a new product or service is when the market appears exhausted or depleted. There’s more room at the top and fewer people in a hurry to get there.

He cites four specific markets that seem to fit this general pattern:

The next golden age of journalism, of communications, of fashion, of car design–those are being established now, in a moment when it’s not so crowded at the top.

That makes sense in general, but you have to be careful. Sometimes markets crumble because something else replaces them, or the need dies, or fashions change forever. Think about buggy whips, telegrams, cassette tapes or hula hoops. The underlying needs are still there, but the actual markets have died where they were and been reborn somewhere else.

(Photo credit: Vibrant Image Studio, Dean Pennala/Shutterstock)

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.