How do you lead when you’re afraid?

Lots of people are keeping a stiff upper lip online, but when I meet with people I can see the fear in their eyes.

I’ll be honest, I’m afraid of the coming storm. But I’m trying to get all that out of my system as quickly as possible so I can start thinking rationally again and be ready for the storm.

Some writing that demonstrates leadership in the face of the economic storm?

Tim O’Reilly who draws upon poetry to offer some calming words and good advice.

Fred Wilson (a NY-based VC) who uses his skills to try to predict a bottom.

Are you seeing great examples of leadership coming out of fear? Please post them. And if you just want to talk about how afraid you are, come on over to FriendFeed and join me in the fear party.


Another business model: subscriptions

Want to build a business like Netflix? Zuora’s CEO, Tien Tzuo, showed me its new platform the other day and I recorded him on my cell phone. I like it when I see business models that aren’t just “advertising” and Zuora’s platform seems well thought out (Tien used to be an executive at and obviously learned a lot by hanging out with Marc Benioff).

I joke around with him that if advertising falls apart due to the economic troubles that I’ll have to start charging my viewers for my videos, so the idea interests me. Just kidding, but there’s a lot of businesses that can make use of a subscription strategy. Today they announced a new product and a partnership with PayPal.

The state of the One Laptop Per Child project

Lots of you heard a lot of hoopla about the OLPC project (er, One Laptop Per Child). This is a strange little machine that’s aimed at bringing computing to kids around the world. It’s been a while since I heard anything about it, other than they had started shipping with both Linux and Windows, which shocked a few people in the community who saw that as something negative.

So, here I visit the OLPC team and get the skinny from the CEO and then talked with the engineer who built its innovative wireless features (hint: dude is smart and the wireless features on the OLPC are truly innovative). Learned a lot and learned about the deal with Microsoft too.

Oh, and next month they are bringing back the popular “Give one, get one” deal where you can buy an OLPC for $400 for yourself and that’ll get one donated to a kid on your behalf.