Facing rocky times many businesses and individuals think they can survive only by cutting, cutting expenses, cutting corners, cutting headcount.
All this cutting might kill the patient as in old times when doctors thought that the best way to cure the patient was to draw blood ('la saignee').
A business with no new products, empty shelves and a loss of identity cannot survive, never mind succeed.
Maybe we spend so much time listening to the news of gloom and doom that hope, positive thoughts can be hard to come by.
Since March 2008, I have been writing about going from Consumed to Thrifty, looking at ways to live a good life in a wobbly economy rather than becoming a Scrooge.
So time to shrink or time to build?
Paul Graham gives us reasons to create something in Why to Start a Startup in a Bad Economy (October 2008). He reminds us that both Microsoft and Apple were born in the doldrums of the 70's.
Donald Sull echoes that with The worst times can be the best times (FT, December 1st).
One obvious area where value can be created is companies and services that save people money as Paul Graham states.
Writing about ways to restore balance in our finances and be able to weather the storm is also valuable as Getting by without a job, a 3 step program by Philip Brewer on Wisebread (November 30) shows.
Two ingredients you need, ideas (which cost nothing but time) and talent to help you realize them (talent is easier to find in a downturn).
So are you shrinking or building?
Thinking out loud for Monday Work Etiquette # 66