Posted by blogger1 at 3/2/2009 5:03 PM EST

One of the things that puzzles me these days is -- How the Hell are we ever going to get out of this recession?

Every day it seems, I get an email or a phone call or a Facebook/LinkedIn message from some incredibly smart, talented person from my past who has experienced the gut-wrenching sound of being told "We're sorry, but your job has been eliminated". It seemed like in the past, economic downturns were used by companies to rid themselves of the deadwood. This time around, it feels like they're cutting their best and brightest, while keeping around the people who won't complain about no raises, no bonuses, and no interesting work, while the company goes into a bunker and waits for the smoke to clear.

But that's the paradox -- how can we have an economic recovery when many of our country's most intelligent minds are not being productive, are unable to spend money and are actually taking money out of the system in the form of unemployment compensation?

In past economic downturns, some companies didn't bury their heads in the sand and wait for Wall Street to tell them everything was ok. They took advantage of the opportunity to attract great talent, build competitive advantage and leap frog their competitors as the economy improved. Look no further than Google for the best example of this -- they flourished when the Internet bubble burst.

So who is going to be the "Google" of this economic downturn? What company has the guts to forge forward while everyone else is running scared? These are the companies that will help us turn this around -- and they'll be the new leaders in the new economy that rises from the ashes of this monumental recession.