Given that I have no experience with a successful startup, you should listen to me when I say:
Now is a very, very good time to create a startup.
Why? Life continues and VCs still need to invest cash. That's what they do. They need startups as much as programmers and young businesses need cash. It's a fatal attraction.
There's a lot of interest in Bioinformatics - the awkward marriage of biology and information manipulation. Rather than have programming biologists, Biotech firms ought to consider pairing up biologists and programmers. The right tool for the right job, I say.
Microsoft, IBM and Sun are very interested in developing Web Services (.NET, Sun ONE, etc.). If you haven't looked into SOAP or XML-RPC, now would be a good time to do that.
Cringley points out in his column this week that many hi-tech companies are trying to provide anti-terrorist solutions. I'm not sure that such devices will ultimately succeed, but there's to be made money in trying.
Let's not forget that many companies will probably be upgrading their dated PC hardware this year too. Companies like Dell and, well, Dell, should do well. (Compaq and HP are hosed, I think).
I feel the US ecomony is about to gush back to life. 2002 should end very strongly. Now, if only I didn't enjoy being unemployed so much...