Yes, you have entered the "Efficiency Economy"
As someone who entered the workforce in the '90s, I, like many people in my cohort, haven't been surprised to see the economy take a dip earlier this year. After all, I have lived through several well-branded economic cycles ("Gulf War Recession", "The Dot Bomb" and "The Great Recession" come to mind). I guess I paid attention in physics class, at least the part when the teacher covered gravity and the principle of: "what goes up must come down".
If the last few years have been about the hyper-growth economy, the foreseeable future will be about workplace, and worker, efficiency. This has been playing out in the consumer market for the past generation. Many examples abound: it is more economical to take Ubers in urban areas than own a car; use Airbnb than pay for a time-share or buy a summer home; and comparison shop on aggregator sites for flights, hotels and live events.
Dating back to the early days of venture capital, and the launch of finely-aged startups such as Microsoft and Oracle, venture investing has focused on enterprise automation to reduce labor costs and drive productivity in the workplace. In the past few years, I've had the good fortune of being involved with a few category trailblazers (Lev in real estate; Seamless.ai in sales & marketing; and BiznessApps in app development). Like a tsunami on the horizon, we are witnessing in real-time an entrepreneurial intensity picking up in how we (re)-define business organizations (the ascent of the gig/creator economy) and how each function in more traditional organizations can become more productive (across human resources, finance, marketing and product).
At deftly.vc, one of our primary themes is to focus on startups that are taking the cost out of doing business, or driving the value of employees and business partners. We're excited to see the innovation that surfaces in the "efficiency economy" and to partner with founders who are leading the charge.