RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. Sequoia, one of the giants in venture capital, sent ripples of shock through its portfolio companies and the rest of Silicon Valley earlier this week with an “RIP” summit.

The good times are over, may they rest in peace – and pieces.

According to our friends at VentureBeat, much of what Sequoia executives presented at the event was provided through a source. The materials ended up in the form of a PowerPoint slideshow.

It makes for riveting – and depressing – reading as Sequoia’s team walks entrepreneurs through how the world got into the global financial mess it now faces and what to do about it. The presentation is very detailed, with page after page of vivid data. Business leaders everywhere, not just tech, should read it. Consumers, too.

This may be the best explanation around when it comes to helping people understand just how all this mess occurred.

Here are Sequoia’s key comments on what startup executives need to do right now in order to survive (They certainly apply to entrepreneurs everywhere, not just those in the Sequoia portfolio):

1. Manage what you can control:

  • Spending
  • Growth assumptions
  • Earnings assumptions

2. Focus on quality

3. Lower risk

4. Reduce debt

The downturn isn’t likely to be a short one, either, Sequoia added. Some key traits:

  • Global
  • Secular
  • Not “normal crisis,” will take time
  • Credit not equity driven
  • Significant risk to GDP growth
  • Potential for greater regulatory reforms/scrutiny

(On that last point, Sarbanes-Oxley, which came out of the 2000-1-2 “dot-com” bubble’s bursting and related Wall Street excesses, is widely given blame for helping kill the IPO market. What will more regulation inflict on startups now? Shudder at the thought.)

So how did we get into this mess? According to Sequoia:

  • Housing led recession
  • Over-leveraged financials
  • Falling asset prices
  • Frozen credit markets
  • Weak household balance sheets
  • Globally synchronized slowing exacerbating all of above
  • Forces of inflation vs. forces of deflation

So what will the fallout be in the venture industry?

Says Sequoia: Valuations will be lower; venture rounds will be smaller; customer "uptake" for products and services will be slower; cuts are a must; and firms need to become cash-flow positive.

Remember the nuclear winter of 2001-2002 for VCs and startups? Well, looks like we’re in for another one.