I went by pipewrench's method, and started in a normal ring. I was placed at the 3 o'clock position. I have been lucky with two independents, can grab a third, but the start of these games are a major pain.
Basically. Start with 1 frigate, 1 escort, 1 destroyer, 1 explorer. Buy a few explorer and maybe an escort or two. Watch your first bases get eaten by pirates until you catch up.
Pay attention to economy ups and downs once you got a colonization target. You must order on a "up", and then basically order new colony ships as new colonies are founded, and 20k bonus incomes arrives from ship building.
The long term outlooks are great though. Nice colonies, and research bases in place for my Zenox. Now it is just a matter of having bases in as few systems as possible to make them easier to protect.
6 destroyers in 3 fleets of two.
1 temporary colony ship
1 medium space port that I started with
-12k cashflow, and 40k cash. And 8 promising colonies with several more 80%-ish available in my "circles" that makes the outlook bright.