Baggage and clutter. I don't care for either of them. I refer to baggage and clutter in the broadest sense--as the assumptions and habits that interfere with real awareness.
I can see now that when I arrived at Inc. a few years ago, I brought a certain amount of baggage. During my career in what I have come to see as old-fashioned business and financial journalism, I had acquired certain prejudices about what was important in the world of business. At The Wall Street Journal, where I spent 15 years, I learned that news was more important when it involved great shifts in power or large amounts of money. At Worth, a personal finance magazine, important developments were those that moved the markets or individual stocks. I'm oversimplifying, but you get the point.
And then I arrived at Inc. That baggage stood in the way of any real chance of love at first sight. My vision was fogged. But I began listening to the stories of America's entrepreneurs. I heard about their triumphs and their impact on people's lives. And I heard about the enormous struggle they often faced to make their dreams come true. The more of this I absorbed, the more I came to regard entrepreneurs as America's true heroes and most precious economic resource.
What's more, these were folks whose personal stories were deeply intertwined with their businesses in a way I had rarely encountered. I came to realize that the story of the American entrepreneur is in many ways a more important one to tell than the story of the most recent travails of a big auto company or the daily popcorning of the stock market. I gradually fell in love with entrepreneurs because their humanity and courage so often transcends their desire for power or wealth. The best want nothing less than to change the world.
Ping Fu, who appears on this month's cover, is a moving example of what makes entrepreneurs so compelling, and I am proud that Inc. is the first publication to tell the story of her life and her business. In fact, I'm not sure that any other national publication would be likely to even unearth a story like Ping's. Stories like hers are one of the things that make it so gratifying to work at Inc.
So I am now fully smitten and, until someone tells me otherwise, I refuse to completely leave. But starting with the next issue, I will be focusing more of my energies on the role of CEO of the company that owns Inc. Succeeding me as editor will be Jane Berentson, one of the most talented magazine editors I know. Jane was once the deputy editor of Inc., so she doesn't bring with her any of the baggage I brought to the job. What's more, she returns to us from Real Simple magazine, so I know clutter won't be a problem either. Jane will make Inc. an even more exciting and vital magazine because her heart is already in the right place--and because readers will enjoy the benefits of both her and my passion as never before. Feel free to drop either one of us a line anytime and let us know whether we're living up to this promise.