Attention, critics!

In this month's Inc., Norm Brodsky writes about the wisdom of listening to your customers. Some people find this tough in the best of circumstances, but imagine how hard it is when you have hundreds of thousands of customers scattered about the United States and Canada and you don't really know, except in the most general way, who they are and what they do all day. This is the problem facing most magazine editors. We put out magazines that we hope address the concerns of our readers, and then we hope they'll let us know whether we've succeeded. Readers who renew their subscriptions are usually happy customers, and readers who drop their subscriptions are dissatisfied ones. But exactly why are some readers happy and others dissatisfied?

Enter the Inner Circle. This is a special advisory panel we're creating that will be composed of Inc. readers. Members will be asked to give us feedback on the stories we publish and occasionally participate in brief reader surveys. Our intention is to listen carefully to what this panel of experts says so that we can make sure we're publishing a magazine that's delivering on its mission: to provide service to its readers. If you're interested in taking part, go to We are eager to hear what you have to say.

Now, back to Norm Brodsky for a minute. Recently Inc. received an American Society of Magazine Editors nomination for Street Smarts, the column written by Norm and his longtime collaborator, Bo Burlingham. In the business of magazines, this is akin to receiving a nomination for, say, an Academy Award for best actor. We did not win; that honor went to Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker. But we are thrilled that the talents of these two Inc. favorites are recognized by the magazine industry's top editors as well as by our loyal readers.

Jane Berentson