15 Years of Inc.com

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Things Fall Apart

In mid-2000, the dot-com bubble was wobbling, and magazine ad revenue was slowing—both online and in print. Inc. was owned by the Goldhirsh Group, having been founded in 1978 by Bernard A. Goldhirsh, the creator of Sail magazine, when he realized the need for media to address the unique needs of small business owners. The publication, which had become profitable in its first two years, was now strained. It sold—along with Fast Company magazine—in 2000 to Gruner & Jahr, a division of German media giant Bertelsmann, for a combined $500 million.