Bittersweet news today. After a year of writing Inc. This Morning, this is my last edition.  

Cameron Albert-Deitch, a talented reporter and the author of Inc.'s popular "Ask a 20-Something" column, will be taking over. He's a great colleague and I'm excited to watch as he puts his stamp on this. 

However, I also have a big announcement:

I've started a new, separate daily newsletter, called Understandably. If you like the writing I've done here, I think you'll enjoy it. It's similar, but with an extra bonus layer that I like to think of as "the story behind the story." 

The best way to describe Understandably it is just to ask you to check it out. You can sign up here (free, of course). Or, you can just send an email to signup [at] understandably.com, and I'll be sure to add you to the list.

I'm excited about this new venture. I'm also going to keep writing for Inc.com. But, I'm also a bit reflective. 

So as I hand this over to Cameron, I'd like to share the key lessons I've learned from writing Inc. This Morning, as a sort of valedictory. I think they'll serve people well in many contexts.

Lesson #1. Keep reading and learning.

I'm often amazed at how often odd, unrelated things I've learned wind up creating insights for me at work--and made writing this easier. No learning is ever wasted.

Steve Jobs told a story about dropping out of college and learning about calligraphy--a subject that only become relevant years later when he decided that the Mac computer needed fonts.

Lesson #2. Count everything.

I'm a right-brained, creative type by nature. But I'm also obsessive about numbers. (How many people opened each email this month? How many people replied to each one?). Numbers tell a story, if you're willing to listen. It's the fastest way to get feedback from readers -- or customers -- and build relationships. 

Lesson #3. Keep things simple (the "blue t-shirt rule"). 

Steve Jobs owned 100 black turtlenecks, and wore one every day. I've basically copied his constituency, except that my rule is to wear plain, blue t-shirts. The point is to free your mind from small decisions to focus on bigger things.

(I had a funny moment recently when I updated my LinkedIn profile photo, only to realize I was wearing similar blue t-shirts and glasses in both the old version from 2014, and the new one.)

Lesson #4. Practice gratitude.

Let me just practice what I preach on this one. Thanks to Eric Schurenberg, who first recruited me to Inc. back in 2012, and to Jim Ledbetter, Jon Fine, Allison Fass, and Stephanie Myers.

I'm grateful to executive editor Laura Lorber, who is one of the best and most professional people I've ever worked with.

I'd also love to thank the entire staff of Inc., but I especially need to mention managing editor Lindsay Blakely and Cameron Albert-Deitch, who spent the last year working with me on "Inc. This Morning." They're great people, and it was a much better product due to their efforts.

Lesson #5. Love the reader. 

This is probably the most important lesson I've learned. Without the reader, or the customer, there's not much point in doing any of this. Writing seems one-sided, but it's not. It's really all about the relationship with the reader.

More than that, the most gratifying thing for me in writing this newsletter each day has been developing personal relationships with so many of you. Thank you for that. 

There's always more to say, but I'll cut it off there. Please, keep reading Cameron's new version of Inc. This Morning -- and I'd love to see you at Understandably, too.

Published on: Oct 31, 2019
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.