We launch our new annual survey of initial public offerings this month with the help of senior writer Robert A. Mamis, who guides us through " The Secret World of IPOs," a job for which he is superbly qualified. An experienced navigator, he spends a good part of each summer exploring the New England coast in his 34-foot S-2 sloop.

More to the point, he knows his way around the shallows, shoals, and shifting currents of the public equity markets. In the 1970s he cowrote, with his brother Justin Mamis, an investment classic, When to Sell, described by Barron's as one of the 10 books all serious stock players should have on their shelves. In the 1980s he wrote a monthly column in Inc., "Investing in Growth Companies." More recently, he has helped put together our heretofore annual survey of the fastest-growing publicly traded companies, the Inc. 100, which this IPO survey replaces.

Also contributing to the IPO package is senior writer Jay Finegan, with an article about an air-traffic controller who became a cigar distributor and wound up taking his business public. It was a good assignment for Finegan, who is known to enjoy an occasional cigar. He is also known to fly an occasional airplane. While researching one story a few years back, he flew a B-52 over the North Pole. On another story assignment, he was allowed to take the controls of a C-141 troop transport--until the troops started to get sick from his flying. But don't worry. His article, " Light Up. Go Public. Quit Your Day Job," offers a smoother ride.

The third writer in the package is Stephen D. Solomon, whose name will be familiar to longtime readers of Inc. He joined the magazine in the 1980s and worked here as a writer and editor for many years. He continues to write for Inc., The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and other publications, but these days he builds his portfolio around another major holding: he is a tenured professor of journalism and mass communication at New York University.

Now that's what I call a deal.

The CEO's Helper
Back in 1984, when we interviewed Joshua Hyatt for an entry-level position as a researcher at Inc., we asked him what his long-term goal would be if he got the job. Without hesitating, he replied, "To become the editor-in-chief." He hasn't quite made it yet, but he has carved out a place for himself as a senior editor who is also a gifted writer, the author of some of the most memorable pieces we've published over the years.

He contributes another one this month with " The Zero-Defect CEO." For me, it highlights one of the most difficult challenges facing many of us these days: deciding what to do when you simply don't have time to do everything. We all know how it feels to be confronted with 50 urgent issues all demanding immediate attention. Hyatt shows how Deborah Coleman attacked the problem with the help of her all-star business coach, Kay Stepp. Reading his account, I found myself wishing I had a Kay Stepp of my own.


  • Robert Mamis, a senior writer and an experienced navigator, journeys through ' The Secret World of IPOs.'
  • Joshua Hyatt, a senior editor, writes about CEOs, business coaches, and the challenges they face in ' The Zero-Defect CEO.'
  • Stephen D. Solomon, a former senior editor, returns with two articles on the IPO process.
  • Senior writer Jay Finegan tells one cigar lover's story in ' Light Up. Go Public. Quit Your Day Job.'