We'd been talking for some time at Inc. about publishing a story on the growing trend of virtual companies -- businesses whose employees work wherever they want. We assigned it to senior writer Max Chafkin. He immediately suggested a twist: Wouldn't it be a richer, more detailed, more insightful piece if Inc. itself went virtual for a month, the time it takes to produce an issue?

It was not a universally appealing concept. One colleague worried that if she stayed home for a month, her 2-year-old might be confused. Others had qualms about workflow and technology, about working too much or too little, about being lonely or too social. But more than a few staff members leaped at the possibilities: Off they went to write, edit, design, research, and blog from Brooklyn coffee shops, bedrooms on the Lower East Side, the New York Public Library, and from Florida, Utah, California, Boston, Mexico, and France. Entrepreneurs are constantly teaching all of us at the magazine and Inc.com clever new ways of thinking and doing. This time we lived it. Max's story starts here: The Case, and the Plan, for the Virtual Company.