The Relentlessly Introspective Inc.


Inc. isn’t a public company, but one can reliably expect the inner workings of its financials to be splashed in the media gossip columns on a quarterly basis now that the magazine and its corporate sibling Fast Company have adopted “open book management.” You may have missed the news — it first appeared in Joe Nocera’s Saturday New York Times column, and it’s already behind the “Time Select” wall now — but Inc., now under the ownership of former cover subject Joe Mansueto has chosen once again to practice what it preaches — that opening the kimono to your employees empowers them to do something about your financial status (which in Inc.’s and Fast Company’s case was a $10 million loss last year) rather than just steal office supplies and file expeneses.

This is the second time in the last six months that former Inc. editor and now CEO John Koten and star writer Bo Burlingham have taken introspection to the Nth degree. Burlingham, who has just published a book, a “Small Giants,” praising open book managed companies, also wrote the magazine’s cover story last September about its own sale by Gruner + Jahr to Mansueto. That truly remarkable story kicked off with now-Time Inc. editor-in-chief John Huey telling Koten that if his company bought the magazine, he’d fire all of his employees.

Koten noted in that issue that “We don’t plan to make a habit of writing about ourselves,” but can one hope that the current editors of both magazines will change their minds — or let the Keith Kellys of the world do it for them.