I Resigned as the Investing for Beginners Guide at About.com
On Monday, October 23, 2017, Aaron and I made a decision that it was time for me to step down from my long-time role as the Investing for Beginners Guide at About.com. On Tuesday, October 24, 2017, I sent a two-page letter of resignation to the company’s Chief Operating Officer in which I gave fifteen days’ prior written notice that my resignation would become effective on Wednesday, November 8, 2017.
I first learned about the possibility of writing for About.com seventeen years ago during the autumn of 2000. When Investing for Beginners became available, it was a natural fit. After submitting a sample article, and spending a month developing a demo site as part of a competition with at least one other author who was interested in the platform, my first editor, Will Daley, congratulated me on earning the contract. In the midst of our introductory phone call, he discovered that I was only eighteen years old and still in high school. He assured me it wasn’t a problem: “Your content was better.” His enthusiasm to find passionate writers, and willingness to overlook what was an unconventional situation in favor of a better reader experience, was an embodiment of the ethos that dominated the company near the end of the dot-com era.
My Investing for Beginners site went live in February of 2001. Much has transpired during the more than 6,000 days that have passed. I watched About.com’s ownership change hands multiple times, first from a standalone, publicly-traded entity to Primedia, then to The New York Times, and, finally, to IAC/InterActiveCorp. I witnessed multiple rounds of cutbacks and lay-offs. I experienced frequent, often contradictory, shifts in editorial and search engine strategy. I observed the staff at headquarters turn over several times. I participated in numerous special projects, including many that no longer exist and have faded from institutional memory. Most recently, I helped transition the now-depreciated Investing for Beginners site at About.com to the new vertical site, TheBalance.com.
The journey, for all of its triumphs and tribulations, was made sweeter because Aaron was About.com’s Classical Music Guide for the vast majority of my time at the network. There were more nights than I can recall when we kept each other awake to meet our content deadlines and grow our sites, first throughout our years in university and, later, when we were launching the businesses that brought us so much success. In addition to his own workload, Aaron played an essential role in the creation and maintenance of my Investing for Beginners site, allowing me to continue in the position for far longer than would have been possible otherwise. I would be hard-pressed to think of an article that did not first pass through his hands for feedback or commentary.
I am deeply grateful for the role About.com played in my career, including the opportunities it made possible, such as signing my first book deal while in my early twenties. It gave me a platform to help innumerable people achieve financial independence and build a better life for themselves. Saying goodbye is bittersweet but something I feel in my heart is the right thing to do. This decision was made easier by the fact that my responsibilities as a Managing Director at Kennon-Green & Co., the global asset management firm through which Aaron and I manage not only our own wealth, but the wealth of other affluent and high net worth individuals, families, and institutions, have become all-encompassing, leaving little time for other commitments.
I’m not sure how long the content I’ve licensed to About.com will stay live on TheBalance.com as it will take them time to replace it. With the recent migration to the latter, hundreds of articles were hidden and deleted to the point that much of the content in the article directory I was working on has now disappeared. If you click on many of those links, you’ll find the article is either gone or that you are redirected to some other content. I imagine that in another three to ten years, nearly all evidence of my work during those roughly seventeen years will have vanished into the ether. That’s fine because I’m ready for a fresh start. My words helped the right people, at the right time. A new season has begun.