P U B L I S H E R ' S   N O T E

B A R B A R A   B O S E

more publisher's notes

herstory lesson

overview of a disaster

our first trip to orlando

on swimming

deep thoughts

natural etiquette

Welcome to Absolutely Florida!
On October 15th, we turned 5 --- real old timers in Cyberspace.

I started Absolutely Florida because I wanted to create something that belonged to me, instead of making something that helped another business owner. As a magazine designer, I had a major role in the creation of some very lucrative ventures, including the popular Ocean Drive Magazine, but when your work is done on a project, you're back out there looking for the next one.

By 1995, I decided it was time to marry all the things that I enjoyed - design work, this beautiful state which I had enjoyed living in for 10 years, and figuring out stuff on a computer. As it turns out, Absolutely Florida has benefited many hundreds of business owners who have participated in this far-reaching project that keeps on growing in popularity, recognition and potential. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

In the late '80s and early '90s I was working as an Art Director for print magazines, I had been noting the price of paper going up, the number of people working in the office going down. After being laid off in 1992 from a really fun job as Art Director of Blockbuster Magazine, I started a design company called BoseArts, when I received my first AOL disk in the mail. It didn't take long for me to build a web page and put 2 and 2 together about the practicality and potential of this cool new medium. Considerations like production costs and distribution headaches would be all but eliminated. Gone was that cold sweat that crept over me while looking over a printed piece I had worked so hard on, only to find an insidious typo lurking on a page I had checked a hundred times. And so with my webpage, I made connections online- even easier than in 'real' life, since at that time there weren't so many people online, and my cyberfeet got virtually wet.

Meanwhile, on the personal side, by 1994 I had finally located my ex-husband who was 15 years late with his child support payments. I took him to court and was awarded $20,000 - $2,000 a month for 10 months. Wanting to do something worthwhile with the money (which would ultimately be of benefit to my kids), it was just the cushion I needed to support my family while I started a new venture into the online world.

I still worked on other print projects, but this windfall helped me carve out the time it took to create something attractive, in-depth and truly useful. I was turned off by other websites which didn't have a lot of 'there' there. So I developed the site for almost a year before launching it.

In the beginning, when my statistical reports showed 400 page views for the site, it seemed awesome. Now it's over 10,000 a day! We have won 19 awards for web excellence, including a Henry Flagler Award from the State of Florida. The business model I created 5 years ago turned out to be sound, and widely imitated.

Absolutely Florida is unique, however, in that we have amassed and archived thousands of pages of Florida-related stories and information, thoughtfully presented and with a pleasing new cover each month. We offer great variety of ways to help for travelers with their Florida plans with online hotel, flight and rental car reservations, discount hotels rooms, cruiseline information, eco request recommendations, and in-depth profiles of so many great destinations. We read and reply to all of our email requests, and keep up with the type of content Internet users are seeking. As one of my clients puts it, "Absolutely Florida shows people why they should fall in love with Florida."

Now imagine if all the pictures you now see could come alive as video, Well. next on deck is Florida.TV, coming to a screen near you, scheduled to premier Spring 2001. Watch for Absolutely Florida to become 'all singing, all dancing' with video, music and virtual views of many interesting Florida destinations, including hotels, resorts, B&Bs, attractions, real estate, golf courses and more.

We're excited to be pioneers once again.