Marking a Milestone: Celebrating Past Successes and Hopes for the FutureNov 23, 2020 05:00PM ● By Daniela J. Jaeger
During our 25 years, we feel very blessed to have found great professional people to consistently be a part of creating high-quality magazines for TOTI Media. Everyone who currently works for TOTI Media, or who has worked for TOTI Media in the past, can be proud of what we have accomplished over this quarter-century.
It’s amazing how much has changed since the day we registered toti.com in 1996. There were only 100,000 websites that year, compared to close to 2 billion websites today. In 1996, the average price of a new car in the United States was $16,300; in 2020 new car buyers paid an average of $37,876. A 30-second Super Bowl ad cost $1.85 million in 1996, but it now runs you $5.6 million for the same 30-second slot.
Earlier this year when everyone was sheltering at home, we, like many others, found time to go through old files we’d stored. As we opened one box after another, we discovered relics from the early days of TOTI Media, such as photo films and notes about the ways files had to be prepared and transported between editors and designers or for shipping to the printer. We could not help opening a bottle of wine and having a toast to our milestone. After reminiscing about all these old methods once required in publishing, we very much appreciate technology these days.
Writer Beth Luberecki put together our 25th anniversary story in this issue, which can be found on page 58. She talked with prominent business leaders in our community as well as several longtime TOTI Media associates about their years of involvement with TOTI Media and what that partnership and our magazines have meant to them.
Let me give you a bit of background on Beth, a longtime TOTI Media contributor herself. She’d been talking with Friedrich Jaeger, founder of TOTI Media, about joining the team and had an in-person interview scheduled for mid-August 2004. Hurricane Charley hit just days before that interview, and when she drove onto the causeway, she found it was still blocked. No one could get onto Sanibel without a hurricane pass, which she did not have. But she wanted the job and found a way to convince police and Coast Guard officials to let her onto the island to meet with Friedrich. She made it despite the challenges of the storm, and we are proud that she still is part of TOTI Media today.
Both her story and our own story at TOTI Media make me think of a quote from Indian teacher and writer Jiddu Krishnamurti: “In oneself lies the whole world, and if you know how to look and learn, the door is there and the key is in your hand. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open. Except yourself.”
In this issue, we also celebrate the success of other local organizations reaching milestones of their own. Turn to page 50 to read about the 25th anniversary of Barbara’s Friends, which supports area children who are fighting cancer. And on page 52, we have a story about two employees at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, each celebrating 25 years of caring for our flora and fauna.
I would like to dedicate this publisher’s letter to all of the entrepreneurs and business owners in our community who are working hard to provide jobs for the people who live here. Those jobs allow local families to make a good living, which leads to a stronger community for us all.
As we say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to 2021, allow me to express that I feel for everyone who has lost a loved one this year, and I hope that we all will come out stronger in 2021.
Soon we will count the seconds into 2021 after an incredibly tumultuous year. Let us remember what Winston Churchill once said: “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”
Happy holidays, and a healthy and prosperous New Year!
Friedrich N. Jaeger
Daniela and Friedrich N. Jaeger
Group Publisher & Founder of TOTI Media