In Rolf’s opinion, Poland has the potential of being the bigger and the better market than already existing Hungary and soon to be launched Czechoslovakia. But we are in no hurry to move yet. This is January of 1991 and we have ahead of us the launch in Czechoslovakia. And Rolf’s focus is still to first strike an accord with the Czech license holder Vladimir Tichý. We have actually snuck out of Prague for a day just to get a feeling.

Now months later, smitten and encouraged by the success in Czechoslovakia, Rolf and I once again begin to talk Poland. In the meanwhile, on a quick visit to Gdynia in October with Rolf, I have a chance to see Beata again and meet her  partner Tomasz Zięba, whom she would eventually marry. I feel quite comfortable with them. Once again, should we go with it, through his Autraco Holdings, Rolf would bankroll the edition. This time around, now I no longer remember, but believe at Rolf’s suggestion we discuss and for the first time Playboy agrees to go into a joint-venture with Autraco Holdings as one of the two major share holders – Beata and Tomasz would manage the company and would also become its minor shareholders. All the logistics in the place, we begin to work on creating the Polish edition.

Of all the editions I have been a part of launching, the early days are the fun most. There are no pretentions, no pressure. No real deadlines. Something I always insist upon  – it’s a NO GO until we are well and ready. I want us to work simultaneously on three issues. Agree on the details and the definitions of the contents, assign the contributors, make dummies and then revise everything. Plan promotions and advertising campaigns, work on the launch details. This is the time when I excel in my role as the teacher and this is when the team is its most enthusiastic. This is when the adrenaline flows and the creativity takes place. This is when I am hardest on them. The suggestions turn into heavy discussions and the discussions into serious arguments. All work for the good of the magazine, because when we’re ready to launch, almost everyone is in sync. Nothing is more satisfying than the feeling that we have done the best that we could. We have created something we all could be equally as proud of.

This is when we all spend most of the time together, we bond or not, crowd the restaurants and taverns. Brain storm all the while. Still in the formative stage, we barely have proper offices. The publisher finds a space, a few desks and a couple of phone lines, a fax machine and we begin to buzz.

What they have found as our offices is a quaint single family row house on a quiet curved street away from the hubbub of the city center. The two story house is renovated with wood paneled sky lighted loft and exposed beams and the brick walls. The roof is red tiles. The admin offices are on the main floor and up above is editor-in-chief Tomasz Raczek’s office, which is where I am usually parked. Frequently joined by the celebrated artist and the art director Andrzej Pągowski. I love the cozy homey ambience. Once in a while I would climb downstairs and talk with Beata and Tomasz Zięba and their associates about the details of the launch.

Intense, and yet, they would be nice and easy days. The afternoon I still clearly remember as if it were only yesterday is when Beata and I are sitting at the edge of her desk, oblivious to the hurried steps crossing the hallway outside her office door, we are talking in whispers. Not exactly the business. And somewhere along the line we are holding hands, not unlike lovers. We have developed a special kind of rapport in which I wrote in my journal during one of those early days – we are becoming to be good friends – buddies if you may. Now she has longer hair that billow over and caress her shoulders. She is dressed in casual slacks and a loose fitting top. Her face wears her usual friendly and seductive smiles. Things are moving along fine and we’re relaxed – sitting side by side on the edge of her desk. We are reminiscing about that first time when we had sat across the table from each other at the Holiday Inn conference room, now a year and a half in the past.

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