Recently I heard that the Sony building was being sold. Back in the late nineties I spent a few years working under the infamous Barry Wine in the Sony Club's kitchen. Coming upon this article about Barry, something stood out; a photo of the the cake I'd personalized for a party celebrating Yo-Yo Ma. The photo reminded me of a lesson Barry passed to me about "perception."
Serving record executives – along with Yo-Yo Ma, I was asked to bake the cake in the shape of an old vinyl disc. Further, Barry had given me instructions to write the names of various music department heads on the cake. Barry was big on detail and perfection. Finishing, I brought the cake to his office with a mix of pride and trepidation. The look on his face erased the former and confirmed the latter.
"No!" he yelled. The placement was wrong. The names of these VIP's had to be arranged so as not to make any single one feel they were diminished or elevated in relation to the other. The trick was to all feel equal. "Perception," he quipped with a grin. Returning the cake to the kithcen, I scraped and re-wrote the names so they were spread around the round in harmony.