Tag Archive | artists

Ruth’s Top Ten

I’ve been blessed to go to a whole lot of cake events in my decorating career. Decorators always ask for my opinions on “x” show or “y” show. I started thinking that others of you might wonder what I would put on my list of the Top Ten Cake Events. I thought it might be hard to make such a list, but it seemed to fall into place with no real effort. You might have a different list, but this is mine. If a decorator wanted to put together a bucket list of things to do before they die, I would include these ten things.

I am not presenting these in any particular order. Number ten is just as important as number one. I will try to explain why I ranked it and give you a fair assessment of each event. Please let me know your thoughts…even if you disagree. And let me know your number – how many have you attended? Did I miss a major event?

top ten

Number One: Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show.
Www.oksugarartists.com. September 28-29, 2013. Tulsa, OK
Long considered the preeminent cake show in the US, this show definitely has the largest prize packages anywhere. I once called it The Superbowl of cake. It would be closer to call it the Pro Bowl. Over the course of its history, the best of the best decorators have competed there. While the players change from year to year, you will always find some incredibly talented decorators there. The show was covered for four years by The Food Network in specials about the competitors and the event. The raffle ticket prizes for the entrants would make any decorator’s mouth water.

On the down side, the event is held in conjunction with the Tulsa State Fair. While thousands of people will see your entries, you will not be in an area with just decorators. Cakes have been damaged in the past by the turkey leg eating crowd. One year, a drunk lady in a scooter took out a table full of displays before they could even be judged. While the building is massive, it is often very crowded at the awards ceremony and sometimes hard to hear, due to the ambient noise of the building. There are very few vendors, due to the lack of space. There are amazing free demos, but only one hands on class. The class is usually with a “name” cake professional and will run the two days after the cake show.

I participated in this show for about ten years. When I first attended, it was held in a horse barn. The show has grown in size and prestige until it has become one of the “must attends” for many decorators. I was excited to receive a gold medal three times and to place repeatedly in the divisional portion of the show. I always encouraged my employees to attend and paid their entry fees. We took 42 cakes from my bakery one year. A lot of what I know about competing, I learned at Oklahoma.

Number Two: National Capital Area Cake Show.
Www.cakeshow.org. April 6-7, 2013. Fairfax, VA
This show is the largest show on the East coast. The show is always in private venues, where the public pays to view the cakes. You will only be around people legitimately interested in cake decorating. There will be vendors…great vendors. There are numerous great demos and mini classes. Even better, the best live challenges I have seen at a cake show have occurred here. While it isn’t exactly a tv challenge, you will find quality similar to the original Food Network Challenges everyone fell in love with. While you have to pay to watch these challenges, you will be glad you did.

The quality of the entries is outstanding. Many of the top decorators at this show either have won at Oklahoma or earned medals there. The prize money isn’t like Oklahoma, but is enough to tempt anyone to enter a cake. The divisional competition includes areas not typical in cake decorating circles like pastillage, chocolate and sugar show pieces. If you want the chance to really be around decorators, this is a great show. One of the cool things they do for the general public is to give “cake tours”. Volunteers walk the public around the event, explaining techniques and educating them on how exceptional the sugar art truly is.

I have never missed this show. It has grown in size and prestige. In some years, it has more cake entries than Oklahoma. I was honored to be named to The Sweet Life Hall of Fame at this show. It will always have a special place in my heart.

Number Three: That Takes The Cake Show
Www.thattakesthecake.org. February 23-24, 2013. Austin, TX
I love this show. I always call it “the fun show”. When I first attended, it was fairly small, but this show is now firmly established as one of the three American cake shows you have to attend. The show is at a private venue and, like Virginia, you are only around people who came to see cakes. They promote the show heavily and have a tremendous attendance from the general public. Thousands of people show up to see the cakes. I could not believe the lines.

The show has killer demos, mini classes and celebrity classes. You need to take a week to experience everything this show throws at you. Plus, you are in Austin, where the food and music are legendary. The neighborhood of the event may not be super cool, but it features a Chuy’s across the street, so you are always assured a good meal. They have a full house of top notch vendors. They celebrate showcakes. Instead of a Wedding Division like numerous other shows, they look for cakes for an event, more like you would see on a tv challenge. I have seen some of the most creative, jaw dropping work in this category. Like at Virginia, everywhere you turn, there is another cake celebrity. If you get high on cake, this is one of your Meccas.

My absolute favorite thing that they do is reserved for the children who enter. They do not select first, second and third. Instead, each child’s cake receives an award…Best Cake For Under The Sea, Best Use of M&Ms, Best whatever that celebrates one element of that child’s work. The ribbons at this show are actually medals, placed around your neck. I normally am in tears watching these children receive their medals with the most joy filled faces ever. I know that they are building the future generation of cake decorators through this program. I work never to miss this show and it replaced Oklahoma as the favorite for my bakery. My girls would pack up their cakes and a few of us would make the drive to Austin.

Number Four: ICES Convention
Www.ices.org. August 8-11, 2013. Lexington, KY
ICES is the International Cake Exploration Society. There are thousands of members from all over the world. Each year, they hold a national convention in a different city. The convention is in July or August each summer. Many of us feel like Convention is a family reunion. Each convention features the most impressive room of vendors I have seen outside of the NEC. There are vendors from all over the world with products you’ve never been able to buy before. It is intoxicating your first year! The vendors and authors plan to debut products there to maximize their exposure.

There are hundreds of demos at an incredibly low price for registered attendees. You can watch Mike McCarey build a stand, James Roselle make a flower and a British royal icing expert like Christine Flinn pipe extension work. There are some bilingual demos offered each year. For the last few years, ICES has also offered hands on classes. The teachers supply everything and the classes are only $75. You can get two hours of instruction from folks like Nick Lodge, Susan Carberry and Norm Davis. You can watch or participate in a live cake challenge.

The one thing that really draws people in, is the cake room. On a good year, there can be over 1000 cakes from every part of the world on display. It is a sharing only show, so no one has to worry about being judged. The inspiration in that room is dazzling. People pay just to go see the cakes. There are lots of other things at Convention, from certification testing, to awards, to elections, to celebrating with friends at the annual banquet. There is always a friend waiting for you at ICES.

Number Five: Cake International (the NEC)
Www.cakeinternational.co.uk. November 8-10, 2013. Birmingham, England
This show has been called the NEC for years by many of us in America. Its proper name is Cake International. The show hosts tens of thousands of people daily…who are there just to see the cakes and shop from the vendors. The event often sells out and there is sometimes a line waiting for people to leave so new people can go in. Incredible. This show has become so popular that it has expanded to Manchester and London, with other countries to follow.

The vendors portion is outstanding and you have the opportunity to shop from suppliers and authors that you could not find at other events. There are demos, but not as many as at ICES. There are touching tables where you can learn to work with different types of mediums like gumpaste and fondant. But the thing that always draws my attention is the incredible sugar art entries. The cake competition is outstanding and the level of work is often very high. There are displays from colleges, guilds and branches where cake decorating is taught. I have spent hours photographing the cakes during my two visits. This, for me, is the real reason to attend this show.

Number Six: Cake Camp
Www.cakecamp.com. July 19-21, 2013. Las Vegas, NV
Held every other year, this is a must for many decorators. Over the course of three days, there will be hundreds of hands on classes with many of the best teachers in the industry. People fly in from all over the world to study for one glorious weekend in beautiful Las Vegas. People save up for a year to take as many classes as they can schedule. The event is now held at the Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, NV. This resort is nice and has the comfiest beds! I never had a bad meal there…and I don’t like anything!

The vendor room rivals that of the Virginia and Austin shows and has something for everyone. The majority of the teachers provide everything you need for the class. You just show up and create. Since you are in a popular destination spot, there is always something to do when you are not taking a class. But seriously, most of the folks forget to sleep and eat because they take so many classes! There are always new classes and techniques debuted at this event. I have been lucky to teach at Cake Camp for a number of years and have to say that it is incredibly well run and supported. Add this to your bucket list.

Number Seven: ICES Day of Sharing (DOS)
Www.ices.org. Check for your state chapter.
There are ICES chapters all over the world. Some chapters meet once or twice a year and some meet every couple of months. These are normally one day events where you pay a registration fee to come and see 4-7 demonstrations on sugar art techniques. Some states even do hands on demos. The chapter either includes lunch in the fee or people bring covered dishes to share. I have attended events as small as 12 and as large as 200 plus. This is a great time to meet people in your area and build a network of resources. Some shows have vendors and you can buy those tools you’ve been needing.

Some chapters have Weekends of Sharing, which offer you the chance to take classes or attend numerous demos for a small charge. Missouri has one of the biggest of these that I have attended. ICES is an invaluable resource and you only get the most of your membership if you attend the DOS. Non-members are welcome, but pay a slightly higher registration fee. Many chapters bring in a featured “name” decorator to headline the DOS. It is often the least expensive way to get to learn from these folks.

Number Eight: Regional Cake Show
See the list in my Newsletter and specifics mentioned below.
I feel like there are The Big Three cake shows (Oklahoma, Virginia and Austin), but there are also some absolutely wonderful smaller shows. I call them regional shows, because they typically draw in a more local crowd. Some of these definitely have people enter from outside the region, but just haven’t grown as large as the Big Three yet. I made a list of the cake shows I have attended over the years and was stunned to find that I had attended 23 different cake shows over the years. This year, I will be attending at least two new (to me) shows. I am hoping to make it to every show in the US before I am done traveling. I also hope to attend more international shows to expand my world view of the sugar art industry.

The benefits of these shows is that it is a great place to get your feet wet. There are not as many entrants, so decorators often feel less intimidated. These shows still do the cool things; don’t be fooled by me calling them regional. They have hands on classes, demos, live challenges and great prizes. Many have vendors and make it a weekend of fun. I highly, highly recommend these shows. We have lost one Regional Show this year (The Art of the Cake in Ohio) and have another that has to take 2013 off (KC CakeFest). I constantly update my list of shows and events in my newsletter. Here are the ones I know about:

Feb. 8-10 – Denver Cake Show – Colorado
Feb. 16 & 17 – Connecticut Cake Show – Hartford, CT
Feb. 23 – Panhandle Cake CRUMBS Show – Cantonment, FL
Mar. 2-4 – Mike Elder’s CakeFest – KC, MO – on hold…plan for huge show in 2014
Mar. 8-10 – Cake International – Manchester, England
Mar. 9-10 – Garden State Cake Show – NJ
Mar. 16-17 – San Diego Cake Show – SD, CA
Apr. 12-14 – Cake International – London, England
Apr. 27-28 – North Texas Cake Show – Dallas, TX
Apr. 27-28 – Washington State Cake Show – Everett, WA
May 5 – Kentucky Cake Show – Kentucky
July 13 – Quota’s Icing on the Cake – Shreveport, LA
July 20-21 – Florida ICED Cake Show, Ocala, FL
Aug. ?? – Cove County Cake Show – Bedford, PA

Sep. 5 – West Tennessee Sugar Artists Sugar Art Show

Sep. ? – Sweet Treats Cake Competition – NJ

Sep. 27-29 – River City Cake Show – Omaha

Oct. 6 – CNY Cake Show – Ithaca, NY

Oct. 19-20, 2013 – Great American Cake Show – Maryland

Oct. ?? – Cake Decorator’s of Tidewater Cake Show – Va. Beach

Oct. 26? –Montreal Cake Show – Canada

Nov. ? – White Rose Cake Show and PA DOS – York, PA

Nov. ? – National Gingerbread Competition – Asheville, NC

Did I miss your show? Send me a link and I will include it in all my Newsletters!

 

Number Nine: Mini Class Event
See the list in my Newsletter and specifics mentioned below.
I have to confess that I don’t know if Cake Camp was the first mini class event, but it seems to be the most widely known. It is not, however, your only choice for the opportunity to study with a bunch of teachers. Most of the mini class events are held biannually, but you should check each web site to see their schedule. I have taught at or attended most of these events. The general schedule is classes on Friday, a banquet Friday night, classes all day Saturday and then a shorter class day on Sunday. These are incredibly well run, organized events and offer the best and most affordable choices for classes in bulk.

These are the ones I know about: Florida Mini Classes, CakeLove Vancouver, Oregon Sweet Retreat, Branson Cake Retreat, Michigan Mini Classes, Daytona Florida Mini Classes. I love the mini class environment. You meet people from all over. You can shop from vendors. You get to really hang out with your sugar friends, often in cool locations. Find the one easiest for you to attend and start saving.

 

Number Ten: Local Cake Club Meeting
Check with supply shops in your area or ask around on Facebook
One of the great things about my travels is that I have gotten to attend local cake club meetings in Odessa, Dallas, Vancouver and Louisiana. Sometimes the group is tied to a cake supply shop. Sometimes, it is a group of sugar friends who decide to start a support group. These groups meet every month or two. They may have a yearly fee or a meeting fee. These groups usually do member driven demonstrations and sometimes prepare cookies or cakes for charity. They become your local lifeline! These are the people who can loan you a pan or cutters, step in to help if you have an emergency and can refer business to you when they are booked. I always wished for one in my area. Maybe someday….

Conclusion
You may not be able to make it to all these events, but even my husband agreed that it is a good list. Remember, you have a lifetime of sugar to explore. You don’t have to make it to everything on my list and you sure don’t have to make it in one year! This is more of a life goal of events that will all make you a better decorator. How many have you attended? What did I miss? Which is your favorite?

The Grass is Always Greener

Have you ever been driving along and you can sense that the car next to you
wants to be where you are…they covet your lane and want to be in your spot?
Maybe you are the person driving and you want to be in that other lane – the
road just looks better there or it will give you access to whatever it is you
are driving towards. It is tough to not feel envious sometimes.

I find myself getting these little pangs now and then. Why didn’t I get picked to teach at that event or judge at that show or whatever. I find myself wishing that I
was walking in other people’s shoes. Then I catch myself and remember that there is probably someone looking at my life wishing they were in my shoes. And you know what?  That is true for most of us. We look ahead to where we want to be and forget that where we ARE was once our goal. We forget that others are
working to achieve whatever we have achieved.

I caught my husband  getting irritated with a driver the other day…the person was in the lane that  he wanted to be in so he could make the next turn. I said, “How would that driver know that you wanted over?  You did not signal. “. After he forgave me for pointing this out, we started discussing that wishing for something to  happen simply wasn’t enough. He said that moving in the new direction required Patience, Persistence and Perception.

No one gets to their desired success level overnight. You have to be patient and have a plan. I think that a lot of people give up on dreams when they were SO CLOSE to realizing them. It can feel like forever while you are waiting for it to be your turn. But wait you must.

It’s funny. So many people think that the highly successful people
in this world never experienced failure or rejection. If you look into their
stories, however, you discover that they simply were persistent until they
achieved success. J.K. Rowling was turned down around a dozen times before
someone took a chance on Harry Potter. I have been turned down spots as an
instructor – or worse, not even been acknowledged several times. I could let
that shake my confidence, or I can tell myself that they simply do not know me.
I have to force myself to stay at it to be able to teach at my desired
locations.

Perception is the one we usually forget about. Just like Rob forgetting to signal the other night, we have to think about what signals we are sending into the universe. Does anyone know about our goals?  Do we have something to show the world what we want?  Just like when I wrote Cake Camp many years ago, you have to help people have the right perception of you. I put together a cd of photos of my work, a resume of classes I wanted to teach and a list of references from their other instructors. I signaled where I wanted to be.

As a baby lawyer, they used to tell us that if it walked like a duck and quacked like a duck and looked like a duck, then it is probably a duck. What they were telling us was to dress for the job we wanted, act like people act in that job, be like those people and everyone would assume we were that. If you want to be on tv, observe those who are and work on those traits. If you want to teach, comport yourself like the instructors you see. If you want the birthday cakes, be like those who get the orders. In other words, send out the perception you want others to have.

I want to add one more “P” to Rob’s list and that is Please. You must
ask. If you sit at home having a pity party because no one asked you to be on
that tv show or compete in that live challenge or whatever, you have only
yourself to blame. Many months ago I was seeing a friend pop up teaching all
over the US. I kept thinking I was doing a bad job as a teacher because I wasn’t
being invited to all these places. She and I were talking one day and I asked
her how these shops heard about her. She laughed and said, “I wrote them and
introduced myself and asked if they would have any interest in me teaching
there.”   You could have knocked me over with a feather. She asked. I kept
thinking what an idiot I had been to just assume that people had hunted her down and I sucked. She put the fourth P into action. Once I started to ask for the
opportunities I wanted, I started to get more of them. That does not mean that I
always get a yes…in fact I can list several recent nos. I know in my heart,
however, that I go more places because I ask.

My final thought for you today, is to try to stem your jealousy or insecurity.  You are seeing what others CHOOSE to show you.  They are probably only showing their successes, not their failures or doubts.  Lord knows I’ve had my share of those, but I have committed to happy posts on Facebook most of the time, so people don’t hear about those things.  I saw this quote and think it sums it all up beautifully.

So my advice for today is to put the 4 P’s into play in your life.  Signal where you want to go.  Don’t judge your life by someone else’s highlights.  Don’t let the green eyed monster of jealousy get to you and don’t let failure be forever.  Your best days are ahead.

The Harvard Experience

When I was in law school, I was always told that the A students became the judges, the B students became the professors and the C students made all the money. I was shocked that the most talented among us would not also make the most money As I researched this saying, I found that it came from Harvard. The crazy thing is, this turned out to be fairly true. Many of the students who graduated in the middle of my law school class rake in big bucks these days.

I was looking at our industry the other day and thinking like I do on a long plane ride, when it occurred to me that this phenomenon applies a bit to us. Please bear with me on this one and don’t judge me until you have read the whole blog.

We obviously don’t get grades in our profession, but I classify the A students as the decorators who are extreme perfectionists. These are those very few of us who will remake something thirty times until it is right. These are the cakers who do work so accurately that people think their flowers are real, the sculpture is not really a cake or that it really is stitching or painting on the cake. The A students in my scenario are few and far between. I think of them as tortured artists, in a fashion. They will sacrifice sleep, profit and so much more for the sake of their vision. I have some names in my head here, but am not sharing because I want each of you to think about who YOU think is the best of the best.

These are the artists who spend a lot of time on their cakes and give a lot of detail. Their profit bottom line is short, because…for the time they spend on perfection, they will not make as much most of the time. Even if their price seems high initially, it is much lower when you divide it by their man hours.

The B students in my scenario are highly talented decorators. They pursue excellence, not perfection. They do their best, but know how and when to step away from a cake. They have the skills to compete with the As, but have decided that such immersion in work is not worth it for them. Instead, they find their passion in teaching others, in passing on their knowledge and expertise. These people could also be the ones that run profitable shops, but they have chosen to not do a high volume of cakes.

These teachers will make some money, but will not get rich from this work. They will, however, be rich in students and admirers that they will have influenced. These folks hold the future of our industry. They motivate and inspire the next generation to get involved with cakes. They are not doing this for fame or fortune (as both are probably unlikely); rather they do this because teaching consumes them. It is who they are. I am sure you have all pictured a few people that fit this category, also.

Finally, there are the C students – or decorators. They might be able to do perfect or extremely excellent work, but they have made the CHOICE to turn out good quality cakes in a shorter amount of time. For these operations, they spend less time and give less detail, to increase their profit. This is where higher volume pays dividends.

Take Buddy, for example. He is likely capable of making a perfect or near perfect cake if he wants, but is not truly known for that. He is known for being ridiculously, incredibly fast at decorating. His cakes are still beautiful, but they do not compare to the work of certain perfectionists I know. I remember watching him compete in a Food Network challenge in Oklahoma. He turned out a great cake. And finished almost an hour early. He just couldn’t slow down and saw no need to fuss with his cake the final hour making everything perfect. He was able to step away.

Grocery stores and large retail operations have to do business this way. They need to turn out 20 good cakes in the time you do one great one. Their profit per cake might look lower at first blush since the price is cheaper, but they do SO MANY that they actually rake in more profit.

The toughest decision for you will be to figure out what type of decorator you want to be. You have to understand that perfection and profit are a fine line to walk. The more time you spend, the less you make. Sacrificing detail and design in order to work faster and more economically is hard for most of us. At my shop, I was determined to not do “cookie cutter” designs. I wanted everything to be custom. I did that for a few years, then figured out that I was losing money on all those cakes. And many customers had trouble seeing designs in their head. I finally set out a couple dozen “standard designs”. Instantly, customers seemed to relax. They could walk in and pick a cake in seconds. They could see the price. We knew those designs like the back of our hand and were able to crank those out, increasing our profit. The increased profit gave us a cushion for those custom cakes we really wanted to do…but knew we were probably going to just squeak by on price wise.

For my shop, we had the A cakes and the C cakes. I guess that made us a B bakery and that was probably the right place for us. We could not make it as a straight A shop and it would have killed our decorating spirit to be a straight C shop.

You need to take a look at your goals for your shop. Is your goal to be a recognized leader in cake decorating? Do you want to be known for realism? If so, you may need to accept that you are not going to get rich doing cakes. You can get by. But you can have extreme satisfaction from your work. If your goal is to be rich or to retire early, you need to consider what it will take to increase your profit level. You will probably have to sacrifice detail for speed.

I know it is hard to think that you cannot have it all, but this is a tough industry. Fame and fortune rarely seem to go hand in hand. I have always liked a quote from Oprah…you can have it all, just not all at the same time. I personally have been mostly a B. And I am totally ok with that.

She’s Kind of Sketchy

A friend wrote me the other day to see if I would tackle a problem she encountered. A difficult customer tried to place an order for an elaborate cake, but only wanted to spend $50 (sound familiar, anyone?). My friend politely indicated that she was unable to make a cake to her specifications for that budget. A little time went on and the customer contacted her again. This time the customer gave my friend a sketch from another bakery and said “she wants $150 for this cake, can’t you make it for less?”.

My friend looked, and the customer had given her a custom drawn sketch for a two tier cake with 3 fondant figure and other embellishments. The designer had signed the sketch and put a copyright on it. My friend made a copy, then sent the customer away without accepting an order. My friend contacted the creator of the sketch and informed her that the customer was “shopping” the sketch to try to find a cheaper price. In the end, the two bakeries both refused to work for this customer.

So, what is the takeaway from this episode? Does putting copyright on your sketch keep others from “stealing” the design? What if the decorator says she was “inspired” by the sketch, but “made it her own?”. Where is the line? This is a fuzzy area and you need to consult with someone who specializes in copyright law for a real answer. While I used to practice law, that is completely out of my specialty area.

How do you protect yourself without hiring an attorney? I have a few good stories to share. When I first opened my bakery, I would give out sketches of designs to my brides after the consultation. I didn’t charge for the sketch. I thought it showed what a great person I was to hand them a custom designed sketch. When someone didn’t book with my bakery, I never even wondered about that sketch again. How naive.

One day I got a call to help out a local competitor whose boyfriend had overdosed and died. Another decorator and I jumped in to do her cakes. When I got one of the wedding files I looked at it only to find one of my sketches. Yep, I had designed the cake. She booked the cake doing my design exactly and, in the end, I was the one creating the cake in my sketch.

I felt so betrayed that day. The thing was, I was doubly betrayed. I was betrayed by the bride who shopped my sketch and I was betrayed by a competitor who knew she did not design the cake. That day, I changed my policy. No one received a copy of my sketches unless they had paid a deposit to reserve their date with me. No more free design work.

The next betrayal came following a meeting about a grooms cake. A decorator called up and said that she was doing the cake for that groom and would I mind moving my display of it into my front showroom window so she could come by to look at it and study it. Ummmm, no!

The uber talented Debbie Goard says that there are cake designers and cake decorators and that there are miles of difference between the two. I think there are artists who see creations in everything and are constantly designing original cakes. I think there are technicians who excel at the mechanics of cake decorating, but are not blessed with either the confidence or skills to take a blank sheet of paper and custom design a cake from scratch.

My friend Maxine Boyington used to say that she was excellent at recreating designs. She swore that she could not decorate a cake without taking elements from other cakes to come up with the design. After a while, I started to believe her and saw that she liked to brainstorm with me because I could see designs in my head without first seeing them somewhere else. Does this make her a cake thief if every design is inspired by someone else’s work? I honestly do not think so. She was always quick to tell us what inspired this design or that.

I think decorators become sketchy when they lead their customers to believe that they are artists or designers when they are actually just excellent fabricators. They can be amazing cake decorators; they are just not designers. The only time a line is crossed for me is when someone knowingly uses another person’s work product. If I design it for a customer, you should not under cut my price and do my design for that customer. In law school they told us that our rights extended to the tips of our fingers, but not to the tip of the next person’s nose. That meant that the exercise of my right cannot directly infringe on your right.

I caution us all as decorators and designers to remember to give credit for the inspiration for our designs, to not help customers rip off artists by doing their sketched or photographed designs (without permission) and to uphold the integrity of the sugar arts in our behavior with our competitors. In the end it comes down to the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you.