I think I was about twenty-eight years old, or somewhere around there, when I learned to move the Ficus Tree.
John Vigna was CEO of Tseng Labs. Vigna is hard to describe, since ‘irrational’ doesn’t express the qualities he exuded and ‘clinically insane’ is not something I am qualified by training or profession to assess. I can’t even say he was ‘colorful,’ since he only wore black – including black underwear; I don’t want to get into how exactly I know that.
While working on deadline to complete a databook on a the MPEG video codec we were working on, Vigna wandered into my neck of the floor plan with the Treasurer trailing behind. He was touring the facility.
Unhappy with the location of a particular Ficus Tree, he told me to pick it up and move it. He stuck a fat finger in the general direction of the tree’s intended new home.
Weighing the options, working on something valuable to meet a deadline or moving a tree around the office, factoring in the fact that I was being address by someone I would characterize as insane, I moved the tree.
I spent the next half hour or so relocating the Ficus Tree to various positions around the office, until he finally had me return it to its original location. It remained there until the company collapsed.
I’ve spent a lot time since then moving around the Ficus Tree.