Hi, I’m Scott Adams. You may know me as the creator of Dilbert. But what you may not know is that I have a book coming out on Oct. 22 that I hope is going change some lives. It's called HOW TO FAIL AT ALMOST EVERYTHING AND STILL WILL BIG: Kind of the Story of My Life. I have had all sorts of spectacular failures on the road to success, including flameouts in a banking career, a telecommunications career, building a computer game, creating the Dilberito (healthy microwaveable burrito), opening two restaurants, patenting inventions, and more.

It’s the Internet versus me. Anything could happen.

Facebook evidence: https://www.facebook.com/dilbert/posts/565731343480466

[It's been great answering questions. I did two hours today and might check in later for some more. Thanks to everyone for participating. -- Scott]

Comments: 2884 • Responses: 74  • Date: 

egomanimac1944 karma

My dad is a self-proclaimed "dinosaur" when it comes to technology. He also is your biggest fan. When I told him about your AMA, he said he had a question for you. I told him how to create an account/post a question, and his eyes glazed over. I said just write it down. His question was, I shit you not, the following:

"How do I email your blog to my friends and family? I don't have any of the buttons like facebook or whatever."

I told him I would answer that for you. Copy/paste tutorial ensued. Anyway... Just wanted you to hear that story. He likes you. Thanks for keeping my dinosaur entertained.

EDIT: words

Dilbert_Daily2007 karma

Tell him I said hi.

And by that I mean verbally. Don't cut and paste and email it to him. That sounds like a dry hole.

TheOpen1103 karma

My last name is Gilbert. Thanks for making everyone call me Dilbert.

Dilbert_Daily1150 karma

For what it's worth, I spend a lot of time correcting people who want to call Dilbert Gilbert.

TommyDoyle664 karma

Is it alright for me to see Dogbert's nose as an open mouth?

Dilbert_Daily759 karma

You are not alone in seeing his nose as an open mouth. And yes, I approve.

bromandude34645 karma

You were a large part of my childhood. Thank you for the memories.

Dilbert_Daily1871 karma

That sounded like a suicide note. Don't do it. I'll make more comics. It is worth living.

ILOVE_PIZZA640 karma

Hey Scott, what is your obsession with no-neck characters?

Dilbert_Daily1687 karma

They are far easier to draw.

gracebatmonkey517 karma

Do you regret the MetaFilter debacle?

Dilbert_Daily567 karma

No. I enjoyed it immensely.

exizt498 karma

If you were to do the Dilbert animated show today, what would you have done different?

Dilbert_Daily1170 karma

I wouldn't have done it on UPN. True story: the writing budget was so small we asked the intern who fetched coffee to be on the writing staff just because we could afford him. He wanted to someday be a writer, so it wasn't crazy. Still...

fidestro2460 karma

How much Dilbert porn have you created in your downtime/boredom?

*If you're not aware, it exists.

Dilbert_Daily982 karma

You remind me of a manager at my old job who confidentially asked me if I could create my own porn because I knew how to draw. It was the creepiest conversation of my life.

And no, my drawing skill (or lack) is not compatible with porn.

suprsqrl416 karma

What is your favorite comic strip of all time?

Dilbert_Daily754 karma

Peanuts, in its day.

cpmkxt407 karma

do you ever anticipate bringing Dilbert to an end? would you ever try to start another comic strip or book series or something like that?

Dilbert_Daily693 karma

Everything ends. It only matters if I end before he does.

I wouldn't do another comic. I would work on something else.

MoreEpicThanYou747372 karma

Do you enjoy XKCD?

Dilbert_Daily156 karma

It's a smart comic. I like it.

triit360 karma

First, how do you manage to stay current on management trends so accurately given that you're not sitting in a cubicle?

Second, any update on your voice issues since surgery?

Third, what actually happened with Stacey's?

Dilbert_Daily402 karma

I read a lot, mostly on the Internet. And readers update me on trends if they think they deserve mocking.

My voice is completely functional since the surgery. It's actually stronger than at any time before the voice problem, thanks to all I learned about proper voice mechanics during the struggle to speak again. I actually came out way ahead :-)

I sold the assets of the restaurant because it was losing money and I became a magnet for ridiculous lawsuits. (Truly mind-boggling stuff, and never from customers.)

CunningWizard336 karma

I work with a number of ex Hewlett Packard engineers, and I heard a rumor that years ago that when they would have something funny happen in the office, it often would make an appearance in Dilbert a few weeks later. Did you have a source of material from inside HP? I'd love to be able to tell them if this was true.

Dilbert_Daily621 karma

Employees at every big company think I had a hidden camera or a mole.

I did get a lot of suggestions from HP employees. That's all I'm saying.

Ttocs_is_Awe325 karma

Who is your favorite character in the Dilbert universe and what is your favorite joke that you've done?

I also just want to say that I love your work and my dad has been a longtime fan since before I could remember. He gets the flip calender every year, has several plush toys, and constantly quotes the comic. I don't think I can tell you how many times I heard "Suspicious, you are" while growing up.

Dilbert_Daily327 karma

I like writing for Wally, but Dogbert is my dark side voice.

And Dilbert will always be the king of that universe.

I can't think of a favorite comic. Business Insider recently ran my top favorites, but honestly it was hard to pick the best.

Rizzoriginal232 karma

I want to start making a comic strip. What recommendations do you have for mass distribution as print medium goes out of demand.

Dilbert_Daily1164 karma

Have you heard of the Internet?

96mn12214 karma


huge fan for a long while. I work in a corporate environment and oh so identify with your characters.

My question, why is Dilbert's tie always pointing up? Is it what I think it is?

Love your work. Keep at it!

Dilbert_Daily353 karma

Actually, even I don't know why. He started as a doodle and whatever I was thinking the first time I drew it pointed up is lost to me now. But it looks right, right?

Hellwemade208 karma

Have you ever thought about replacing your blood with coffee and living forever?

Dilbert_Daily516 karma

You go first?

acelticmonk208 karma

Do you have any humiliating tales of my uncle Mike Loughery, with whom you worked back in the day? I'd like to humiliate him with them.

Dilbert_Daily328 karma

Ask him about the time he looked in the mirror and wondered why, with age, his legs turned into Q-tips. (True story.)

KoNy_BoLoGnA143 karma

What was your inspiration for Dilbert?

Dilbert_Daily284 karma

Physically, he was based on a particular coworker during my banking days. That fellow doesn't know it, by the way. His personality is based on my own nerdish side plus the engineers I worked with.

rsl12119 karma

I'm surprised nobody has asked about your spasmodic dysphonia. I remember being shocked that someone as public as you had become unable to speak (except under very specific circumstances) and when I read your blog post in 2006 about regaining your voice (through a too-good-to-believe-it's-true trick!!), I was greatly moved.

This wired article tells the story up to July 2009. I'm sorry to hear your incredible hack didn't work for very long. How is the situation now compared to 2009?

Dilbert_Daily170 karma

My voice is all fixed thanks to one brilliant surgeon at UCLA, Dr. Berke, who rewired the nerves in my neck.

the_other_50_percent51 karma

Well, I know who I'll be calling in the morning (I also have SD). So thrilled that the surgery worked for you!

Dilbert_Daily118 karma

Email me for the contact info if you don't get it on a Google search right away. [email protected]

Mankers114 karma

What motivated you to create Dilbert? Mama Mankers needs to know.

Dilbert_Daily194 karma

My corporate career hit a wall (as I describe in the new book) and I was looking for something new that had lots of upside potential. Dilbert was one of several things I tried. The others were failures.

wisconsinrules8112 karma

I read Dilbert everyday! Where did you come up with the names for the characters? Thank You!

Dilbert_Daily187 karma

The name Dilbert was suggested by my old boss at the phone company. Later I learned he had seen (but not recalled at the time) a WWII era comic of that name.

NOISY_SUN107 karma

Is it weird having your own Wikipedia page?

Dilbert_Daily362 karma

It's weird that apparently I won some awards I've never heard of.

zanmanoodle102 karma

Do you think you'll go for a Bill Watterson-esque "retire before I burn out to save my art" or more of a "retire when they stop paying me" strategy?

Big fan, btw. Dilbert was one of my first comic loves.

Dilbert_Daily182 karma

I'll keep doing it as long as it's fun. That's all I know for now.

heytherehandsome100 karma

Hey Scott! There's an episode of NewsRadio where Andy Dick's character Matthew is obsessed with Dilbert. He eventually meets "Scott Adams" which we find out later wasn't actually...you. Were you ever approached to cameo in that episode?

EDIT: Andy was Matthew not Andy.

Dilbert_Daily284 karma

I appear in that episode as the angry guy standing in line for coffee. I had one line (that I blew, so the entire scene had to be reshot).

They hired an actor to play Scott Adams in the episode because apparently they didn't think I could pull it off. True story.

unmined99 karma

Hi Mr. Adams,

Thanks for the AMA. What are your thoughts on the decline of print journalism, and how that will affect the art of cartooning in the future?

Dilbert_Daily509 karma

How long do I have for this essay?

Short answer: Things change. They rarely get worse in the long run. Airline travel is the exception.

Mr_A81 karma

I read once that you actually stopped writing Dilbert and got all your suggestions from people writing in their own experiences. Was that ever true, if so by how much and is it still the case?

Dilbert_Daily174 karma

I do get most of my material from user suggestions, validated against my own years of corporate experience. People don't send jokes, just topics. Topics are the hard part.

TheBoomTube2377 karma

Here's my question: If Scott Adams, Creator of Dilbert, did an AMA, what should I ask him?

Dilbert_Daily180 karma

Why is he so sexy?

foxdude9571 karma

I recently read your WSJ article. Very interesting stuff!

How did you react when you realized that you "made it" writing Dilbert?

Dilbert_Daily134 karma

There wasn't ever what I call a champagne moment. It was slow growth for the first several years. It kind of crept up on me.

Mr_A63 karma

How do you feel in regards to the Dilbert cartoon series, all these years later? Could you see the crew coming back for another season, or is animation done for Dilbert? Animated Dilbert movie, mayhaps?

[edit] Any chance of the soundtrack getting a bandcamp release? I would kill for a high quality version of the theme song.

Dilbert_Daily167 karma

I wouldn't do animation again. Part of the problem is that the characters are designed for print. With no mouths and no eyes, it just wasn't optimize for movement.

I do plan to make a Dilbert movie with live actors. Someday. I have the story but need to turn it into a script before shopping it around.

sweetmullet59 karma

I don't have anything to ask. I just wanted to tell you that you fucking kick ass.

Dilbert_Daily133 karma

I don't know you, but I love you.

jtd577154 karma

I read an interview the other day when you mention that not every successful person has to have the passion for that career, industry etc... What would you say to someone who is at a crossroads in their career and is looking to try something new and also hasn't necessarily found their passion they could pursue as a living?

Dilbert_Daily187 karma

Forget passion. Passion is bull$#!%.

What you need is a plan that moves you from a low odds of success to higher odds. For example, after college I immediately left my tiny town for the better odds in the SF bay area. That's just one example. But think in terms of odds, and personal energy (fitness, diet) not passion.

veni-veni-veni92 karma

Forget passion. Passion is bull$#!%.

Someone needs to make a fake motivational poster with this quote

JudaiMustang114 karma

Dilbert_Daily71 karma

Okay, that made me laugh out loud. It's funnier on a poster and I don't know why, which kind of pisses me off, in a good way.

Dilbert_Daily116 karma

Passion is optional. Concentrate on your fitness (health) to have enough energy to execute whatever plan you come up with. Keep adding skills over your lifetime until you know a combination of things that few people know. That's what makes you unique and valuable.

That's the quick answer. The long answer is in my new book.

evilsearat52 karma

When I was in junior high school we were supposed to reach out to someone that did something that we were interested in doing as a career when we were older. At the time I thought that I wanted to be a cartoonist and, at the time, you listed your email address alongside your comic. I had planned for a whole week to email you but never worked up the courage to do so and did my report on something else.

Did you get a lot of fan emails back in the day? Do you think you would have responded? (This was back around 1999)

Dilbert_Daily70 karma

I got hundreds of similar emails during that period. I answered as many as I could.

danimalplanimal52 karma

Ahhhh dammit my question was going to be if you have any more books coming out...I really enjoyed the couple that I read, but then started a 3rd one and couldn't make it through...so I guess my question is, is this the best book you've ever written?

Dilbert_Daily96 karma

It probably is the best. That's why I'm doing heavy PR on it. I would rank my top three books in this order:

  1. How to Fail Almost Every Time and Still Win Big (current book)
  2. The Dilbert Principle
  3. God's Debris (This is a love it or hate it book)

JustTellingTheTruth33 karma

Mr. Adams, Are you familiar with the YouTube user "CBoyardee," and his series of viral videos featuring Dilbert?

Dilbert 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8AUPSfgk18

Dilbert 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuPQo2DeFyQ

I am involved in a documentary film project concerning the internet subculture that has emerged from the works of CBoyardee (known as the Brogres). Although the Brogres are primarily concerned with postmodern re-appropriations of the character Shrek, there is no doubt that the Dilbert series preceded their obsession with ogres, in that it significantly redefined the notion of absurdist humor on the internet (youtube poop).

I will buy you a beer and a blowjob for your initial responses to these videos.

Thank you for your time.

Dilbert_Daily9 karma

I find it disturbing that Dilbert's shirt pocket is on the wrong side. Otherwise, art is art.

I'll have a Blue Moon, please. And a flat surface to place it upon.

s-mores32 karma

I read your new strip every day and loved The Way of the Weasel.

Just wanted to say 'thank you' for a whole bunch of mornings you cheered up. Well, to be more precise for all the moments of sympathy rage/gnashed teeth when something rings all too true.

Right, questions.

Dilbert_Daily122 karma

As long as there are 7 billion humans bumping around on the planet, and some think they are in charge, I won't run out of material.

Mr_A21 karma

What ever happened with David Steward, in the end? Do you know or did you not keep in touch?

Dilbert_Daily66 karma

He's the fellow who got fired for posting a Dilbert comic at work. I blogged about him and asked if anyone would hire him. He actually got a job that way. Haven't heard from him lately.

VirtualMachine020 karma

I heard that you like to "invent" things. Are you part of the "Maker" community, and what's your favorite contraption that you've created?

Dilbert_Daily50 karma

On my blog at Dilbert.com, see my invention for keeping your ear buds untangled when you throw them in your bag/purse. It posted in the last month.

keelabee18 karma

I saw the TIL post the other day about how the inspiration for Dilbert was an old job of yours...Previous to the job that inspired Dilbert, what was your worst/favorite place that you ever worked?

Dilbert_Daily56 karma

My first job as a bank teller was awful. I made $735 per month and lived in a shared apartment in a room with no window. I got robbed twice at gunpoint. On a risk-reward basis, not good.

marthastuart16 karma

Do you have a certain routine that you go through before/while you are writing?

Dilbert_Daily59 karma

Yes, a very specific one.

Wake about 5 AM. Make coffee. Drink coffee and eat protein bar. Check the business news of the day. Check email. Open a blank comic format...

That's always the start.

Professor_Snarf13 karma

Given the state of newspapers, would you still have pursued Dilbert if you had to start from scratch today?

Dilbert_Daily61 karma

Probably not. But keep in mind that I have been giving the newspaper industry only five more years of existence since I first started in 1989.

chocolatemilk6711 karma

Are your characters based on people you associated with in the work places of previous jobs?

Dilbert_Daily39 karma

Dilbert is based on a coworker's body type.

Alice is a direct copy of my coworker at the phone company.

Wally started as a generic character and later took on the personality of a coworker who was trying to get fired to collect a generous severance package. Being in meeting with him was hilarious.

ilikemazdas6 karma

Hi Scott! I have been a fan of Dilbert since I was a little girl. I recall one comic in particular from about ten years ago, when “Pointy Haired Boss” repeatedly slammed his face into a volleyball. I don't recall the context, but it was the funniest thing I had ever seen in my young life. I look up to you and your humor in many ways.

Do you have any advice for a confused college student who is terrified of a future working the 9 to 5 office grind? Any general life advice?

Dilbert_Daily10 karma

Yes, as mentioned, my new book is designed for people just like you, or anyone looking for some ideas on success in life.

Ahhuatl5 karma

Dilbert explores many of the problems that plague private enterprises and yet you are a libertarian - an ideology which champions the ability of private enterprises to provide many services better than the government. Would you care to expand on the relationship between Dilbert and your political views in regards to government v. private enterprise?

Dilbert_Daily13 karma

I don't call myself a libertarian. Too many nuts under that label.

Dilbert has nothing to do with my political views. I draw that from a cubicle-eye view.

quidnoggin4 karma

Tell me Gary Larson was one of your heroes...

Dilbert_Daily14 karma

Hero would be a strong word for it. But he was the best single panel cartoonist of all time. And I did steal some of his drawing style, especially the potato-shaped torsos of my characters.

disco_noir4 karma

Big fan here. Do you have more IT fans or common people fans?.

Dilbert_Daily5 karma

None of the readers of Dilbert are common. I'm fairly sure of that. But IT people are probably 20%, best guess.

aabbccatx4 karma

Mr. Adams, which character other than the title character do you find to be the most useful in your Dilbert strips?

Dilbert_Daily11 karma

I enjoy writing for Wally. For some reason it's easiest, and funniest in my mind.

unchangedx3 karma

Are you doing a physical book tour? I couldn't find any such news on your website or through Googling.

Dilbert_Daily4 karma

Book signings aren't as useful as they once were. I just returned form LA doing interviews, and NYC is upcoming. But those are all professional media visits.

PhantomPhlyer3 karma

Hi, Scott. I recall you were talking about redoing the blog. I was a great fan of the DNRC Newsletter - is there any possibility that some of the features of that now-defunct tome could make their way to the new blog? Such as 'Tales of Induhviduals?' And is there any update on the new blog, or has it been pushed back due to all your other projects?

Dilbert_Daily3 karma

The Tales of Induhviduals ended because the submissions were mostly repeats after awhile. So that won't come back.

I'm starting the process of redesign for Dilbert.com but it is a long one.

boneblancer3 karma

Hi Mr. Adams! Thanks for all the daily laughs you've provided over the years. Congrats on the new book release. I can't wait to read it! Here are a couple questions and a request:

  1. My favorite Dilbert book is "It's Not Funny If I Have To Explain It", the book where you hand-selected your favorites and hand-wrote a little comment about each one. It gave almost a "behind the scenes" insight into your mind. Would you consider doing another book like that? And yes, there really is something about Wally wearing a sweater.

  2. I met you at a book signing in San Francisco back in 2003, where you talked about how technology has changed the way you draw Dilbert. How has technology changed how you do your work in 2013 compared to 2003?

  3. The optional request: I once won an office comic strip contest and have had my comic pinned up on my cubicle wall for years now. I work in a research lab and it's a comic (poorly done in PowerPoint) about how all my time is spent dealing with bureaucracy instead of actually doing experiments. Would you be willing to Dilbert-ize it? I look exactly like Wally, glasses and all, except I have a head of black spiked hair. My coworkers always say I should re-draw the comic with a Wally that looks like me wearing a lab coat. Boy would they be surprised if they saw your version of it! I don't expect you to have time to do this, but just in case, here's the comic: http://i.imgur.com/L20YOPL.png

Dilbert_Daily5 karma

Now I draw directly to the computer using a Wacom Cintiq device. And I just got the tablet version so I am untethered!

The technology cut my production time in half. That is a big reason I don't see retirement anytime soon.

Delplato3 karma

Have you injected character growth into the strip over the years?

Dilbert_Daily13 karma

Not much. Dilbert has evolved from timid to more aggressive, but that tracked with the market power of engineers in general.

jiggatimelovelord2 karma

Hey Scott -- caught your op-ed in WSJ last week. Good work!

It seems there's been a lot of "self-help" types of content bubbling up as of late. Any thoughts as to why there's been such a swell from your perspective? Did that have anything to do with you writing this book?

Dilbert_Daily3 karma

I'm not sure there are more self-help books lately. It's not something I track.

AnakinKardashian2 karma

Who should play Dilbert in the live action movie?

Dilbert_Daily3 karma

I approached Michael Sera but he politely declined. I want someone youngish in case of sequels :-)

Jack Black has to play the boss.

jzzsxm2 karma

If the Adams were a unit of measure, what would it measure?

Dilbert_Daily2 karma


Under-your-bed2 karma

Do you have a pencil I can borrow?

Dilbert_Daily4 karma

Yes. I'll leave it in the driveway.

FatalFury6242 karma

What comic strip and/or literature and stories inspired you to create Dilbert?

Dilbert_Daily9 karma

Peanuts was my original inspiration. Some have said that Dilbert and Dogbert are derivative of Charlie Brown and Snoopy. I plead guilty, but I wasn't doing it consciously.

kkinit2 karma

HI Scott! I've been a avid reader of your blog since at least 2007. My question is, now that you have written this book, do you plan on continuing to blog and or write any additional books such as this in the future?

Dilbert_Daily3 karma

I haven't made plans beyond next week. During the book PR tour, all brain cells are maxed out.

Dystonian2 karma

I also have Focal Dystonia in my hands, from playing music. It truly does attack what you love most.

Medical cannabis (marijuana) really helps to lessen or eliminate the symptoms, at least for me.

What are your thoughts on medical cannabis for helping sufferers of Dystonia or other disorders?

Dilbert_Daily5 karma

That's a question for a doctor.

lumpystumps2 karma

You wrote a book many years ago that I'm afraid I forgot the title of, but you wrote a lot on affirmations and how they had helped you become successful. Do you still believe that and why do you think it worked? Was it simply a case of motivating yourself effectively or do you think there was some sort of weirdness involved.

It's been a long long time since I read that book but it really changed the way I thought about things which is not what I expected from a book by a guy who draws comics at all.

Dilbert_Daily2 karma

That was in The Dilbert Future.

I got a lot of criticism for the way I wrote that. Apparently it sounded to some people as if I believe in magic.

The new book, just out (How to Fail...) discusses affirmations in more detail.

Trosti1 karma

You should learn how to draw!

Dilbert_Daily5 karma

Apparently that is more optional than one would think.

bozwood1 karma

What are your thoughts, now, about affirmations? Do you still use them?

Dilbert_Daily1 karma

The new book discusses my experience with affirmations at length. I have no reason to believe they work in any magical sense. But focusing on a direction is probably a good thing for any number of perfectly normal reasons that are detailed in the book.

mander001 karma

My 8.5 year old son is obsessed with writing and drawing comics, to the point where he says he wants to make a living from this hobby. Any advice you'd give to a young artist and his mother who is constantly pulling scrap paper comics out of the washer? Thanks!

Dilbert_Daily2 karma

Diversify skills. He might become a cartoonist someday, but more likely not. It's good to have some fallback skills. Computer skills in particular are a good combination with cartooning.