Scott Adams

October 23, 2013

I created Dilbert. Ask Me Anything.

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:

[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]

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 I guess my question is, is this the best book you've ever written?

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)

It was intentionally inaccurate. The introduction says so. The whole point of the book SPOILERS is that Scott Adams is trying to hypnotize you. He's a professionally trained hypnotist and reading the book is an experiment that should create a feeling of elation because of the phrasing, descriptions, and discussion that takes place.

As you see in this AMA, lots of people are angry at Adams for doing similar meta-analyses. Scott Adams loves to write bullshit on his blog that he doesn't believe just to watch the reactions. The man is obsessed with engineering an audience's reaction.

EDIT: I added the word "that" to improve the grammar of this post and make it more readable.

Everyone writes to get a reaction :-)

Do you regret the MetaFilter debacle?

No. I enjoyed it immensely.

What is your favorite comic strip of all time?

Peanuts, in its day.

I recently read your WSJ article. Very interesting stuff!

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

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.

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

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.

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

They are far easier to draw.

Do you still stand by your famous Mens rights blog, and if so, why?

No one ever disagreed with what I meant. Plenty of people disagreed with the way I said it.

What was your inspiration for Dilbert?

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.

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

You go first?

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?

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

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?

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

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

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

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.

I seem to remember it being about a really bad pilot, who did all the things he wasn't meant to do. It was used to help pilots in wwii. I have no clue where I got this from...

Yes, the WWII Dilbert was a Navy pilot who always did unwise things. Today the Navy has an ocean crash simulator called the Dilbert Dunker. Or did.

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.

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.

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

*If you're not aware, it exists.

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.


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!

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?

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?

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

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

Have you heard of the Internet?

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

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

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

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...

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?

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.

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?

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.

How about this?

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.

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

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.


Answered above...

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

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.

Speaking of Larson, he is one notably 100% anti-letting people share his work on the internet. I feel this is a mistake and has caused millions to miss out on his humor... I noticed there's a strip of yours at the top of the comments, and I also noticed you didn't respond, but it's still there so I assume you're somewhat ambivalent?

TL:DR: How do you feel about intellectual property rights? Would you deem sharing a favorite strip as fair use, since it certainly helps "brand recognition"?

If you mean one individual sharing with a small circle of friends, I'm delighted when that happens. And it's legal as far as I know. You just can't become a publisher.

Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about silent films? Do you have a favourite? Do you think there is a general air of distaste regarding them and do you think there can be anything done to alleviate this?

Are you lost?

Yeah, you write some good books. But what are your favorite books you've read?

I don't read fiction because it bores me. Non-fiction usually gets the skim treatment.

I read a ton, but mostly Internet stuff.

Are you aware of /r/TalesFromRetail/ ? Ever mine them or the related TalesFrom... subreddits for content?

I'll check it out.

Have you ever been approached on making a Dilbert movie and if so how did you respond?

Many times. I've even had signed deals, and deals that the lawyers couldn't get done. So far, ridiculously bad luck has stopped the project several times. (Really crazy reasons.) I'll get back on that in a month or two.

First off love the Blog. I remember discovering it several years ago and catching up on every entry during the first month or so of my grade 11 accounting class.

What career advice would you have to a soon graduating B.A Economic major?

I know you at least somewhat like the hate. When you receive lots of hate is that when you know you have hit something good? Which is a better judge of a idea, Lots of hate or Praise?

I do love the hate. It's bad for business, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it on a personal level.

My new book is designed for someone like you who is trying to figure out the path to success. Google my name and "How to fail..."

What do you think about Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes?

Jim Davis is one of my heroes in the business. Garfield is aimed at a particular audience and hits it perfectly. Davis was a business major, similar to my background, so I get him.

Calvin and Hobbes had great art that made the writing seem better than it was. On balance, it was the greatest comic of all time for the general public.

Did you leave the job where they were trying to sicken you off?

Sicken me? They all sickened me. And I left all of them.

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?

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.

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?

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.

I'd like to say that the cartoon adaption of Dilbert was something of a hidden gem. It's a shame it didn't get more attention. If it were to be revised, or if Dilbert were to be made into a movie, how do you think it should be approached?

Also Dogbert seems like a pretty rad dude.

Thank you. The animated show on UPN never found an audience. That had a lot to do with UPN, obviously, especially in the second season when they move the time slot and no one found it.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

Thanks Scott! Loved your work since childhood!

What are your thoughts on the NSA spying apparatus?

On a lighter note, how did people find out you were "planned chaos"? That always baffled me. It was hilarious though and solidified you as my favorite comic artist of all time.

Lastly, if you could do it all again, how would you do it all again?

There is no privacy online :-)

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

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

You should learn how to draw!

Apparently that is more optional than one would think.

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.

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

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:

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.

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.

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.

Would you rather have infinite spoons or infinite milk?

The milk would drown me but I might be able to climb to the top of the spoons.

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?

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

Hi Scott, Big fan of Dilbert! I work in IT and everyone has Dilbert strips taped on their cubicles!

My question is, any Dilbert strip(s) which makes you chuckle every time you see it?

Some make me chuckle, yes. And they are rarely the ones the readers like best.

Is it weird having your own Wikipedia page?

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

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

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

Is it true you can hypnotize people?

I'm a certified hypnotist, yes.

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?

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.

Do you ever remember working with a guy named Richard Hayes at Pacific Bell? Do you remember him at all? If so, what do you recall about him?? (He's my dad).

Also, did you ever work with Michelle Kwan's dad?

What exactly did you do at Pacific Bell? Did you work at the Gardena office?

Just curious.

I barely remember my own phone number.

I worked at the San Ramon headquarters.

Mr. Adams, was there ever a competition for comic strip writing or did everybody just do their own thing. Did you have any rivalries I guess is what I'm trying to say.

There is an annual awards event, like the Oscars for cartoonists, called The Reubens. I've won that, but it isn't as prestigious as it sounds. The rule is that you can only win once, so if you live long enough, and you have a published comic, your time comes.

(The rule is because Watterson would have won every year. True story.)

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

I just wanted to say I really enjoyed your article in the Journal last week. It would be great if more people actually adopted your thought process.

Right? I've been saying that for years. Why can't everyone be more like me instead of wrong all the time?

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)

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

Hi Scott,

I love your work and will be buying your new book today. I have a couple of questions.

1) How does a young college graduate find/land a job in this market? What would you be doing?

2) Would you recommend a typical business/corporate career to a new college graduate? If not, what alternatives would you recommend?

I recommend that you take jobs that give you useful skills even if you decide to change careers. Learn public speaking especially, and effective writing. I have more specific suggestions for people in your situation in the new book.

If you could be one of the two Adam Scott's which one would you be? Have people thought you were one of them?

They're both good. Actor or golfer, not bad choices.

I don't think anyone ever confused me with them.

Did you get dead-arm last night?

I didn't sleep last night. Busy times.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

What is your favorite kind of sandwich?


Any thoughts on the decline of the newspaper in general and its impact on Dilbert?

Weirdly, Dilbert has grown almost every year. When one paper in a city closed up, the other either already had Dilbert or acquired it. By contract, a comic is usually in only one newspaper per market. And we keep penetrating foreign papers, so it had a growth year in 2013.

Have you learned to draw since starting Dilbert? Any interest in other mediums such as paint or charcoals? Would enjoy seeing a cartoonist take on other styles :)

I'm not an "artist," in the usual sense. I'm no good in the other mediums, and they don't interest me.

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!

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.


No, I have the same addiction.

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

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.

No question. Just a thanks for Dilbert, your books, your blog and replying to my e-mails. You helped free me from the Matrix.

A loyal moist robot

Glad to help :-)

Oh man! I love your comics so much! I always look for Dilbert books whenever I go to libraries.
My questions are: how long does it take to write and draw one strip, and which one is your favourite?

It takes as little as ten minutes to rough it out if I start with a fertile topic. And another hour or more to do finished art, usually on a different day.

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?

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 but it is a long one.

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?

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.

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

And the Democrats and Republicans?

I don't call myself one of those either. Same reason.

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

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

I really enjoyed reading God's Debris. It was a great thought experiment! Just or of curiosity, what kind of reaction or feedback did you get from that story, and what was your inspiration for the story? Thanks!

People either loved or hated that book. The lovers were mostly between ages of 14 - 30. The haters were mostly over 40.

The inspiration came during a long shower when suddenly I realized that every thought I had about the universe could be connected, at least in fiction form.

I love the desktop calendar, and have bought (and saved) all of them going back to 1997 (tossed Jan 1, 1997 by accident, and missed 2003 for being off work).

A few years ago, the Sunday comic stopped appearing in it (3 years ago if memory serves) and Saturday's became the comic for both days. Any reason why? And whose decision was it?

Those are mostly publisher decisions, based on one sort of practicality or another.

Have you read Venkatesh Rao's article about organisational anti-patterns? In it, he classifies employees into three categories: the Sociopaths, the Losers (in an economic sense!) and the Clueless.

If so, what did you think and how does that mesh with your own views of organisational dysfunction?

That maps with my views fairly closely, if I interpret your summary correctly.

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?

That's a question for a doctor.

When making tea, do you favour the method described in BS 6008/ISO 3103 or the RSC protocol?

I'd tell my boss I did both and hope he didn't check.

Tips for an aspiring cartoonist?

First, find a real career. Then work on cartooning on the side.

Can you get the gang on a golf course. Who would be the biggest cheat?

They aren't the athletic types.

Hi Scott,

I have been a fan for a long time, I own many of your comic books, God's Debris, the Religion War, The Dilbert Principle, and now your new book.

In your opinion, what role does luck/chance play in being successful?

The new book discusses luck at length.

One could argue that luck is 100% of success. You need to be born with the right DNA in the right place and happen upon the right opportunities that you are coincidentally suited for.

But it is also true that one can move from a game with low odds to a game with better odds. I give some more specific guidance on that in the book.

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?

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.)

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?

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

What was it like writing the cartoon compared to doing a 3 panel comic?

The animated Dilbert show on TV was terrifically difficult to write because it required so many humor points on each page. A comic strip is one joke per day. Writing a TV script might be fifty times harder. I hated the work.

My dad introduced Dilbert to me when I was like 6 years old and I've loved it ever since. I'm a 5th year engineering student and my senior design professor recently brought up Catbert in a discussion about negotiating job specifics. Was there some horrible HR person that gave you inspiration for that character? Or is it just the worst HR person you could imagine?

Actually, Catbert started as a generic cat that encountered Dogbert one day in the strip. Hundreds of people emailed to say, "Keep Catbert!"

Yes, they all named him Catbert at the same time.

So I kept him, but I needed him to have a place in the Dilbert world. HR is a lot like cats because they like to torture you before downsizing you. It just made sense.

Who should play Dilbert in the live action movie?

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

Jack Black has to play the boss.

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.

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


I was correcting some Internet rumors in the most entertaining (for me) way. For example, there were rumors on the Internet that I am a holocaust denier, that I don't believe in evolution, etc.

And it worked :-)

Hey, Scott why was the Dilbert T.V. series canceled?

True story: We lost our time slot because of a management miscommunication. That tanked ratings in the second season. At the same time UPN decided to shift focus to African-American programming. Wrong place at the wrong time.

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.

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.

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 Were you ever approached to cameo in that episode?

EDIT: Andy was Matthew not Andy.

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.

Dear Scott,

I am a young professional about to go into sales, or something. I'm not really sure what I want to be doing. I started out college as a Mechanical Engineer, then learned the hard way I don't understand calculus. This really hurt my grades and shook up all my plans for the future. I am now a business major, but I'm still unsure as to whether or not this is the right path. How did you figure out you didn't want to work in an office, and is there any advice that you can offer? Also, is it appropriate to compare my co-workers to characters from the strip? My dad and I both do it all the time.

Best regards, Chris

PS: I've been reading Dilbert cartoons for as long as I could read, spent countless hours playing "Dilbert's Desktop Games", was Dilbert for Halloween one year, and I put your new book at the top of my want list for my birthday.

I recommend continuous learning. Keep layering on complementary skills.

I have my job despite being a mediocre artist with average writing skills and an okay sense of humor. What makes me special is that I can do all three things and few people can. So keep adding skills until you become valuable. (That's a major theme of my new book.)

Do you have a pencil I can borrow?

Yes. I'll leave it in the driveway.

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


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?

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

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

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

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

Why is he so sexy?

Several years ago you did an item on the website about Dilbert's ultimate house. It had many energy saving and eco-friendly features, and was just a really cool overall concept. Did you or anyone you know ever incorporate any of those ideas into a real home?

Yes. I built my own home in 2009 and used a number of those concepts, such as the cat's bathroom.

Hi Scott,

What are your current favorite webcomics?

I don't read any comics online outside of

Do you enjoy XKCD?

It's a smart comic. I like it.

I remember reading your blog post about "fossils are bullshit", where you say that finding morphological differences is all just bullshit. Do you still stand by that position? And why are you so skeptical about that line of reasoning for evolution while you accept others?

  1. Evolution is a scientific fact.
  2. Many people misinterpret the post you reference.

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

Dilbert 2:

Dilbert 3:

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.

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.

You once wrote:

I just think that evolution looks like a blend of science and bullshit, and have predicted for years that it would be revised in scientific terms in my lifetime. It’s a hunch – nothing more.

Do you still feel this way? If so, do you have any basis for calling evolution a "blend of science and bullshit" other than just "a hunch"?

You don't think there's at least one fossilized dog turd that got classified as a prehistoric sloth toe?

The question you should have asked is how much of the data I think is bullshit, percentage-wise. Almost everything that is big and complicated and interpreted by humans is part bullshit. The magical thinking is imagining there are no flawed humans in the field of science.

Doesn't sound as if you've ever worked for a big company.

Man I missed the boat on this one but I think I will tell this story since Scott Adams will likely never see it.

Back in the dial up days Scott used to put his email address on the edge of his comic. So for a while anyone who picked up the funnies could shoot him an email. I was about 15 at the time and decided to figure out how to send an email. So I sent him my first email. I told him how much I liked the comic and that this was my first email.

He responded! I was amazed. Thanks Scott Adams for that awesome experience.

And here it is again.

I just keep giving :-)

Damnit, the maker of my favorite comic does an AMA and i'm late to the party, and can't think of any good questions.

Well, actually, i want to know if there's a real life version of wally.

Yes, he was inspired by a coworker.

My dad has Spasmodic Dysphonia. He gets the injections to remedy, but after hearing you on NPR the other day, I can say that his voice doesn't sound nearly as clear as yours does now. Did you try anything other than the surgery? What worked best? Do you think the condition is stress related?

Stress can exacerbate it, but I have no reason to think it is a cause. It usually (nearly always) first appears after a common respiratory issue of one sort or another.

I tried Botox shots too. It only helped sometimes because it is an imprecise process. I tell that story in more detail in the new book.

What do you think of the Dilbert-based series Foxtrot did?


Scotty, you're an ass and I have nothing to learn from you.

I taught you brevity.


I'll bet you say that to all the cartoonists you imagine conversing with.

Have you been paid for using your "horned boss" image in "Despicable Me"?

No. My best guess is that it was created without realizing the similarity and then there was an "Oh, Shit!" moment when it ran in theaters and a million people pointed it out.

Heh you typed your link wrong.

Also can you give your side of the story on this article?

I don't think you understand what Jezebel does.

God's Debris is so damn good. Life changing for me. Thank you.

I didn't mean to change your life. Is it crime now? I just need to know.

God's Debris is one of my favorite books of all time. When I read it, it blew my mind and subsequently I read it once a year . What made you write that book and how did you come up with so much mind boggling content?

Thank you.

The book is sort of a tapestry of thoughts that had occurred to me over my lifetime. The AHA moment (literally in the shower) was realizing that all of the ideas could be tied together, at least for fiction.

I'm here after the AMA, but I just want to thank you for the term "cow-worker" as a pronunciation for coworker.

I cannot type the word without saying cow, and I love it.

I KNEW I was on this earth for a reason!

Glad to help :-)

Do you have other sock puppets like Plannedchaos, that wax lyrical about Scott Adams' intelligence?

You claimed as that sock puppet that Scott is a certified genius ... Do you actually have certification of this?

Thanks for doing the AMA.

MENSA certifies geniuses, figuratively speaking. I realize that's a problem for the literal-minded.

Don't hate me because I paid attention in school.

Sup Scott,

I live down the street from you (no joke), and when I was a kid I always went to your house for Halloween, since you hooked it up fat with the monosaccharides. Anyways, can you explain the indoor tennis court?


I don't have a question, I just wanted to say thank you. When I was a kid, my dad would lock me in my room for days, weeks, sometimes even months on end. One day, I snuck out and grabbed the first stack of books I could find. They were your comic strip anthologies. They were gold to a boy that loved reading, yet barely knew how. The only other books I had in my room were Cat in The Hat, The Witches, and the dictionary. I kept them sealed in a ziplock plastic bag in the reservoir of my toilet so my parents wouldn't find them. I read them over and over, when I finished one I immediately started another. I'd estimate that I read those 3 books probably 500 or 600 times over the years. At times certain references or jokes would go over my head so I'd write them down, and wait to look it up on the computer or in the encyclopedia during those few times when I wasn't locked in my room. I learned what the Berlin Wall was because of a strip where dogbert creates a museum of sorts and pretends a chunk of sidewalk is from the Berlin Wall. You taught me so much about technology, life, history, humor, and countless other things. You are the reason that I kept my head up all those years. Your red writing in the margins taught me that even genius isn't instant, and that sometimes comments can be even funnier than content. You are the main reason I decided to start writing once I escaped his grasp. I still have those books, and whenever I feel confined I look to your comics. You will always be my hero, and I love all your characters, especially the garbage man. I always imagined him coming and inventing something for me to escape that tiny barren room. I just want to thank you and your curly tie creation for helping a boy survive his childhood.

TL;DR -- Dilbert is the only thing an abused boy ever read.

Thank you, Scott Adams,

Your biggest fan,


EDIT: Clarifying hiding the books from my parents, and TL;DR

I did all of that? I'll be darned.

Glad to help, Alex.

I dont have a question Mr Adams, just want to congratulate you on your success. as something that has been around for so long, Dilbert still feels the same to me as when I was young. big fan, keep up the excellent work.

Thank you. I appreciate that.

Hey Scott! I used to read Dilbert as a little kid and absolutely loved your animal characters. I loved the sort of kinship between Dogbert and the Garbageman, as the smartest characters in the strip. How did the Garbageman come about, what was your inspiration for the character?

It's a standard humor writing trick to put the wrong (opposite stereotype) personality in a character.

What involvement did you have in the Dilbert Animated series from I think back in the 90's? I loved that series, and enjoy your comics.

And was their any inspiration in your life for characters, like the Pointy Haired Boss, or Catbert?

A lot, but only on the writing and character side of things. I wasn't directly involved in the managing of it, editing, etc. I had a co-executive producer credit.

Is it hard to come up with constant ideas? Do you have a backlog ready for release when you can't think of a new one?

The constant ideas are easy. It's the new ideas that are a challenge.

I think my terrible memory and focus allow new ideas to stream in to my mind unfiltered. It's harder for me to turn off creativity than to summon it.

When was the moment when you realised "Dilbert" had gone viral? How did you feel?

There wasn't a moment. It was a long series of small steps.

why do you hate women?

I love 'em.

Sir. You are a god.

Great, now I don't believe in myself.

Why do you hate ladies? or is that the garfield guy

Where have you been?

Hey Scott! I don't really have anything in particular to ask, but as a fellow Pleasanton dweller I just felt like I should say hello.

Yes, you should. It's a town ordinance.

How many comics do you have written for future release right now? And is that a typical amount? Do you ever find yourself racing against the deadline to get the next one out?

For the dailies I have about three weeks in some form of rough or finished/submitted art. The Sundays are a bit further out.

What technology do you use daily that has helped you in creating comic strips?

I create the comic on a Wacom Cintiq. I draw with a stylus directly to the screen. Photoshop software, Windows machine.

Hello Mr.Adams, I hope you are having a good day today. Its hard to thank a blatant PR move, but nonetheless I'm sure your time is far more valuable than some of us.

Do you have any plans on continuing books in the Gods Debris, Religion War vein? I'm not a big fan of autobiographical books on the living, as your "struggles" are like mine and will only be truly be over when we've been rewarded with death.

Also, as a cartoonist, as much as I do enjoy reading and experiencing Dilbert, was being syndicated a reason why you couldn't experiment with different styles, or was that a personal(read: artistic) choice (happiness uber alles)?

I ask that secondary question not out of malice, but out of artistic (self) concern, as any experiments with style could have been done with Dilbert comic books(different variations on the theme) and the likes (I really do miss your cartoon, because you achieved comedy without being raunchy). In this last paragraph, I do want to exercise some discretion as I don't know if your fan base would allow that.

Thank you for your time if you read this, and please ignore any overt grammatical/syntax errors, all of my unpublished work(s) is having a field day with my psyche.

Thanks again, and have an affluent day!

edit: I used vain instead of vein, oh and I misspelled concern, I put a t in it.

I look forward to dying so you will feel the need to read my book. But you should see it more as memoir than autobiography. I'm only including stuff about my life that would seem relevant to the reader's own experience in some way.

No plans for another God's Debris type of book.

Good afternoon. No question. Just popping by to say "hi". I enjoy your work.

That feels like flirting. Thank you.

What made you want to create a comic about mundane office work?

It didn't start that way. Dilbert was rarely at work in the early days. But readers told me they liked the workplace strips the best, so I evolved to that quickly.

I teach business and marketing to high school students and find your comic strips relate so well to some of the concepts. I used to work in the IT industry and hung up many of your strips in my cubicle (shudder).
Do you do any research in the areas you poke fun of or is it all from past work experiences? Thanks for so many laughs over the years and best of luck with the new book.

I do research on workplace trends that are new.


You mean God's Debris.


The hard part is being funny, and no one can teach that.

You used to work near Jimmy Lerner back at Pacific Bell. Do you think your work with Dilbert inspired his "You Got Nothing Coming?"

I actually talk about that in the new book. He was one of two people I worked with who later published their own books. I do think success is like a virus, in the sense that when your friend makes it you think it looks accessible to you. So maybe.

How much of Dilbert is taken from your personal experience at work?

It's all informed by that experience, but the actual topic choices are perhaps only 20% from memory these days.

How did it feel winning TIME magazines 2006 person of the year? I imagine VERY prestigious.

I wish I had.

Finally a rumor that is in my favor.

How does the creative process of Dilbert work?

Do you sit down and draw something every day? Or do you have spurts of imagination, create 5-6 strips on a day and then go blank until inspiration hits?

How long does it take to, once you have a idea, get a strip out?

Two rough dailies each of Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri between 5-10 AM.

One Sunday, rough art or just writing on Wednesday.

Finished art on evenings and weekend mornings, usually while watching TV to keep me from insanity.

Hello Scott!

I recently read 'God's Debris' (yesterday actually) and found it a very enjoyable thought experiment.

I have read that some people suggest that the 'intentional logical errors and mistakes' you mention at the beginning is actually a way of allowing yourself to write the book without the sufficient research required to understand the topics you discuss. What would you say to them?

They don't realize that if I had researched that stuff I still would have gotten it wrong.

But accuracy was never an objective. It says so in the intro.

You've written at length about building your (remarkably eco-friendly) house. Since nobody is ever actually finished building a house, what's the next major project on the homestead?

I'm in the continuous minor repair phase.

Growing up I played with legos, then erector sets, then small block Chevys. During this time I was called weird from family and other peoples friends. I am now an engineer that spends my day in a cube putting out fires that are created by upper management. Is this what you would call the knack, and if so is it being put to good use?

I believe it is :-)

Hello Scott, nice having you around doing this AMA. I know most question are probably about dilbert, but I want to ask you about 'God's debris'. I recently read that book with a friend, and it sparkled a nice debate about life, God and everything else related to those matters. My question is, what led you to writing it? Was it a moment in your life that led you to those thoughts or was it simply a thought exercise, as you described it?

anyway ty for all your work, I've also read 'dilbert principle' and the daily strips, you always amuse me.

Answered elsewhere in this AMA.

Whenever I get linked to your blog it's because you're acting like a total dildo. Is that how you are for real? Follow-up: Have you considered you might be the type of workplace grognard that would fit in perfectly in your comics?

I have several personalities. You'd like at least 5 of the 7.

I think I am the only person on the planet who misses the Dilberito! They were fantastic. So, thanks for that. :)

They were tasty.

We went to the same school, can you tell me your thoughts on Hartwick? I think it's so cool that you went there, but people hardly publicize it and I think that is crazy.

You should read the comparison of Hartwick and Harvard in Gladwell's new book, David and Goliath.

Hi Scott, huge fan here.

I read Gods Debris and followed your instructions way back when and e-mailed you with my reactions, and actually got an e-mail back from you which made me very happy! Anyway, since I loved Gods Debris so much, do you have any plans to do any other "thought experiment wrapped in a story" projects again? Or is there anything in that vein that you've done since that I might not be aware of?

No plans along those lines, but I'm happy you liked it :-)

Does the paranoid schizophrenic woman still haunt your site? Why do you think she became obsessed with you? Has she ever shown up at a book signing? Thanks for all the laughs. The dilbert principle was superb.

Everyone needs a stalker. But I call her my mascot because it sounds less stabby.

What would half a dozen niad pulse converters and an Anza Brush look like?

Totally cool.

How often(other than this AMA) do you encounter overly-obsessed fans like Matthew was on NewsRadio?

I only encounter that when I'm travelling in my author capacity and in public events. It doesn't happen in my town, and I'm not recognized elsewhere in public.

I remember reading a Monologue at the beginning of one of your comic collection books which started with " Every time i turn around, well, I get dizzy..." ever since i've fallen in love with your comics XD

Basicly what I'd like to know is.... How is such genius created?

Nice way to lure me into answering your question.

I know genius when I see it too. :-)

First off: Thanks for all the memories!

Secondly: Is there a reason it's been so long since you've had a protracted, coherent, storyline? Longer stories tend to draw me in more and make sure I read the strip daily, rather than just looking it up at random.

I only do that a few times a year. I'm probably overdue.

I heard you on NPR the other day and thought it was fascinating on how you overcame your complication with your shaking hand and speech problems! Thanks for Dilbert!

Science! Glad I was born in this time.

I read your book, God's Debris, and it literally changed my perspective on everything. I just wanted to say thank you *Edit for spelling

Thanks. Wow.

Hi, I absolutely LOVED God's Debris. Could you explain what the inspiration behind the book was?

It's hands down one of the best books I've read.

Thanks for doing this AMA.

Only because you haven't read my new one.

Other answers are above.

Can you verify my clam?

Yep. It's good. Move along.

Hey Scott, would you consider yourself a troll?

I'm never in it for the trouble alone. Big difference.

You do an amazing job of keeping Dilbert's corporate environment generic so that it relates to a wide range of corporate industries.

I'm curious, though, do you ever picture, in your mind, a specific industry that Dilbert works in, beyond this generic corporate/IT setting you have created?

I don't.

How much is the Topper based on your own experiences?

He's based on a coworker. We never really knew how much of his topping was complete bullshit.

I'm blatantly ignoring the disclaimer in the introduction by asking this, but how closely does God's Debris reflect your worldview?

My worldview is that human minds aren't capable of an accurate interpretation of reality. We're the blind guy touching the elephant's trunk and guessing what else is going on there.

Not sure if you are still taking questions, but I would like to say I was absolutely riveted reading your novella God's Debris. Do you plan to write anything else in a similar vein?

No plans. I'm glad you liked it.

Dilbert was such a big part of my childhood! I wish had a witty question but I don't.

Have I taught you nothing?

I understand you used to be a software engineer before becoming a cartoonist. How much of what happens to Dilbert have you actually experienced?

I did some coding, but I was far from a software engineer. Or any kind of engineer, despite what my business card said.

I had a dozen or so corporate jobs.

Hey Scott! Other redditors seem to have covered most of the bases but you write A LOT. Have you ever accidentally told the same joke in two different strips?

Oh, yeah. Several times. And I get called out on it every time on There's always someone posting the link to the original.

So, I am kind of confused about you. Do you embrace the corporate culture or resent it ?

In other words are you more of a Wally or a Dilbert?

It's flawed, but I wouldn't pretend to have a better model for getting stuff done.

I wish I knew this was coming earlier, as I'm sure I've missed you. I just wanted to say that God's Debris was one of the most intelligent and inspiring things I have ever read. Ever since I have not accepted any truths simply because I can't quickly disprove them, as there are probably a plethora of equally ridiculous answers.

No question. Just thank you. Know you changed my life.

Thank you. Glad you liked it.

If you liked that, you'll like the new book.

My family owns one of the comic that you did commentary underneath each/most strip "something something High Defective People" (cover and about half of the back spine got torn off), so I don't have anything I'm particularly interested in asking you, since a lot of things are explained in that book.

I haven't read a whole lot of your newer comics aside from the sunday strips in the newpaper comics, but what ever happened to Dilbert inventing stuff? Or going places besides his office? Has the series pretty much just gotten to office jokes?

Yes, the public demanded mostly workplace humor, so I complied. You are in the 10% who would prefer it otherwise.

Hey, long time fan. What if anything was the inspiration for Loud Howard?

There's always that guy who talks too loudly.

As a cartoonist your work is known the world over. Everyone knows Dilbert and Wally. However you rarely see the actual cartoonist. How many people walk up to you on the street and recognize you?

Zero. Except in my own town.

I also wanted to message thank you for the childhood memory. My father and I bonded over dilbert and you did a great job. thank you so much. just a response would be awesome and i can show my dad.

Also, movie?

I'm glad I helped with the bonding.

Movie someday. The search is on hold while I'm doing book stuff and launching a startup on the side.

When I was 12 I started reading your comic, then your book (The Dilbert Principle) and became a DNRC member. Your comic was extraordinarily influential on coloring my views of office life and what it's like. At one point I considered becoming a software engineer but after reading everything that happens to them, I decided against it and went into advertising instead. Maybe a bit more evil, definitely a lot more fun.

Do you think the Dilbert Principle still applies, or has it changed at all with leaner organizations and a more 'entrepreneurial' approach to business?

Seriously though, I just want to thank you. You made me laugh many times. I wore my dilbert/calvin klein looking shirt all the time from when I got it at my bar mitzvah all the way to high school graduation. A lot of my job is humor and your strip showed me how to find humor in everything. Thank you.

I think the Dilbert Principle has probably lessened as smart people migrate from doing the work to managing.

How is your voice box botox going? I had a boss who had that same issue. I told him about you using Botox to be able to speak again. He tried it and it worked, for a while.

Botox wasn't reliable for me. I had surgery at UCLA and I'm all fixed now.

What was Jimmy Lerner like? Were you surprised by his incarceration?

He was in marketing. I assume all of those guys have strangled at least one acquaintance.

Good sir:

I think your only computer will be your phone. The monitor will sense it and jump alive when you get near. TV too.

Did you ever work as an engineer? If so, what kind? If not, shame on you!

I was a fake telecom engineer for a few years.

How did you get Dilbert syndicated?

Short answer: a book titled Artist's Markets explained how. Just send copies of your work to the addresses listed.

Hi there! Thank you for doing this ama. In my country, newspaper publications are cutting down on the number of comic strips, and I can only suppose this is a worldwide phenomenon due to the Internet. How does this affect you?

So far, I almost always survive the cuts.

Whatever happened to the Dilbert Ultimate House? I spent waaay too much time on the virtual tour years ago and felt very inspired by some of the ideas. Are there any plans to revamp that idea and put it back online? Thanks for doing this AMA!

I'd like to return to that for fun.

I built a house in 2009 and used some of the ideas.

What was your restaurateur experience like?

And I assume you've read Rule Zero, it was obviously influenced by you. Wasn't that book awesome?

Haven't read that book.

Owning a restaurant can be amazingly fun. Managing it sucks. Luckily I didn't manage.

I don't really have a question, I just wanted to let you know that God's Debris was one of the most influential and important books I've ever read. Thank you so much for that.

Thank you.

The new book might replace it in your mind. But you won't necessarily realize it right away.

How is your voice these days?

Totally functional, and actually better than before the voice problem started because I learned so much about proper voice technique. Once the surgery fixed the physical issue, I came out way ahead.

Hi Scott! You taught me how to dance. I'm so very grateful. I once drunkenly emailed you to thank you for the fact but here's a more public thanks.

I will add that to my Wikipedia page.


Just saw it today. I can understand your fascination.

I just want to say that I still read Dilbert every fuckin' day! Haha! It's still great after all these years.

I like my compliments with cursing!

Hi Scott!

I spent a large portion of my childhood (after school) at my dads office/workspace. Reading Dilbert comics off of peoples walls and cubicles, and newspaper, where the highlight of my afternoon.

My dad bought me the DvD set of the Dilbert show and I rewatch the season every now and again.

When I was 14 I read your book Gods Derbies and it had a great affect on my outlook on life, I actually plan to read it again but I have been having trouble finding it in a bookstore (going to just order of amazon today I think).

I name all the machines that I use XXXXMaster - 9000

Also I love that your comics are archived online. Raising my glass in hopes that you read this.

Why doesn't Dilbert just buy a new tie?

I feel as if I raised you. I hope you don't become a serial killer because I'd feel like it was my fault.

Dear Mr. Adams, you mentioned God's Debris. I came here to ask about this book. The idea behind it is absolutely brilliant IMHO. I understand it's speculative, but I can't find a flaw with your take on probability (don't want to be too clear here not to spoil it for others). It is at least as believable as any other hypothesis about the same thing - probably more. My question is, how much do you believe it?

I don't think our brains are equipped to understand our environment.

I have never found it funny. Not once. I am sorry.

Stay alive! I will get you yet!

I have no questions as I am dumbstruck just seeing you on here. I just want to say thank you for the ages of laughs I get to now direct at coworkers, customers, users, and management. You have made my employment both a blessing and a curse, and I wish you the best in the world as thanks.

Glad to help. Except for the curse part.

What's going on with Stacey's restaurant? Do you own it, or just back it financially?

Neither, now. I got out several years ago.

Why are you so sexy?

It's the glasses.

How often to people confuse you for the guy from Parks and Rec?

Not yet.

Hello, Mr. Adams! I don't read Dilbert too much (more often than not, it just reminds me of my dad's job at Microsoft), but I have read your short story, God's Debris: A Thought Experiment, which is by far one of the most philosophical and engaging short stories I've ever read.

For those who are unfamiliar, I'll try to sum up the gist of it:

A delivery driver delivers a package to a seemingly all-knowing old man. The two of them talk for a very long time about life, the universe, and everything.
At one point, the old man explains that God does exist and is omnipotent/omnipresent. However, God finds this state disagreeable, because in this state there is no course of action He can take that He has not already taken. He sees no point in continuing to exist in this state.
It is with this rationale in mind that God decides to do the unthinkable: He kills Himself.

Now initially, this may seem like a horrible idea. You'd think, after all, that it would result in the destruction of existence. But it doesn't!
Instead, it results in the existence of our universe. Everything is just a chunk of God left over from Him blowing Himself up.

I would go on, but if you want to know more, you should just read the book.

ANYWAYS, I wanted to ask you a few things about the book, Mr. Adams:

  1. How many of the ideas in this book did you arrive at on your own? How many are borrowed from friends and colleagues?

  2. How much truth do you think the ideas in this book have? Which do you believe?

  3. How often do you find yourself thinking about this sort of thing?

  4. To what extent have you incorporated these ideas into your worldview and personality? How often do find yourself responding to a situation in a way that reflects these ideas?

I, personally, have been pretty profoundly affected by this book, and want to express gratitude for making this topic interesting and approachable.
Thank you for you time, Scott Adams!

I'm quite surprised how many people are making similar comments on here about that book.

You'd like the new one.

You seem to see the BS in the corporate world we all deal with. Do you think we will see common sense ever come back to the work place? Or are we doomed to let money and greed rule our logic forever?

Until the robots.

Do you read any webcomics, and if so, what?

It'd really make me happy to know you dig xkcd.

I'm not a regular reader of other comics, in part because I don't want to be influenced, but xkcd is a smart comic. I like it.

Thanks for this!

Do you have any plans to write any more books/novellas in the same vein as Gods debris and the religion war? I thoroughly enjoyed both of those books.

No plans, but thanks for asking.

The new book might be the type of vibe you'd like.

Stephan Pastis references you as launching his career. Are you two close? Is he really as annoying as he portrays himself? How did you feel about him portraying you as a crazy "Elvis"-type character?

We're friends. He's as fun in person as you'd expect.

First off, thanks for Dilbert. I've been a fan for a long time, of the strip and the series.

My question is this: I used to play a Dilbert game on my pc back in the day. Any idea where I can still get a copy?

I wish I knew.

Hey Scott, God's Debris was one of those books that, after I read it, altered the course of my academic endeavors. I was wondering who influenced you to write it, as in, what writers/thinkers? Thanks!

No influences that I'm consciously aware of. It was just a collection of ideas I've noodled with over the years and found a way to tie together for fiction.

My first contact with your comic was during Philosophy classes. I remember the class book had a Dilbert strip and I've been a fan ever since the 90's. Do you think of your work in philosophical terms when you're creating a strip? Thanks for showing the world what it's like to be an engineer working in projects for management people. I should have seen that coming....

I just try to be funny. Sometimes that requires a point of view that appears to be part of a philosophy.

I'm sure you simultaneously know and don't know exactly how truly your strip reflects across all engineering related things. You are a Schrodinger's cat of the comic and engineering worlds. Have you ever considered if your observations influence results in a completely bullshit Butterfly Effect kind of way?

Doesn't every action ripple across the universe forever?

If you could only eat one flavor of ice cream for the rest of your life what would it be? Please don't say vanilla. I hate vanilla.


No, it's vanilla. Sorry.

I remember you mentioning something called the "Dilberito" long ago. It was a vegan microwave burrito.

  1. How did it come about? Did a burrito company approach you, or was this your baby?

  2. Do you have any amusing or regretful burrito-related anecdotes?

I love that this exists, because it's kind of insane, but at the same time there isn't any real reason why- hell, Snoopy sells life insurance.

I started the company with a food expert. I didn't have the marketing muscle to keep competitors from "burying" it on the shelf, so even when we were sold into major stores the customers didn't often see it. The competitors just moved their product in front of mine in every store. They had boots on the ground. Classic dirty trick in the industry and worked like a charm.

God's Debris is one of my favorite books (go read it if you haven't). Anything similar in the works?

You might like the one that came out this week. It's different but still a thinker like God's Debris.

Are you pro or anti capitalism?

Pro. Until someone comes up with a better idea.

I read that behind the scenes book you wrote explaining the origins of all the major characters, so I don't have many Dilbert questions. That was a pretty great book.

How did you get Jerry Seinfeld onto your cartoon!? Especially since you said had such a low budget. Like, since Seinfeld, the dude did Bee movie, and your cartoon (that I can remember, anyway).

My co-executive producer, the boss of the show, Larry Charles, was an original Seinfeld writer. We used a few other voices that came from the Seinfeld cast.

So ever since I saw Despicable Me a few years ago, I knew right away that the evil villian (not Vector, but his dad) looked exactly like a 3-D version of the Pointy-Haired Boss. What's the story behind this?

I don't know any more than you do about that.

Scott - first, thanks for bringing levity to the lives of cubicle dwellers everywhere.

I recall reading in one of your earlier books about your use of visualization, and repetition of written sentences (e.g. "I will score 94 on the GMAT") to achieve short term, specific goals. Do you still use this method and find it effective? Would you share some recent goals you've accomplished with its help?

That is detailed in the new book out this week.

I used to work with Ann Patrick who worked with you at Pac Bell. We worked together at Omnipoint in 96 to 01. Also used to love eating at Stacey's. Did you ever try Claude and Dominique's Bistro around the corner?

I haven't tried it. Too French.

Are you funny?

In person?

I'm generally not the funniest person in the room.

I had an ex-boss that claimed he's worked with you, David M. ring any bells? I always wondered if he was kidding or not...

Many people worked with me. Most of them were named David M., which is mostly a coincidence.

When will you know when to quit? I see a lot of comics that were hilarious in the past (FoxTrot), but are just painful to read now.

I won't know. But by then I hope to be so out of it I don't know I'm embarrassing myself.

Oh man, it's wonderful to see you here. I used to read (and watch) the comics but I always laughed because there's no way I'd live in an office environment, and there's no way it would be like that.

I've never been so wrong in my life.

Thank you for the years and years of laughs, including the ones at 2:00 in the morning as I watched the cartoons under my covers with one ear to the door and one to my speakers.

I'm also really quite speechless....I thought you were dead.

I hear that a lot.

Healthier than ever, actually.

Thank you for writing God's Debris, I have bought and given away more copies of that than any other book.

Can you please write more books like it?

You might like the new one that came out this week. Different topics but also a thinker.

do you recommend silva mind control to anyone and everyone?

I've only heard of it. Not sure of the details.

Is it true that Dilbert is based off of Kodak? I had a professor who worked there once tell me that a lot of Dilbert's experiences with the pointy-haired boss are virtually identical copies of what he had happen 20-something years ago.

No, but the Alice character is based on a woman who once worked a Kodak before working with me.

Mr. Adams, how do you feel about being lampooned by Achewood?

I'm always happy for the attention.

How did you get into tennis? Whose style do you admire the most?

I started against a wall in a parking lot when I was eleven.

I like watching Gasquet.

A long time ago you were psyched about Google allowing you to set up a search that then sent you an email for any time someone used your name and I wrote a post about it on my blog because I thought it was pretty cool too. On my blog I said something along the lines of "I'm sure people are putting his name in posts just to see if he's getting them. I wonder if Scott Adams is tired of it yet."

I received an anonymous reply that said "Not yet" and was signed "Scott."

I was doubtful then and still am but I figure I may as well ask: Was that you?

That was probably me. I do look at every mention that pops up on Google Alert.

Thank you so much for god debris, it's been my favorite thing to read since it's release in 2001.

I need to read the religion war!

Yes, you do.

Then read the one that came out this week.

But what you may not know is that I have a book coming out on Oct. 22

Why is literally every AMA ever just washed up celebs plugging for a new project while trying to ride on old fame.

Why are YOU here is the better question.

was Daniel Stern the voice you had in mind for Dilbert or was anyone else considered? (cause now i hear Daniels voice whenever i read/see Dilbert)

We auditioned a lot of people. Daniel Stern was just the best actor in addition to having the right sound.

Are you able to speak yet? I heard you had an issue with your vocal cords. I hope you've recovered.

All better, thanks to surgery.

Do you still get Scott Adams' (the text adventure creator) fanmail? How did you two fix that problem?

Rarely these days. We forward email to each other as needed.

I'm late to the party but thank you so much for God's Debris! Tremendously insightful and thought provoking.

Thank you. You'd like the new one that just came out.

I just read your article in the WSJ ( recently and found it awesome that buck the traditional idea regarding passion driving success. My question is: what would you say are a couple skills you would encourage individuals who are in their early twenties and starting out their careers to develop for future success? For a more narrow focus, perhaps what specific skills regarding entrepreneurship or investing?

That exact question is answered in detail in the new book.

But public speaking should be first on every list.

Stephan pastis depicted you as a pill poppin tv shooting Elvis lover, I just wanted to ask... Did he do your bare ass justice in his drawing?

No, but I turned the other cheek.

I'm late to this but I hope you do come back to answer some more questions. My question is that I have many of the Dilbert comic books, as well as reading the strip almost daily, and I have found on a rare occasion you have drawn Dilbert with a mouth. Was it intentional or was it just a moment of forgetfulness?

Anyways thanks for doing the AMA!

Sometimes the situation just needed a mouth.

Hey Scott, just wanted to say I loved God's Debris. Also, thanks for Dilbert. I'm more motivated to continue painting in order to never have to go back to a cubicle position again.

You really need to read my new book before doing anything rash :-)

you're funny sometimes, but why are you such a dong?

Would you believe I'm misunderstood?

Mr. Adams, First off, I am a huge fan of your books God's Debris and The Religion War. They made a huge impact on me and helped me question and eventually find my true beliefs on religion. I am wondering what made you decide to write these books, as they are so very different than the Dilbert comics that most people know you for. Also, any plans to write more books in this fashion? Thank you so much!

No more in that vein, but you'd like the new book because it's also a thinker.

Hi. Always loved Dilbert. How does it feel to have a celebrity like /u/AWildSketchAppeared draw something for you?


Hey Scott,

God's Debris was an incredibly thought provoking book for me when I was younger.

What are you currently reading/planning on reading?

I just finished Spy the Lie. It teaches you to detect lying. I learned almost all of that in hypnosis class but it was a good refresher.

You've said you thought it possible that, should Snowden ever be tried in the US, a jury would nullify; but you've made clear you're not suggesting that, in part because of the ambiguous legality of encouraging jury nullification. So, I'm curious as to your opinion of the DOJ's stance that the First Amendment was not intended to protect advocacy of jury nullification, and their attempts to use that argument in court.

I don't know enough to make an intelligent comment. But that has never stopped me before.

I'm sure the laws are well-intentioned. That's all I know.

I don't really have a question and I'm probably far too late to get noticed, but I wanted to say that the end chapter to The Dilbert Future and God's Debris as a whole had a profound impact on the way that I view reality. I'm not saying that I'm off scribbling affirmations or searching for The Truth In Everything all day, but just coming to terms with the fact that my destiny is nebulous and at least partially under my control really helped me through a lot of tough times and, in some ways, contributed to where I am right now (recently completed one of my life goals of working on music for a video game!)

I honestly haven't followed Dilbert for the past few years, but I do read God's Debris and your other books from time to time. You are an inspired man and thank you.

You'd like the new book. It is very different and yet has a sensibility you will recognize.

Over the past few years, you've come under fire for what people have deemed "misogynistic" comments. Do you feel like you've been unfairly targeted?

It's an occupational risk. But no one targets you until you are successful. I try to remember that.

Mr. Adams, When I was about 15 or so, I bought a book you wrote called "God's Debris." This book was short, but blew my mind as it kind of builds a religion around science. Anyways, that's kind of how I took it. Any afterthoughts on that book?

There's a sequel :-)

And after you read that, the new one that came out today might interest you. It's a thinker too.

Unlike most people familiar with your work, I never really followed the comic. However, I read God's Debris and enjoyed it very much.

Can you tell me a little about what it was like writing that? What inspired that book?

That is answered earlier.

If I'm not too late, I've got three questions, in order of importance:

If you were releasing Dilbert today, would you try to release it online exclusively? If so, would you make any changes to the format of the strip (panel layout, length of comic, content, etc.).

I've read a lot of Bill Watterson's thoughts on the whole licensing thing. What are your thoughts here, regarding its effects on the "soul" of your characters? If you could change anything in the past, would you and why?

What's your relationship like with other cartoonists? Does it vary artist by artist?

Licensing is nothing but giving people what they want. And when they don't want it, they don't buy it.

No one is injured in the process, especially the line drawings in the comic.

Yes! I have been waiting for this moment! I heard you talking on the radio last night, and I found you so interesting that I made sure I wrote your name down before I went to bed so I could remember if I some how forgot. I love your comic by the way! I will definitely read your book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, which you also mentioned during your talk. You're absolutely awesome! I can't wait to read your book!

Nice to see you :-)

Do you still hate macs?

I haven't used one in ages.

Did you ever get to meet any of the other legends of Comic Writing? Have they influenced your content at all? "legends" meaning Bill waterson, Gary Larson, Charles Schultz, etc. If there's anyone else that you consider legendary but may not be as well known to my younger generation PLEASE mention them =)

Schultz a few times. And most other cartoonists except Larson and Watterson.

I read the Dilbert Future when I was a kid , and I was always interested in your theories on the future and web gravity. What led you to write that book?

Answered earlier

When you list the dimensions of humor in "The Joy Of Work," why does cleverness count as one dimension instead of three (exaggeration, play on words, broken logic)?

Because any of those three things works as the one dimension.

Mr Adams - in case you catch this one later - any recommendations on someone with severe carpal tunnel? I heard it hit you bad, and it's starting to hit me really hard. I'm only 27, but my "mouse fingers" are starting to go numb....any tips? :D

I didn't have that. I had a focal dystonia in my hand.

Hey Scott, I just have to say, I love your work, and I know i'm a little more, but i'm curious. Are you ever going to come out with another collection of blog posts? I LOVED "Monkey Brian"!

No, the Internet puked on me for putting blog posts in a book.

I know you're already gone, Mr. Adams, but I have a question I've always wanted to pose to you, ever since I read God's Debris:

What is the number one thing in that book that when you thought of it/realized it/came up with it that really opened your eyes?

For me, it was the explanation of the Big Bang. Absolutely blew my mind. I'll admit, I don't believe it, but it's the only thing I've ever read that bridged the Big Bang Theory and religion.

Please write more like God's Debris, if you ever feel so inclined.

I'd say the Big Bang part was the exciting thought too.

A friend told me today about a story where a guy next to you on a plane talked about his system oriented career choices instead of goal oriented like most people. Mind elaborating?

Ps: sorry if that isn't grammatically correct.

That story is in the new book.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Scott Adams conducted on Reddit on 2013-10-23. The Reddit AMA can be found here.