Fun_People Archive
12 May
Dilbert Newsletter and Mailing List

Date: Thu, 12 May 94 17:36:25 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: Dilbert Newsletter and Mailing List

Forwarded-by: (Dave Yost)
[Of course this has been forwarded a ton of times.]
From: (Dilbert List)

Dilbert Newsletter 1.0


Hi.  I'm Scott Adams, author of Dilbert.  And this is the first-ever Dilbert
Newsletter.  Feel free to forward it, post it and distribute it to people who
you know would like to see it (within the bounds of good netiquette of

I've gotten about 15,000 messages from readers since I started including my
e-mail address in the strip.  Many people ask the same questions.  So as a
public service (sprinkled with self-serving promotional bits) I thought I'd
answer them this way.

Here are the most frequently asked questions and my oh-so-clever responses.

Is Dilbert a Virgin?

Sadly, yes.  I tried to solve that problem once but my editor decided the
funny papers weren't ready.  I drew a series of strips where Dilbert had a
female co-worker who was a nymphomaniac.  She confessed to Dilbert that she
had "torrid romances with half of the men in the department in the past year"
and asked if Dilbert thought she should seek counseling.  Dilbert's reply was
"Oh, I'd give it another year."  In the strips that followed, it was clear
that a happy Dilbert had become her most recent conquest.

I always wished that series had made it through the editorial net.  But
Dilbert gets another shot at it this summer when he meets a woman named Liz.
 Liz will either take Dilbert's innocence or be killed by a meteor.  I
haven't penned the ending yet.  I'm going to monitor my e-mail and see how
the sentiment flows after Liz gets introduced.  There will be a two month lag
while I decide her fate.

Any opinions?

(If Dilbert gets lucky, I'll draw the strip one day this summer with his
necktie hanging flat.  That's how you'll know.)

Do You Work at My Company?

Most people ask this question jokingly because Dilbert's job mirrors their
own.  But a surprising number of people have heard rumors that I actually do
work at their company.

There are persistent rumors that I work (or worked) at HP, DEC, IBM, AT&T,
Boeing, Honeywell and a dozen other companies.

At IBM, one employee searched the company directory looking for me and turned
up three Scott Adamss.  (My guess is that the careers of those other Scott
Adamss are not going too well.)

An employee of Mass Mutual was so sure that I worked at her company under an
assumed name, or had a spy there, that she researched all of my past comics
looking for clues.  She noticed a dinosaur named Dawn in a 1990 strip and a
restaurant sign named "Scaparotti's" in the background of another strip. Then
she found a Dawn Scaparotti in the Mass Mutual employee directory and wrote a
memo to her asking if she was the spy.  She isn't, but Dawn is my good
friend, and both the dinosaur and the restaurant were in fact named in her

The truth:  I work at Pacific Bell in San Ramon, California.  Before that, I
spent 7 years at Crocker National Bank in San Francisco.

Are You an Engineer?

Yes and no.  My business cards have said "engineer" for several years, but
that's mostly to impress women.

I work in a laboratory that develops ISDN applications.  (ISDN is a technical
standard for sending lots of data over phone lines digitally.)  So I spend my
time figuring out what hardware and software the customers need to take
advantage of Pacific Bell's ISDN lines.  And I run Pacific Bell's BBS and
manage the data on our Gopher server on the Internet.

But my background is a B.A. in economics and an MBA (mostly finance) from
Berkeley.  My technical training is all on-the-job, and frankly I usually
don't know what I'm doing.  But I get to use a battery powered screwdriver
and I can surf the Internet as a legitimate part of my job.

In previous jobs I've also pretended to be a software programmer.  Back in my
Crocker Bank days, I lied and said I could program in order to get a
higher-paying job that required it.  Then I quickly signed up for a
programming class at night.  Nerd that I am, I fell in love with it and
programmed on my own time for years, developing a string of amazingly bad and
commercially unsuccessful software products.  But damn, it was fun.

This leads me to the next question:

Are You the Same Scott Adams Who Wrote the Adventure Series Video Games years

No.  But I've gotten literally hundreds of letters from people who are big
fans of his.  If anybody knows where he is, I'd like to know where I can
forward his mail.

What's the Deal with Dilbert's Necktie?

I know what you're thinking and you should be ashamed of yourself.

Actually, I don't know why the necktie turns up like that.  Dilbert started
as a doodle -- a composite of my co-workers -- and the tie evolved.  I don't
remember thinking anything about it except that it looks right that way.
 Maybe it's a metaphor for his lack of control over even the simple things in
his environment.  Maybe he's just glad to see you.  You decide.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

About half are from my own experience and half are suggested by e-mail.  If
you want to suggest something, I'm always open.  The best way to suggest
topics is by explaining the situation itself and let me do the humor part.

I use what I call the "Two Company Rule" which means I only use corporate
situations I know to exist in more than one company.

What Does it Take to Become a Famous Cartoonist?

Some people have suggested it takes a traumatic childhood, or a blow to the
head, or abduction by sadistic aliens.  In fact, it takes all three.

My advice to all aspiring cartoonists who would compete with me is to get the
blow to the head during childhood (which is also traumatic) then use hypnosis
to uncover the memories of your alien abduction.  It's that easy.

Are You Like Dilbert?

I share Dilbert's love of technology.  And his career and social life are
drawn from my own experiences.  But my personality more closely resembles
Dogbert's.  Dogbert says the things I would say if I didn't fear retribution.

Do You Have a Dog?

I have two cats, Sarah and Freddie.  Dogs are great but they're too high
maintenance for my schedule.

How Many Papers is Dilbert In?

It's in over 200 papers, in about nine countries.  Translators rewrite the
strip for foreign languages.  As a result, Dilbert's success in other
countries is dependent on how funny the translator is.

How Far in Advance Do You Do the Strip?

I draw about two months ahead of the print date.

Is Dilbert Available Online?

Yes.  You can download Dilbert GIF files from America Online if you are a
subscriber.  Use the keyword "Dilbert" to go to the Dilbert file area.  Read
the directions for downloading there.  You need a GIF viewer, which you can
also download.

Dilbert is available to subscribers of the ClariNews service on the Internet.
 ClariNews is a service of ClariNet and it is generally site-licensed to
organizations.  People interested in ClariNet feeds for their site can
contact them at or phone 800-USE-NETS.

Dilbert is also available on the World Wide Web (WWW) for Mosaic users.  It's
on the Global Network Navigator (GNN) pages.  The URL is:

Are There Any Dilbert Books?

Yup, four of them.

"Build a Better Life by Stealing Office Supplies" (new material about working
at a big company), Andrews & McMeel,  (ISBN 0-8362-1757-8).

"Always Postpone Meetings with Time-Wasting Morons" (a compilation of the
first year), Andrews & McMeel (ISBN 0-8362-1758-6  ).  This one is hard to

"Clues for the Clueless" from Andrews and McMeel.  It's new material on the
subject of manners using the Dilbert cast (ISBN 0-8362-1737-3).

A fourth book -- a compilation of the second year of Dilbert -- titled "Shave
the Whales" is just out in May 1994.  It's from Andrews & McMeel (ISBN

How Do I get Permission to Reprint or License Dilbert?

The copyright and trademark for Dilbert are owned by United Media in New
York.  You can call them at 800-221-4816.  There would be a fee that depends
on how you want to use the strip or the characters.

When Will Dilbert be Animated?

It already is.  CGA has created a set of short animated Dilbert business
videos for meetings, workshops and presentations. The videos are based
closely on themes from the strip.  They're used primarily as ice breakers.

Six titles are currently available:

    - Dilbert on Quality
    - Dilbert on Managing Change
    - Dilbert Does Sales
    - Dilbert Does Meetings
    - Just the Breaks #1 (Mingling Groups)
    - Just the Breaks #2 (110%).

Prices start at $99. You can also get Dilbert Business Video coffee mugs,
t-shirts, and mouse pads.

Call 1-800-208-3535 for more information

What About Dilbert Shirts, Mugs, Screen Savers etc.

Dilbert Mugs and sweatshirts are available through the Sunday Comics Store at
203-359-6902.  The mug features the strip that compared cubicle workers to
prairie dogs.  The sweatshirt features Dilbert and Dogbert floating in
Cyberspace with the caption "Lost in Cyberspace."  The back of the shirt is
the reverse view.

We're working on a Screen Saver now and it should be available within the

About the Dilbert List

I'm including you on this initial mailing because you wrote to me and did one
of the things below.

      a.  You asked to be on a mailing list
      b.  You asked about Dilbert books
      c.  You identified yourself as a Dilbert fanatic.

This initial list represents about 5% of the people who have sent e-mail to
me in the last year.  I read all the e-mail personally (because my cats
refuse to help) and made the judgement about whether you'd appreciate getting
this.  I haven't included anybody who simply wrote to say they like the strip
or to ask a question.  And going forward, people will only be added to the
list by request.

I'm using a "List Server" system to automate this process.  So this will come
to you from a different e-mail address than my personal one.

You can subscribe to the Dilbert List automatically by sending an e-mail to
the address:


and include ONLY the exact message below in the body of your message (except
put your real name instead of Joe Blow).  Your e-mail address will be picked
up automatically, so you need not specify it.

            subscribe dilbert_list Joe Blow

If you want to take your name off the list automatically, send an e-mail to
the same address but include only these words in the body of the message:

            unsubscribe dilbert_list

If you want to flame me personally, my address is still
and I read all the messages.  But I may not be able to respond to all of

The frequency of the Dilbert Newsletter is approximately "whenever I feel
like it", which should be about two or three times a year.

Scott Adams

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []