Dilbert creator and for-profit troll Scott Adams tweeted this evening:
This was my reply:
If you read only one article about Scott Adams, it might as well be one with some educational value. That article is Forbes’ Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Is Evil (And Why You Should Follow His Lead), published in June 2018. Yes, Adams is trolling his way to the bank, but what tricks can we learn from him?
- Position yourself as an expert in an obscure area. In Adams’ case, it’s hypnotism. The article says “find an obscure niche that is relevant to your area of expertise but that others haven’t thought to talk about yet. Then claim it as your own. Your competitors won’t know what hit them.”
- Take advantage of the halo effect. “Pinpoint an area in which you’ve already had some success, even if it’s unrelated to your core business. Then, make the case that your success in that area makes you the perfect person to give advice in a more lucrative realm. You’ll be amazed at how often people will fork over money for your words of wisdom without questioning where you got it from.”
- Make bold predictions. “If you’re trying to position yourself as an expert, authority, thought leader, guru, or whatever, it is not enough to talk about what you think about the present. You must also make forecasts about the future. If any one of your predictions is wrong, you may eat a little dirt, but people will ultimately forget about it. But if you manage to hit the mark, you’ll be set for life.”
- Maintain an air of calm bemusement. “It’s a very effective tactic. What this potent brew of poise and disdain does is make it seem like he knows something we don’t. How else could [he] be so self-assured? … Practice doing the same. While it might feel like shouting your ideas passionately into the crowd is the way to go, never underestimate the power of cool. Not only will it get people to follow you, it will make it easier to deal with criticism. In fact, Scott Adams could very well be chuckling dismissively at this article right now.”
Recommended Scott Adams-related reading
Warning: This way lies madness.
- Scott Adams’ entry on RationalWiki: “Scott Adams (born 1957) is a “trained hypnotist” and cartoonist known for Dilbert, a long-running satirical comic strip about a white-collar office worker in America. His blog, which is currently a fascinating study of a man going insane, attracted some major media attention during the 2016 election. Long before that, he advanced a number of crank positions, including questioning evolution, and the validity of the fossil record. He has appeared on InfoWars, further cementing his genius IQ.”
- Comics Alliance, March 2011: ‘Dilbert’ Creator Scott Adams Compares Women Asking for Equal Pay to Children Demanding Candy. Adams joins the mens’ rights activists.
- Salon, Jube 2016: Dilbert has gone fascist: The strange unrequited love Scott Adams seems to have for Donald Trump.
- The Outline, February 2017: Dilbert Creator Scott Adams is the Worst Blogger. Part of a series of articles on bad guys, which includes Martin “Pharma Bro” Shkreli.
- The Atlantic, August 2017: Scott Adams’s Nihilistic Defense of Donald Trump. “If Adams truly is the most formidable defender of the Trump presidency, then the best defense of the president is grounded in corrosive moral nihilism.”
- Bloomberg, March 2017: How Scott Adams Got Hypnotized by Trump. In Trump, he sees a master manipulator who likes to yank people’s chains for his own benefit — and a kindred spirit. It also features another kindred spirit: Adam’s then-new and unsurprisingly-young (she’s 30; he’s 60) girlfriend (they’d been dating 3 months at that point), who’s an Instagram-famous model.
- InfoWars, April 2018: Scott Adams: Kanye West and Dennis Rodman remind us that freedom of speech empowers everybody. I’m not linking to InfoWars — you’ll have to Google that one yourself.
- Splinter, April 2018: Kanye West Appears to Be Joining Forces With a Bunch of America’s Worst Conservative Demons. Adams is one of them.
- And finally, there’s MRA Dilbert, in which Scott Adams’ words are laid over Scott Adams’ comics. The result is quite good: