Scott Adams meets the ultimate pointy-haired boss, and what you can learn from him

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?

Namely, these:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.”
  3. 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.”
  4. 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.

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