Chances are, the name Scott Adams doesn’t necessarily ring a bell. However, say the name “Dilbert,” and immediately people will identify it as the famous cartoon character in corporate America. Scott Adams is the man behind him.
Education and career
Scott Adams was born in 1957 and raised in New York, graduating with his small high school class in the Catskills as valedictorian. He moved to Northern California after his college graduation and resides in the Bay Area.
Scott actually didn’t set out to be an artist or even a cartoonist. In 1979, he graduated from Hartwick College in New York with a BA in Economics, and also became a certified hypnotist in 1981. Then, in 1986, Scott received an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley.
Upon graduation, Scott started working for Crocker National Bank in San Francisco in a variety of capacities. These positions included a teller, computer programmer, financial analyst, product manager, and commercial lender. (As an interesting side note, as a teller he was robbed at gunpoint twice).
After seven years working for Crocker, Scott then began working at Pacific Bell in 1986 in a number of technological and finance positions.
Scott began working on the Dilbert cartoon strip in 1989 while working at Pacific Bell. The Dilbert character itself was inspired by Scott’s various coworkers, a composite of his co-workers throughout the years in his various jobs. Originally, Scott started using Dilbert (the name was suggested to him by a coworker) as a character for his business presentations. Dilbert’s sidekick Dogbert was created for Dilbert.
Going from sketches for work presentations to a syndicated cartoonist took years and a lot of hard work on Scott’s part. A cartoonist he knew suggested he get a book called 1988 Artist Markets, which helps artists and cartoonists become published and get syndicated. The book gave detailed steps on how to get syndicated. Scott then drew fifty sample strips and sent them to the major cartoon syndicates in the industry. Several weeks later, he accepted a contract from United Media.
By 1989, Dilbert was launched as a syndicated cartoon. However, he still worked at Pacific Bell during the day until 1995, working on Dilbert during the mornings, evenings after work, and weekends.
Now, Dilbert is one of the most successful cartoons in the world as well as in history, appearing in 2,000 newspapers in 65 countries.
Dilbert books and website
In addition to the popular cartoons, Scott Adams has also written four books based on the Dilbert comic. The Dilbert Principle and Dogbert’s Top Secret Management Handbook were both #1 New York Times Bestsellers, and The Dilbert Future and The Joy of Work also enjoyed success as best-selling books.
In addition to the four original books, there are also a number of strip reprint books in print, making a total of 22 Dilbert books and over 10 million copies in print worldwide.
In addition to books, there is also a Dilbert web site. This was actually the first syndicated comic strip to go online and is still the most widely read comic online today.
In addition to his best selling comic, Scott Adams has ventured into other areas of business and is the CEO of Scott Adams Foods, Inc., food that contains 100% of the daily values of vitamins and minerals.
Scott Adams is the man behind one of the most popular comics in history, Dilbert.