September 4, 2009
Our usual method for determining what sorts of Dilbert products the public might want involves a process I like to call guessing. This is tricky because the people who are drawn to careers in, for example, the T-shirt arts, don’t have a lot in common with the typical Dilbert reader who is, generally speaking, good at math.
Lately we’ve been wondering what type of Dilbert-themed toy, gadget, or decorative item you’d want for your cubicle, or as a gift for someone who is toiling in one. So I’m asking for your opinions.
Allow me to pause here to insert a crazy reader rant so you don’t have to: MY GOD, DON’T YOU MAKE ENOUGH MONEY WITH DILBERT ALREADY?? WHY MUST YOU USE YOUR BLOG FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES? WORSE YET, YOU ARE TRYING TO TRICK US INTO DOING YOUR WORK! YOU SUCK! I WILL NEVER COME HERE AGAIN! AND MUSIC SHOULD BE FREE! RADIOHEAD RULES!!!
Okay, I’m back now.
I would think the perfect Dilbert feature for a cubicle would be more than just funny or whimsical. It should be practical and even solve some sort of problem. That’s my take on who Dilbert readers are. In a word, you are optimizers. No matter what the situation, you tend to ask yourself “What’s a more clever way to do that?”
A typical cubicle has crap all over the desktop, the whiteboard is full, if you have one, and any drawers and storage are crammed. But you might have a few feet of fabric-covered wall space to play with. So imagine a chess set featuring the Dilbert characters as various pieces, but they are push-pin design, so you can play on your cubicle wall. Or the pieces might be magnetic if you have a metal whiteboard. It’s a cool concept until your weasel coworkers steal your knights, which are Dogberts, by the way.
I also fantasize about motion detectors disguised as Dilbert characters, placed outside your cubicle like a sentinel, that sends a wireless signal to your computer to hot-key out of your game as someone approaches.
Or how about a Dogbert doll for your desk that looks innocent, but actually has a switch on the bottom that sends a Bluetooth signal to your computer, then uses Skype to activate a robocall to your phone? That way when visitors overstay their welcome, you pretend to fondle your Dogbert doll and suddenly your phone rings.
Realistically, our licensees would probably make products that are simpler than what I just described. Imagine a Dilbert-shaped USB drive, or a Dogbert Unwelcome mat. Do you have a better suggestion?