Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Tiger Mike Memos
August 3, 2010 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Edward Mike Davis was the owner or Tiger Oil, an oil company operating in Houston during the 1970's. His irascible memos have been an Internet sensation for the past few years. Good things are not meant to last forever, and in 1980, Tiger Oil filed bankruptcy. Davis' hatred of people did not confine itself to the office, as this case shows. Tiger Oil was in litigation in relation to the bankruptcy filing as late as 1989.
posted by reenum (45 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wasn't sure if Mr. Davis was nuts until he started in on the standard of cleanliness expected of the rig pigs. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:28 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


TO: All Employees

SUBJECT: Celebrations of Any Kind

DATE: February 8, 1978

Per Edward Mike Davis' orders, there will be no more birthday celebrations, birthday cakes, levity or celebrations of any kind within the office.

---------------------------------------

Kind of sums it all up right there.
posted by thewittyname at 10:34 AM on August 3, 2010


"Do not speak to me when you see me. If I want to speak to you, I will do so. I want to save my throat. I don't want to ruin it by saying hello to all you sons-of-bitches."
posted by krinklyfig at 10:36 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man alive, there was a memo or two that came out during (or immediately after) the dot-com collapse. Trying to find it now, but the gist of it was that the CEO was in the office counting the empty parking places in the lot and wondering where everyone else was. Google's leaving me high and dry at the moment, but it was pretty over-the-top IIRC.
posted by jquinby at 10:38 AM on August 3, 2010


....aaaand, as soon as I hit 'post comment', I found it.
posted by jquinby at 10:39 AM on August 3, 2010


notice how neither Tiger Oil or Cerner still exist? yeah there is a reason for that.
posted by JPD at 10:41 AM on August 3, 2010


I can't help but wonder if this guy is all bark and no bite. He's pretty funny, sometimes deliberately, sometimes not. Maybe he's one of those bosses who yells a lot but everyone does pretty much whatever they want anyway, because how can you take him seriously? Sort of sounds like it. He complains that he's the only one picking up scrap metal from the yard. If he's out there doing that sort of thing, he's probably not real good with enforcing his rules, which maybe is why he's so angry all the time. He's not above trying to rip people off, as that case shows, but that's not the same as being a tyrant. But it is pretty funny. I don't think I could last very long working for someone like that. I'd end up saying something smart-ass and getting canned, or I'd walk at some point.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:44 AM on August 3, 2010


"There will be no liquor of any kind kept in any of the offices, other than by direct order of Mike Davis. That means get it out of there!"

So, his office is where you get the booze?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:45 AM on August 3, 2010


> I can't help but wonder if this guy is all bark and no bite

Yeah, there's not much more information to really contextualize these. Granted, he's probably a nutter but office culture was somewhat different in the 70s. What might seem like an HR nightmare today could've just been in good fun then. There's not really a direct causal link here between these memos and the company failing.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:46 AM on August 3, 2010


From jquimby's link:
From: Patterson,Neal To: DL_ALL_MANAGERS; Subject: MANAGEMENT DIRECTIVE: Week #10_01: Fix it or changes will be made Importance: High To the KC_based managers: I have gone over the top. I have been making this point for over one year. We are getting less than 40 hours of work from a large number of our KC-based EMPLOYEES.
Did I hear someone say over the top?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:48 AM on August 3, 2010


God I love this. Thanks.

And GET BACK TO WORK!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:48 AM on August 3, 2010


I don't know - he really just comes across as your garden-variety dick.

Internet sensation? Is there some showstopper I'm missing?
posted by ryanshepard at 10:49 AM on August 3, 2010


@JPD the company, and Neil Patterson, are still alive & kickin'

http://cerner.com/public/Cerner_2.asp?id=27586
posted by slater at 10:50 AM on August 3, 2010


Cerner is alive and well. They're one of the biggest employers in Kansas City.
posted by reenum at 10:51 AM on August 3, 2010


Man alive, there was a memo or two that came out during (or immediately after) the dot-com collapse.

That was the great thing about fuckedcompany.com back in the day. It was a fantastic repository for all the really horrendous memos and insane management directives. All the best rumors ended up there - the ones that ended up mostly being verified - and the comments were often illuminating, dominated by people in the industry. So, at least for a time Pud did make life for us who were living the dot-com nightmare a little more tolerable. Or maybe it was just because we knew we weren't alone.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:54 AM on August 3, 2010


I confused them with someone else.
posted by JPD at 10:56 AM on August 3, 2010


Yeah, there's not much more information to really contextualize these.

Check the "few years" links in the OP - the first link alludes to much history, some of which was covered on the blue a few years back in an interesting chain of events and people, and the second link has anecdotes from people who (almost) worked for Tiger Mike.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:56 AM on August 3, 2010


Mike, now YOU can pick up your last check!
posted by winks007 at 11:00 AM on August 3, 2010


I admire his spunk.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:05 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


He does sound like a huge dick, but I can appreciate his honestly over the rambling, indecipherable corporate-speak memos most people get now. He gets in, makes his point and gets out. At least you know exactly where you stand with him.
posted by thekilgore at 11:07 AM on August 3, 2010


Well, it takes a huge dick to produce that much spunk.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:09 AM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


The wide-eyed stalking tiger on the letterhead fits in nicely with the unleashed ego manifest in the typed rants. I hope he was barking these for dictation because I prefer it that way.
posted by longsleeves at 11:12 AM on August 3, 2010


DATE: 1927
TO:   Eli (You Boy)
FROM: Edward Mike Davis
RE:   Draaaainage

Drainage!  Drainage, Eli, you boy.  Drained dry.  I'm so sorry. 

Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw.  
There it is, that's a straw, you see?  You watching?  And my straw reaches 
acroooooossssss the room, and starts to drink your milkshake.

I ... drink ... your ... milkshake!  I drink it up!

P. S.  I'm finished!

posted by adipocere at 11:13 AM on August 3, 2010 [14 favorites]


What might seem like an HR nightmare today could've just been in good fun then.

Yeah, I think that was right. If you read all the way through, by the end he sounds a lot more human. He explains his craziness a bit and almost sounds apologetic. In one memo he asks that people not take his cigars, candy and medicine from his desk, explaining that if people want something, he'd be happy to give it to them. So, I think he's rough around the edges but doesn't have nearly as much control over his employees as he thinks he should. Although he sounds pretty explosive and high strung, so probably one of those bosses from which you just keep your distance and hope not to get any shrapnel on you, and later you end up with some great stories.

Of course, all this is conjecture. He could be far worse ... Seems to me like he doesn't really want people to hate him, but he doesn't quite understand how to motivate people the right way and thinks it's all about putting the fear into people, like a drill sergeant (he repeatedly mentions the Army).
posted by krinklyfig at 11:14 AM on August 3, 2010


Best. Company Letterhead. Ever.
posted by mreleganza at 11:15 AM on August 3, 2010


Given the choice of this or the weaselly bullshit and passive-aggression that pervade the modern business world, I'd go to work for Tiger Mike in a second.
posted by a young man in spats at 11:15 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Edward Mike Davis: Do not speak to me when you see me. If I want to speak to you, I will do so. I want to save my throat. I don't want to ruin it by saying hello to all of you sons-of-bitches.

Tracy Jordan: Don't look at me. Do not look at me in the eyes!
posted by defenestration at 11:32 AM on August 3, 2010


"Edward, I'd like..."
"Fuck you."
"... to meet Daniel Plainview."
"Hi."
"Fuck you, too."
/Daniel smacks Edward repeatedly with a bowling pin, screaming something about milkshakes.
"I'm finished."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:37 AM on August 3, 2010


From: Patterson,Neal To: DL_ALL_MANAGERS; Subject: MANAGEMENT DIRECTIVE: Week #10_01: Fix it or changes will be made Importance: High To the KC_based managers: I have gone over the top. I have been making this point for over one year. We are getting less than 40 hours of work from a large number of our KC-based EMPLOYEES.
Cerner is still around, as is Neal Patterson. You guys really want to get your hate for this guy? He's a huge fan of Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand. The only thing that could put a cherry on the top is that this stock has just gone up since 2003, which he credits Rand's philosophy.

Given the choice of this or the weaselly bullshit and passive-aggression that pervade the modern business world,

I agree. Besides a few over the top ones, he's simply laying out the guideline, perhaps if a bit in a very Texan manner. A boss like that is usually the first on your side should you accidentally fuck up.
posted by geoff. at 11:41 AM on August 3, 2010


Okay well this one is a bit too much. I have no idea what his problem is with vacationing around holidays to get the most days-off-in-a-row.
posted by geoff. at 11:49 AM on August 3, 2010


Given the choice of this or the weaselly bullshit and passive-aggression that pervade the modern business world, I'd go to work for Tiger Mike in a second.
I worked for a company that was run this way.

The CEO used to send out emails dictating policy all the time. Similar lack of tact.

Somebody took a snooze during their lunch break, an email went out. Graphic designers made one too many color prints on the color laser printer, an email went out. A fly landed on the CEO's desk using the wrong landing pattern, an email went out.

I was once reprimanded via email for arriving 3 minutes early, rather than 5 minutes early.

Once there was a fire in the building next door, and fire engines started arriving like crazy. The CEO told us all (40 of us) to remain at our desks while he checked to see what was going on. He went outside, determined to his satisfaction that there was no threat, and came in and used the intercom to tell us there was no problem and please go back to work.

When the CEO used the intercom, he always started with "Now hear this. NOW HEAR THIS." Military style.

He was successfully sued at one point because he was monitoring phone calls, and fired an employee because of some personal information she shared with her husband on the phone.

He fired one of the best men I had ever met, a true gem of a guy who was volunteering like crazy outside of work and showed up to work tired one day.

The CEO also refused to let me leave 30 minutes early two times a week to do service work in the community. Even when I offered to show up at 6 a.m. instead of 6:30 a.m.

My job started at 6:30 a.m. because there were customers on the east coast. I was a graphic designer and never interacted with customers.

This company also gave IQ tests to everyone who applied for a job. The CFO bragged (to anyone who would listen) about having the highest IQ in the company.

This was in 2003, at a company that did millions in sales every year. From the outside the company looked like a very successful business that kept its head down and just went to work.

From the outside, you might say, "wow, no B.S. here, just hard workers. None of this passive-aggressive crap!"

But instead of passive-aggressive crap, you had top-performing employees with desk drawers full of hard pharmaceuticals, trying desperately to manage raging anxiety disorders while they told interns it was a great place to work if you didn't expect to be "babied."

Working at this place was truly eye-opening. And I only worked there for three months. After that I realized: "If these guys can do it, I can do it my way and be successful too."

I quit, moved away, and started my own business, which is now doing great.

About a month after I quit, the speech disorder I started to develop while working there started to go away.

I talked about it with a friend of mine who's a doctor, told him about the speech thing. He looked genuinely happy, as if I had quit smoking or something. I had never seen a doctor brighten up like that before.

It's tempting to look back and think, "well that place really schooled me, after I had been so spoiled." But there are people who continue to work there, who suffer from severe health issues as a result. They do not deserve that, and I would not wish it on anyone. But they say they need the money...
posted by circular at 11:51 AM on August 3, 2010 [15 favorites]


So, his office is where you get the booze?

No, he wrote a memo about those sons-of-bitches:

"I do not appreciate people coming into my office and helping themselves to my candy, cigars, medicine and other personal items.

Unless you have my permission, you are not allowed to remove _anything_ from my office, and particularly, do not remove anything from my desk drawers without my approval."
posted by madajb at 11:57 AM on August 3, 2010


Oh man. When I worked at a company whose name rhymes with Schmeh-pic, making fun of Neil and his minions at Cerner was a daily activity. It was apparently right after he wrote that memo, too. Ah, the memories!
posted by Madamina at 11:58 AM on August 3, 2010


Yeah, I don't find this stuff in the least bit funny. If I ever received an email or memo like any of those from my boss I'd be straight into his (oh, it'd definitely be a he) office for a huge row, and I sure as hell wouldn't be too unhappy if he canned me. I'd enjoy taking his gobshite arse to court for wrongful dismissal.

Treating your employees like naughty children? Not acceptable then; certainly not acceptable now.
posted by Decani at 12:45 PM on August 3, 2010


I bet this never happened at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:14 PM on August 3, 2010


Maybe I'm going nuts, but I could swear the Tiger Mike memos were posted here sometime in the last few months (but I can't find a post)... at any rate, lots of nice contextual links in this one.
I've had HR treat people with multiple degrees like naughty children; getting angry again just remembering it. Gah!
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:14 PM on August 3, 2010


I once managed to generate a company wide memo at an RBOC I contracted at. I was walking in the hall, and walked past a VP who gave me an up-and-down look, a double take on my combat boots, and then a shake of his head.

The memo read, "Where the employee handbook specifies 'leather shoes', it means 'leather DRESS shoes'"
posted by nomisxid at 1:15 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Work sucks and so do bosses. End of discussion.
posted by scratch at 1:43 PM on August 3, 2010


insane boss?
impossible demands?
ridiculous cost-saving measures?
maximum productivity, minimum happiness?

...Sounds a lot like grad school to me...
posted by genekelly'srollerskates at 1:45 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I ever received an email or memo like any of those from my boss I'd be straight into his (oh, it'd definitely be a he)

Would it really? I doubt that. Hyper-competitive perfectionist sociopaths come in both genders. Of course, that isn't exactly a good thing.
posted by Saydur at 4:02 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't realise "irascible" was a synonym for "asshole."
posted by five fresh fish at 7:46 PM on August 3, 2010


Extremely tiny penis.
posted by bardic at 11:44 PM on August 3, 2010


This is reminding me of Jimmy James.
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:46 AM on August 4, 2010


In case anyone does not know who owns this post, it is me - Dr. Zira. Do not let anyone think they are the owner but me.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:32 PM on August 4, 2010


Aha! THIS is the thread, from 2008, that first introduced MeFi to Tiger Mike. Thank the Google for dredging it up. And quite the post it was, too...
posted by bicyclefish at 2:16 AM on August 20, 2010


« Older You're a 39 year old American citizen born in New ...  |  Graphic Adventures is a 500 pa... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments