Daisey, Mike 1973-

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DAISEY, Mike 1973-


Born 1973. Education: Attended Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, England.


Home—Brooklyn, NY. Agent—c/o Daniel Greenberg, James Levine Communications, 307 7th Ave., Suite 1906, New York, NY 10001. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, actor, and monologuist. Amazon. com, customer service representative, 1998-99, business development specialist, 1999-2000. Worked variously as a commentator for National Public Radio, security officer, high school teacher, and telemarketer.


Twenty-one Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com, Free Press (New York), 2002.

Author and performer of stage shows, including Twenty-one Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com, produced in New York City at the Cherry Lane Theatre; I Miss the Cold War; and Wasting Your Breath.


Creating a "dark office comedy" for HBO and developing a new monologue with the Manhattan Theater Club.


Writer and actor Mike Daisey has created three one-man stage shows based on his personal experiences, including a show about his employment at the Web-based retailer Amazon.com. In Twenty-one Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com, a book based on the stage show, Daisey recounts two years spent working for one of the leaders in the "new economy," a term for the computer-and Web-based companies whose rise helped fuel the economic boom of the late 1990s, and whose fall helped create the recession of the years that followed. Amazon proved to be one of the survivors, in part because of massive support for, and belief in, the company on the part of both the business community and the buying public. As Daisey reveals in Twenty-one Dog Years, this belief vibrated through the entire company and motivated employees to work extremely long hours for low pay.

Before he went to work for Amazon in 1998, Daisey held a variety of jobs and engaged in a number of other pursuits that could hardly qualify as employment. He performed in neighborhood theater, worked as a temporary employee, and—by his own confession—spent considerable time occupying tables at cafes. But when he became a customer service representative (or "phone monkey," as he called it) for one of the best-known "dot-coms" in the world, he discovered what it was like to work so many hours that every year seemed like seven: "Conventional wisdom held that Amazon Time," he writes in the book, as quoted by Richard Drezen in Library Journal, "was equivalent to dog years, which meant that one actual human year equaled seven Amazonian ones."

Competition just to get into the company was high, as Daisey recounts, noting that prospective employees had to furnish copies of their Scholastic Aptitude Test scores and their high school and college transcripts. In his stage show about the experience, which includes many of the anecdotes featured in the book, Daisey lampoons this process with a description of a job interview in which one of the questions was "Discuss the feminine aspects of God, using only verbs."

Like the investors eager to put their money behind dot-coms at the high point of the 1990s bull market, job applicants at Amazon had a strong desire to become involved in something that they believed would change the world. The pay was poor, but the corporate culture at Amazon induced an almost missionary zeal in employees. Daisey's long hours eventually paid off with a promotion to an office job in 1999. By then, however, Daisey had become disenchanted with the fast-paced world of the dot-coms, and he left the company in 2000.

Noting that "all the dotcom punching bags are here"—for example, the slogans and catchphrases of the new economy, at which Daisey pokes relentless fun—a reviewer in Publishers Weekly praised Daisey's "sharp eye" for the telling detail. Though Daisey "flirts with a broader social critique, … his incessant flippancy blocks real insight," the reviewer maintained. Kerry Hannon of USA Today, referencing the language of electronic communication, maintained that "you'll LOL (laugh out loud) as you sail through the fast-paced, humorous Twenty-one Dog Years." According to Drezen, Daisey's "description of the 'freaks' he worked with, the 'gothic' work environment itself, and the crazy incoming calls make for hilarious reading."



Guardian Unlimited (Manchester, England), August 7, 2003, Brian Logan, review of stage show of Twenty-one Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon. com.

Library Journal, June 1, 2002, Richard Drezen, review of Twenty-one Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon. com, Volume 127, number 10, p. 168.

Publishers Weekly, May 13, 2002, review of Twenty-one Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com, Volume 249, number 19, pp. 65-66.

USA Today, August 14, 2002, Kerry Hannon, "Author Worked Like a Dog: Slacker-Turned-Geek Shares Tales of Life at Amazon.com," p. B06.


Mike Daisey Home Page,http://www.mikedaisey.com (September 12, 2003).*