The Power of One™ .

Gates Dogfish is Unmasked!

Is there a real person behind the hilarious memes that have delighted eDiscovery professionals for nearly 18 months? There is! Gates Dogfish is unmasked!

When I wrote about Gates Dogfish at the beginning of the year, I had to communicate with him through LinkedIn messages. Back then, I didn’t know who he was – nobody did in the eDiscovery world (as far as I know). At the time he told me (via LinkedIn messages) this:

“Gates is my alter ego and creative outlet in a pressure cooker industry that feels like it doesn’t have many avenues to say the things I want to say. As a result, I do this wearing a mask.”

The only clue he gave me to his identify was: “I’ve been in the law and discovery for 20+ years, and my roles have included just about everything in the eDiscovery space: from contract document review to litigation associate, from eDiscovery project manager to sales engineer/’demo guy.’”

While there aren’t a lot of people who make it in eDiscovery for 20+ years, that still didn’t narrow it down enough for me to hazard a guess as to who Gates Dogfish was. So, I covered “Gates” based on his alter ego, included some of his hilarious memes, and published the post. And it’s been one of the most popular posts of the year on eDiscovery Today! Thanks, “Gates”!

I know what you’re saying about now: “yeah, yeah, Doug, but I thought you were going to tell us ‘Gates Dogfish is unmasked’? Do we get to know who Gates is, or not?”

Yes, of course! But can’t you appreciate a little “building of suspense” first?

No? All right, fine!

I didn’t know who “Gates” was until two days ago, when I got an email from Stefanie Cerio, VP Marketing & Events at Trustpoint.One (who has been a colleague of mine for several years), which said: “Hey Doug! Aaron (Patton) and I would like to chat with you about an opportunity for E-Discovery Day. Can you chat 4 PM ET today?”

And I’m thinking: “It’s a little late for an ‘opportunity’ for E-Discovery Day – two days before E-Discovery Day!?! What they $%#& are they thinking?” So, of course, I respond and say: “Sure, go ahead and send me a meeting invite and we can discuss it.”

When I hop on the call with Stefanie and Aaron, they tell me: “We have an exclusive for you! We know who Gates Dogfish is!”.

Eagerly, I say: “Really?!? Who is it?”

And Aaron says: “You’re looking at him”.

Aaron Patton is Gates Dogfish. Gates Dogfish is unmasked!

Who is Aaron Patton? He’s been a Managing Director at Trustpoint.One for over 4 years and (if you look at his LinkedIn profile) he has 20+ years of experience in the law and eDiscovery. Sound familiar?

He’s also a screenwriter and his LinkedIn tagline says “Screenwriter | eDiscovery | Humor”. Sounds like Gates!

So, why unveil his true identity now? Aaron said it was due to two reasons:

Reason 1 – LinkedIn’s User Agreement caught up with “Gates”: In section 2.1 of LinkedIn’s User Agreement, it says: “To use the Services, you agree that: (1) you must be the “Minimum Age” (described below) or older; (2) you will only have one LinkedIn account, which must be in your real name”.

Apparently, when LinkedIn realized that Gates Dogfish wasn’t a real person, they deleted the profile, along with all the memes over nearly 18 months.


Yes, it’s true. The Gates Dogfish LinkedIn profile is gone. And, sure, he could set up a new profile as “Heckle Giddier”, “Lambkin Suede”, or “Tootsie Oaths” and keep on going, but LinkedIn will probably delete those too eventually. The key is, Aaron still has all the memes and can (and will) republish them at some point. And he’ll make new memes too.

As an example, he gave me this one to share to illustrate his response to the LinkedIn profile deletion:

Reason 2 – “Gates” has more connections than Aaron does: Who in the eDiscovery world doesn’t know who “Gates Dogfish” is? As Aaron said: “A really excellent community of fun eDiscovery people now have a relationship with Gates, and I suddenly had this weird double life. I’d see people at conferences who don’t know me, but they’d gone back and forth with Gates earlier that day. I’d wave from across the room. They’d give me a quizzical look and a half-wave back. Who is that guy? Then I’d drop into my seat totally embarrassed. Worst. Spy. Ever.” Well, I think Aaron (who already has a good number of followers and connections) should be able to be recognized for his terrific memes that illustrate what life is like for all of us in eDiscovery. No more hiding.

Aaron hopes his Gates Dogfish content will continue to stand on its own and entertain the eDiscovery world. As he said: “The reason I do this is what the Gates Dogfish tagline said: ‘eDiscovery people are the best.’ Nobody was saying that before. Hopefully, the memes communicate that in a fun, humorous way.”

So, even though Gates Dogfish is unmasked, Aaron’s humorous look at the challenges we all face in eDiscovery will continue! We need it!

So, what do you think? Are you amazed that Gates Dogfish managed to stay anonymous all this time? Me too! Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the authors and speakers themselves, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.