Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Title text: Here at CompanyName.website, our three main strengths are our web-facing chairs, our huge collection of white papers, and the fact that we physically cannot die.
Beret Guy's business, as previously seen in 1032: Networking and 1293: Job Interview, is going well, although it is unclear why. The common theme in these three comics is that Beret Guy misuses common business cliches. The following are examples and phrases that Randall is likely making a joke about:
- "If you're reading this, the webserver was installed correctly." When a web server is installed automatically (like apache using apt-get), it typically comes with a minimal configuration meant to deliver a single page saying all is working fine. Usually, a company will then configure the web server to provide actual meaningful content. It appears that in this case Beret Guy's company kept the page as is, but also trademarked the sentence as the company's motto, and proudly displays it under the company logo.
- "Welcome to a meeting!" The usual way to start a meeting is to welcome the participants by telling them in which meeting they are (e.g. "Welcome to the meeting on ..."). Here, the complete lack of specifics in this sentence is an indication that the meeting has, in fact, no purpose at all, except to be just "A meeting". It could also mean that Beret Guy does not know the proper way to welcome people to a meeting.
- "I'm almost out of words so I'll keep this short." A common theme in the busy world of business is lack of time, so "I'm almost out of time" would be a valid reason for keeping a meeting short, rather than a finite quantity of words. Aside from the fictional movie A Thousand Words or people taking a Vow of Silence, people usually don't have a particular quota on the number of words they have or can use.
- "Just wanna touch bases." Often business professions will contact a customer to "touch base," meaning to check in for a status update. The use of the plural "bases" suggests Beret Guy does not know what this means. This could also be a word play on the expression "Cover some bases".
- "Self-driving car project" Google has been working on self-driving cars, which usually shouldn't be lost track of and found by the police. The statement "by accident during this morning's carpool" implies that the employees all somehow left the car while it was moving, and it kept moving until it somehow stopped (hit something, ran out of fuel, etc.)
- "Sales, any luck figuring out who our customers are?" In the real world, when companies want to find out "who [their] customers are", they are talking about learning more about their existing customers in order to more closely match these customers' needs, and to discover ways to attract more of them. Here, Beret Guy and Ponytail apparently use the phrase literally. In a normal enterprise, however, money doesn't usually appear from nowhere, and most businesses would be very unsettled if their cash flow was from an unknown source.
- "Cool red beetle in the hallway" Beret Guy might be referring to seeing an insect. But given his continually surreal world, he might have instead seen a red Volkswagen Beetle, meaning there is an actual car in the hallway. This also matches with the "self-driving car project", potentially explaining why the car is inside the building. Randall's all-caps lettering hides the "beetle" versus "Beetle" distinction.
- "Bug tracker" usually refers to systems used to track discovery, analysis, and fixing of software bugs, not the location of actual insects or Volkswagen Beetles which are also called bugs.
- "Web-facing" (title text) usually refers to software or a server that is connected to the internet using a web interface. However, in this case the term is applied to chairs placed in front of a computer with internet browsing capability.
- "White papers" (title text) are usually policy recommendations, but Beret Guy is likely talking about actual (near-worthless) blank white pieces of paper.
- "Main strengths" (title text) typically refer to one's skills, but "we physically cannot die" refers to the fact that incorporated companies are in a sense anthropomorphised—they're legally treated as "persons", with the ability to sue and be sued in civil courts. Or that Beret Guy is literally immortal.
There is an alternative explanation for the company portrayed: it is run by computers. This explains the misinterpretations of language, the empty chair, the non-traceable money (perhaps from other computers) and the self-driving car project.
"CompanyName.website" is actually a domain name that was registered on 2014-11-20 and which redirects to xkcd.com. Presumably, it is owned by Randall, for the same reason as in 305.
- [Beret Guy is shown in silhouette. Above Beret Guy there is a black sign with white (and grey) text. Above this is his address to those in the meeting:]
- Beret Guy: Welcome to a meeting! I'm almost out of words, so I'll keep this short. Just wanna touch bases.
- [White text in the black sign (.website in grey):]
- If you're reading this, the web
- server was installed correctly.TM
- [Beret Guy stands in front of an office chair and a table talking]
- Beret Guy: First, a few updates. We've learned from the state police that the self-driving car project we launched by accident during this morning's carpool has come to an end about 90 miles outside of town. Very exciting!
- [Pony tail sits at the table.]
- Beret Guy [off-panel]: Profits are up. Sales, any luck figuring out who our customers are?
- Ponytail: Nope. Money keeps appearing, but we have no idea how or why.
- Beret Guy [off-panel]: Great!
- [Back to the situation from frame two]
- Beret Guy: Oh, and one last thing— I saw a cool red beetle in the hall. Can someone add it to the bug tracker?
- [person off-panel]: Just did!
- Beret Guy: Thanks!
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