Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 16:59, 20 November 2012 by Waldir (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki! We already have Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". comic explanations!

(But there are still Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". to go. Come and add yours!)

Latest comic

Go to this comic

Here at, our three main strengths are our web-facing chairs, our huge collection of white papers, and the fact that we physically cannot die.
Title text: Here at, our three main strengths are our web-facing chairs, our huge collection of white papers, and the fact that we physically cannot die.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Needs to be expounded upon heavily.

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.
  • "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.
  • "Bug tracker" usually refers to systems used to track discovery, analysis, and fixing of software bugs, not the location of actual 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.

"" (which in real life redirects to and "If you're reading this, the web server was installed correctly" are both examples of generic placeholder text. However, given the trademark sign, it appears that Beret Guy is using these phrases as his company's legal name and motto, respectively.


[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?
Ponytail [off-panel]: Just did!
Beret Guy: Thanks!

New here?

Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the explain xkcd wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them!


Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations, feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to—and helping everyone better understand—xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users posting such are at risk of being blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

Explain xkcd logo courtesy of User:Alek2407.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal or Bitcoin?