1032: Networking

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Our company is agile and lean with a focus on the long tail. Ok, our company is actually a polecat I found in my backyard.
Title text: Our company is agile and lean with a focus on the long tail. Ok, our company is actually a polecat I found in my backyard.


Networking, in business, is the act of expanding your group of contacts in order to help your career down the line. Here, in this comic, Beret Guy meets Chief Technology Officer (CTO, an executive-level position overseeing the development of new technologies) Connr Clark (perhaps a typo for "Connor" or perhaps a reference to common "Web 2.0" names like the businesses Flickr, Tumblr, etc.). Beret Guy is as strange as he usually is: he introduces himself as a "business professional" rather than as someone with any kind of specific job, and then goes on to mention that he photocopied a burrito, which he presumably believes is the sort of thing business professionals do. He also has a business card; usually, this would contain contact information, but his only says "This is my business card". He calls his briefcase, or suitcase, a "handlebox", and it is full of a quarter of a million dollars in cash. (The source of this money is not discussed in this comic, but in 1493: Meeting, Ponytail says it "keeps appearing, but we have no idea how or why.") Then Beret Guy proceeds to eat Connr's business card. Business cards are again mentioned in the title text of 2277: Business Greetings, also about one of Beret Guy's businesses. None of these things are common behavior.[citation needed]

"Networking" is often an over-hyped, empty affair. There are many networking meetings of every description going on every day everywhere, and most people trade cards and continue to not make money. So that's the joke – Beret Guy does the networking schtick, badly, and yet is somehow making huge amounts of money at it.

The comic is also likely a joke on the idea that many people are excited about becoming a "business professional" who carries a briefcase, hands out business cards, and makes tons of money, without having an adequate plan for how to make those things happen, or possibly even knowing what their actual job would be. Beret Guy never says what he does, simply introducing himself as a "business professional," and explains his piles of cash with "I am a business grown-up who makes business profits!" In this world —and in people's dreams— when you "grow up" and start a business, money magically appears. Obviously, that's not how it works.[citation needed]

The "Eusocial" in "Eusocial Media Ventures" is a reference to eusociality, the highest level of social cooperation found in the animal kingdom. Eusocial animals (termites being a common example) cooperate together to raise their young, have different generations living in the same colony, and have specialized individuals for reproductive and non-reproductive tasks.

The title text is a pun on three common business buzzwords: agile, lean, and long-tail. An agile business is one that can change course quickly based on customer demands and the business environment. A lean business is one with minimal inventory or assets; nothing is idle or warehoused, so everything is in active use or on the move. Long-tail describes the strategy of offering a large number of unique items with relatively small quantities sold of each – usually in addition to selling fewer popular items in large quantities. (Most streaming services use some form of long-tail strategy, as their libraries usually include a few big-ticket mainstream movies and series plus a much larger array of titles with more niche interest.)

And of course, the pun here is one animal that is agile and lean with a long tail is a polecat.

Obviously, Beret Guy's business plan, 1021: Business Plan, worked. See also 1117: My Sky.


[A man approaches Beret Guy at a party and they extend arms to shake hands. Beret Guy is holding a metal briefcase. Ponytail is a waitress in the background, carrying a tray with a wine glass on it.]
Connr: I'm Connr Clark, CTO at Eusocial Media Ventures.
Beret Guy: I'm a business professional! Earlier I photocopied a burrito!
[Connr hands Beret Guy a business card. Beret Guy takes it and hands Connr another business card. Beret Guy has put his suitcase on the floor.]
Connr: You should check us out! Here's my card.
Beret Guy: Here's mine!
Beret Guy: Networking!
[Connr takes a closer look at the card, and Beret Guy holds up his case.]
Connr: ...this just says "This is my business card!"
Beret Guy: Do you like it? I have more in my handlebox.
[Beret Guy puts his case on a table and opens it to reveal it is full of cash. Connr looks on in shock.]
Connr: Uh, that's ok, I think I'll—
Beret Guy: Here, have ten of them!
Connr: —holy shit that thing is full of cash!
[Connr raises his arms in excitement. Beret Guy turns to face him and chews on Connr's business card.]
Connr: Where did you get that?
Beret Guy: I am a business grown-up who makes business profits!
Connr: That's like a quarter of a million dollars!
Beret Guy: Yay! Business is fun!
Beret Guy: Do you have more of your cards? They're delicious!

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I don't think "Connr" is a typo, as it's very likely the type of thing that a Web 2.0 business owner would do (see, for instance, the businesses Flickr, Tumblr, etc). Blaisepascal (talk) 17:56, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

That makes a lot of sense. I probably should have edited out the parenthetical when I copied/pasted from the blog. lcarsos (talk) 20:47, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

All of these things are not common behavior. I don't know why, but that line of the explanation got me laughing for a full minute. 06:20, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Yeah, I think we should make a "citation needed" for this thing 17:42, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Another example of a "long tail" business is a luxury car maker like Lambourghini. While their parent companies (Audi and Volkswagen) target wider audiences, Lambourghini intentionally focuses on the very high-end luxury market, pricing their vehicles around $400,000 each. Their highest sales year on record was 2008, when they delivered a worldwide total of 2,430 new cars. 21:20, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

The "next" button is broken. It points to explainxkcd.com/1032. 19:50, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Is the "Do you have more of your cards? They're delicious!" line a reference to the now-defunct CardMunch business card reader? Seem like the sort of thing that Beret Guy might take literally, resulting in him physically munching a card... PabloVergos (talk) 07:39, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Is it just me, or does the last paragraph seem unnecessary and repetitive? The terms agile, lean, and long-tail were already described as real business terms in the previous paragraph. Also, I don't believe these terms are considered buzzwords just yet, at least not to the level of words like synergy. If anything, it doesn't add anything to better explain the comic. 18:28, 11 April 2016 (UTC)

Apparently, the "normal" guy works at a business with a bunch of female workers and a queen who has babies all the time. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

IMO, The last paragraph should be removed. It is an opinion, tries to be funny and fails at it.

please remove all that unnecessary snark! 18:25, 16 September 2021 (UTC)Bumpf

my favorite line in any xkcd strip is "holy shit that thing is full of cash!" New editor (talk) 16:10, 25 August 2022 (UTC)

hey look, it's past me! hello me from 2022! New editor (talk) 22:46, 1 March 2024 (UTC)