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 web server was installed correctly.™" When a web server is installed automatically (like Apache through a package manager), 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.
- "CompanyName.website": Companies are usually given descriptive or evocative names; Beret Guy's company, meanwhile, has been given a generic placeholder name that explains nothing about the company or website except that it is a company with a website. Currently, almost every middle-sized company runs a website, so it doesn't mean Beret Guy's company is in the information technology business (but many elements are specifically parodying Google). "Companyname.website" redirects to xkcd.com.
- "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 fiction 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. Beret Guy also seems to run out of words in the title text of 1560: Bubblegum.
- "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 fact that it was launched "by accident" is concerning. It could mean the car was turned on by mistake and then left unattended, or perhaps that a driver of one of their cars fell asleep or otherwise stopped controlling the vehicle, but it is not clear because the accidental launch may refer to the project itself rather than the car. The involvement of the police may imply that the car crashed or otherwise obstructed traffic. That said, 90 miles before crashing was at that time a good result for a self-driving car, especially when you didn't even know you built a self-driving car. What's especially ironic is the implication that the employees were carpooling (sharing a single vehicle for their commute, for reasons of efficiency/economy) in the self-driving car, and yet this carpool activity ended with the car setting off with nobody in it at all. These types of cars were the topic of the later comic 1559: Driving, maybe misusing one of Beret Guy's cars. Self-driving cars are a recurring topic on xkcd.
- "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 (e.g. age groups, interests, genders) 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 - they have no records of making any sales. A normal enterprise struggles to sell its products/services in order to get money. Getting cash from an unknown source would lead to serious troubles - failure to comply with tax code, suspicion of money laundering - but overall, most enterprises suffer the opposite problem: they try as hard as they can but don't get enough cash to be profitable (despite keeping precise information about where cash comes from). Note, that the accidental launching of a project would suggest a theme, that large cash infusions for unknown or unscrupulous reasons could imply anonymous VC investors, perhaps amateurs or acting in an overheated market.
- "Bug tracker" usually refers to systems for tracking discovery, analysis, and fixing of software bugs (errors and problems), not the physical location of insects.
- "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 (likely meaning that they are either materially web-plaited or placed in front of a computer with internet browsing capability, or both; may also possibly refer to other definitions of "web").
- "White papers" (title text) are usually policy recommendations, but here 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" may refer to the fact that incorporated companies are in a sense anthropomorphized — they're legally treated as "persons", with the ability to sue and be sued in civil courts; or, just as likely, that Beret Guy and his employees are literally immortal, in which case that would indeed be a great asset which could be used in a variety of ways, from things like making an unstoppable army (though they could still be captured or incapacitated) to investing for a long, long time.
- [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.™
- [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!
- "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.
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