SPEAKER 1: Well, gentlemen, talk to me. How are we doing?

SPEAKER 2: So, market penetration’s looking good at the moment. According to our best data, seventy-five percent of recently divorced middle-income women purchase a slow cooker.

SPEAKER 1: That’s good. And the men?

SPEAKER 2: So, we don’t have great data on that. Obviously it’s less—

SPEAKER 1: Can you get the data?

SPEAKER 2: I’ll look into the data.

SPEAKER 1: Good. What about Rachel Ray? The cookbook deal? Tell me there’s a cookbook deal.

SPEAKER 3: There’s no cookbook yet, John.

SPEAKER 1: Well, why the fuck not? Lean on her!

SPEAKER 3: We’re leaning, John.

SPEAKER 1: Lean harder!

SPEAKER 3: We have secured another deal with the Martha Stewart people…

SPEAKER 1: Oh, Martha Stewart’ll bend over for anything—

SPEAKER 4: Watch what you say, John.

SPEAKER 1: Why the hell should I watch what I say? We’re among friends here. Isn’t that right?

SPEAKER 4: Just watch what you say. Martha’s people are everywhere.

SPEAKER 3: We’ll lean harder on Ray, John.

SPEAKER 1: Good. Do that. I mean, come on—what’s the hold up? What’s the issue?

SPEAKER 3: I—it’s—

SPEAKER 4: May I, Dave? Thank you. Let’s just come out and say it. We are asking people to boil food for ten hours. Everyone knows you can’t boil food for ten hours. It becomes mush.

SPEAKER 1: Don’t—Harold, don’t use that word in front of me.

SPEAKER 4: Sorry, John.

[Long silence]

SPEAKER 1: What else? Media? Talk to me, Dave.

SPEAKER 3: We’ve signed a deal with Pixar. They’ve agreed to three slow cooker references—

SPEAKER 1: Per picture?

SPEAKER 3: No, over a number of pictures.

SPEAKER 1: Are they just references? Is anyone going to see a slow cooker onscreen, or is it just some fucking cartoons discussing slow cookers?

SPEAKER 4: And are they positive references or negative references?

SPEAKER 3: The Pixar people understand we’re looking for positive references. That’s in the contract.

SPEAKER 1: Hold on—what demographic is that? Kids? We’re targeting kids now? Oof, this business has taken a turn…

SPEAKER 3: John, the kids are accompanied by parents. Our research suggests that exposing kids and parents together shortens the purchasing funnel. The kids pester the parents.

SPEAKER 1: For slow cookers?

SPEAKER 2: If you think about it, they are sort of like toys. Kitchen toys.

SPEAKER 1: Hm. Do we have any data on this? Quentin?

SPEAKER 2: So, I don’t have any data on that specifically. But I’ll get data.

SPEAKER 1: Good. Get data. Hey, what’s all this “cloud computing” stuff I hear about? Can we do “cloud computing” with slow cookers?

[Long silence]

SPEAKER 2: I’ll look into that, John.

SPEAKER 4: I can’t help but feel that we’re losing sight of the central issue, which is the challenge of persuading people to buy a product that they know from personal experience and also just from, shall we say, an intuitive thermodynamics, can’t possibly do what we’re claiming it does. We are claiming the impossible. The issue is that we’re attempting to sell a cookery product that actually leaches flavor from food, and consumers intuit that. So the question then becomes, how do we square this circle?

SPEAKER 1: Goddamn it, Harold, slow cookers must be good for something!

SPEAKERS 2 & 3: They’re good for chili!

SPEAKER 1: I know, but besides chili. You can’t live on chili, for Christ sakes.

SPEAKER 3: They’re good for [inaudible].

SPEAKER 1: Okay. Now we’re getting somewhere. Quentin, do you have any data on that?

SPEAKER 2: Not at the moment, John. I’ll have our guys look into it.

SPEAKER 1: Anything else… ?

SPEAKER 2: So, there was the Boston thing—

SPEAKER 1: Don’t—

SPEAKER 2: The Marathon—

SPEAKER 1: —Even. Don’t even. Quentin, when my finger goes up like this—see what my finger’s doing?—it means I need you to stop talking immediately.

SPEAKER 3: Anyway, that was a pressure cooker.

SPEAKER 2: I know, but overseas sales went up—

SPEAKER 1: Quentin? Look at my finger.

[Long silence]

SPEAKER 1: What are we doing about the raw paleo people?

SPEAKER 3: We’ve co-financed a Discovery documentary that strongly suggests cavemen suffered from rickets. And bad teeth.

SPEAKER 1: Good. Is that true?

SPEAKER 3: I don’t know.

SPEAKER 1: Quentin?

SPEAKER 2: It is not definitively untrue.

SPEAKER 1: Well, that sounds close enough to me. Listen, I’m meeting with the heads of Goldman Sachs and Exxon later on today. Can I bring them good news? I want to bring them good news.

SPEAKER 4: Why not mention Malta?

SPEAKER 1: Malta?

SPEAKER 4: No one told you about Malta?

SPEAKER 1: Goddamn it, no! No one told me about Malta! Tell me about Malta!

SPEAKER 4: Quentin?

SPEAKER 2: So, it’s not a sure thing yet but… we’ve been in talks with the Maltese government. They’re very close to declaring the slow cooker the official cooking appliance of the Republic.

SPEAKER 1: Goddamn it, why didn’t anyone tell me about this?

[Long silence]

SPEAKER 2: I would have assumed you knew, John.

SPEAKER 1: Well, I didn’t know. That’s great news. Listen, the Maltese, give them whatever they want. We’ll build them a school—you know, if they don’t already have one. I better look at a map. Christ sakes, where the hell is Malta? It doesn’t matter. “The Slow Cooker Nation,” that’s what we’ll call ’em. Quentin, get me numbers on everything, and look into this cloud computer stuff too. Dave, figure out Rachel Ray. Harold—you going to Davos this year?

SPEAKER 4: Of course, John.

SPEAKER 1: Bilderberg? Yeah? Okay, good. Say hi to Bill and Melinda for me. Now, someone order me a Big Mac and call a car. Christ sakes, what a job, I tell ya, what a fucking job—

[Recording ends]