June 07, 1999

Living in a Vacuum - The dotcomguy Revolution

There's a man living in Texas, whose name is dot-com guy. That's his legal name.



He's living in a house by himself, in order to prove that you can spend a year surfing the web without learning anything. Actually, he wants to prove that it's possible to live for a year while accomplishing all of life's boring necessities on the web. While he's at it, he also hopes to make as much money as he can marketing himself being a couch potato for an entire year (although he neglects to openly mention that on the website). Folks, that is what I call an amazing scam.



There's a man living in Texas, whose name is dot-com guy. That's his legal name.



He's living in a house by himself, in order to prove that you can spend a year surfing the web without learning anything. Actually, he wants to prove that it's possible to live for a year while accomplishing all of life's boring necessities on the web. While he's at it, he also hopes to make as much money as he can marketing himself being a couch potato for an entire year (although he neglects to openly mention that on the website). Folks, that is what I call an amazing scam.



Here's a quote directly from the website:



He explained. "The Idea" had bounced around his head for nearly a year. DotComGuy wanted to show the world that someone could live entirely through e-commerce. He was willing to prove it by moving into an empty house - with only a computer and the clothes on his back - and not leave for a year.


He would buy everything online, from food to toilet paper, from furniture to clothing. He would bank online, start a business online, and show the world by allowing Web cameras to chronicle the process, live, 24-7 Surrounded by music, people and Mexican food, two friends breathed life into a happening that would change the way the world lived.


Over the next three hours, the synergy of creativity and sacrifice, of ideas and ideals, mushroomed into a vision: two guys, one idea; a shared passion for educating and entertaining the world, from Internet novice to expert; and the forum for accomplishing their objectives.







There's a certain amount of perverted spirituality in what he's attempting. Philosophers and thinkers of all times have sought voluntary solitude in order to learn something about themselves. The difference here is that dotcomguy's intention is to learn about the commerce of the future. He'll work, pay his bills, buy groceries and whatever else he needs to entertain himself, but what will he learn?



He might not learn much of anything except that there are better ways to spend a year of your life. And the world will learn that the internet is 'useful' because you can do all sorts of banal tasks there.



All over the place, early adopters are doing this same sort of thing, although I don't know of too many people taking it to this extreme. There are people who are doing their best right now to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. They'll buy their books from Amazon, their groceries from peapod, they'll get their videos and their snacks from Kozmo. And almost all of it will be a totally antiseptic experience, devoid of any real human contact beyond the occasional bulletin board posting or a celebrity web chat.



Here's my take on these people: I will spend a year doing everything that dotcom guy is doing. I'll pay my bills. I'll buy groceries. I'll work and attempt to further my dim understanding of my place on this chunk of earth. I'll even do some of it on the Internet.



But while I'm at it, I'm going to go outside as often as I can. I'm going to climb mountains. I'm going to buy some light fixtures from my neighborhood hardware store, because I like the people there, and it's the same cost as it is from hardware.com (or whatever it is).
When I'm done with that, I'll buy some fruit from the local market, a newspaper from the corner store, some flowers from the garden a few blocks away. I'll buy a book from the store downtown.



I'll cook my dinner, and I'll read my paper. I'll feed my brain. I'll give the flowers to the woman I love, and we'll eat blueberries and ice cream for dessert.



And when it's all done, I'm going to invite some friends over. And I won't send them email - I'm going to call them, on the telephone.



I'll do all of this with a sense of purpose. My mission - to live my life, accomplishing the same amount (or more) of living as the dotcom guy and everyone else out there trying to prove that the Internet is the only path to true being. And I won't have to lock myself in a house in front of a computer monitor to do it.



Because what's the point of removing yourself from society, if you're not going to learn anything real from it?



The advent of the Internet means that it is now possible to exist in a vacuum. The question I have is, why the hell would you want to?



Posted by colin at 04:44 PM | Comments (1390)