A good online presence is key to the success of modern businesses.
Or is it?
There’s a new movement brewing up in the business world: Companies no longer want to have websites, mobile apps, social media accounts, or any sort of presence on the Internet.
Businesses are shutting off their websites, powering down their servers, pulling out their apps from app stores, terminating their Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, and firing their web developers.
I managed to talk to and interview one such entrepreneur in the front lines of this latest trend.
His name is Buck Cooter — one of the many successful CEOs on a mission to usher their companies back offline.
Here’s my Q&A sesh with Buck.
So You Took Your Website Down?
Buck: Yes, we deleted that thing a while back.
Our developer, web designer, UX/UI designer, usability analyst, information architect, server engineer, and IT staff — a guy named Larry — has unfortunately been made redundant.
No more sites. Or mobile apps. And tweets are for twits.
Seriously: Your Business is Completely Offline? On Purpose?
Buck: Yeah. The Internet — we decided we’re not doing that anymore.
What is the Reason for Going Offline?
Buck: As a business, you have to continue to innovate and iterate on your unique value proposition (UVP). You have to apply the Agile method to your business model.
Our company is now on stealth mode and we’ve brought it back to a minimum viable product. Our innovation here is that usually tech startups do these two things in the beginning, but we’re pivoting in the late-stage and disrupting the startup template (with support from our VCs) because we believe it’s really going to get us some good traction and a great termsheet if we ever get aquahired by Facebook (which did wonders for Oculus Rift, their early adopters love them even more because of the recent acquisition.)
What Are the Benefits of Taking Your Business Off the Web?
Buck: As the leader of a company, you have to promote that passion for innovation and you have to mix things up.
One of the key advantages of taking down our site and social media accounts is we’re able to focus on exploring new ways to communicate our brand and getting our message across to our target demographic.
For instance, sending them our message via mail through the postal service, telegraph, fax, the like.
Or cutting a hole at the bottom of two tin cans and attaching them together with a string and then giving one can to our customer and then our PR manager and marketers are speaking on the other end of this device. This is really fun.
How Has This Changed Things at The Office?
Buck: Not sure I understand the question. Has my office changed? No, not really.
Here’s a photo of my office:
I still have my custom-built PC (it’s by the window) and my ergo chair.
No. This is What I Meant: How Has This Changed Your Company’s Culture?
Buck: Our employees are spending less time on Facebook. In fact, they spend no time on Facebook because I got our ISP to shut off our office’s Internet connectivity.
If you’re going to do something, you gotta go all out son.
Any Parting Words?
Buck: You can’t end a business interview without somehow mentioning Steve Jobs or Apple.
So I’ll end with a Steve Jobs quote, but just pretend in your head I’m the one saying it to you:
"We have an environment where excellence is really expected. What’s really great is to be open when [the work] is not great. My best contribution is not settling for anything but really good stuff, in all the details. That’s my job — to make sure everything is great. "
The Buck stops here. I’m out.