We discussed the legacy, misconceptions and culture of Burning Man with five people from five very different industries

When some people think of Burning Man, they think, “Isn’t that just for hippies popping disco biscuits or hipsters attempting to tick off their #YOLO bucket list?”, and don’t see how it relates to their everyday life of crunching numbers and closing business deals. But hold that thought for just one moment. Obviously it’s not news that we now live in the experience economy where people get fulfilment from engaging experiences more than material goods. Well, where else but Burning Man can you see a microcosm of this at play = where radical self expression and shared experiences are valued over material goods and social status? Think about it – when you take biggest and brightest minds from across the world and stick them in a bubble cut off from the rest of society; in a world where anything is possible; you better believe that it’s a catalyst for boundary-pushing innovation. There’s a reason why Elon Musk dreamed up his solar industry provider Salacity in Black Rock City, why Google went there to find their next CEO or why you see the co-founders of Uber and Airbnb driving around in art cars across the playa. Unlike in the concrete jungle where you attend a conference and have a 15 minute intermission to exchange niceties, business cards and twitter handles – when you spend a night traversing the playa inside a flame-breathing dragon or stuck in a dust storm sharing a grilled cheese with someone, no doubt you’ll be connected for life – and hey you might even go into business together!

This is another installment of PSFK’s Purple List podcast where we talk to pioneers in retail, advertising, design and beyond. We discussed the legacy, misconceptions and culture of Burning Man with five people from five very different industries. I spoke to Burning Man CEO Marian Goodall, BuzzFeed’s Head of Planning Insights Christine Huang, and Burning Man’s board member and author of ‘Burning Man: Art on Fire” Jennifer Raiser, Flux Foundation co-founder Jess Hobbs and Los Angeles painter and long-time burner Lily Simonson.

Listen to the episode now by subscribing to our PurpleList podcast on iTunes!

When some people think of Burning Man, they think, “Isn’t that just for hippies popping disco biscuits or hipsters attempting to tick off their #YOLO bucket list?”, and don’t see how it relates to their everyday life of crunching numbers and closing business deals. But hold that thought for just one moment. Obviously it’s not news that we now live in the experience economy where people get fulfilment from engaging experiences more than material goods. Well, where else but Burning Man can you see a microcosm of this at play = where radical self expression and shared experiences are valued over material goods and social status? Think about it – when you take biggest and brightest minds from across the world and stick them in a bubble cut off from the rest of society; in a world where anything is possible; you better believe that it’s a catalyst for boundary-pushing innovation. There’s a reason why Elon Musk dreamed up his solar industry provider Salacity in Black Rock City, why Google went there to find their next CEO or why you see the co-founders of Uber and Airbnb driving around in art cars across the playa. Unlike in the concrete jungle where you attend a conference and have a 15 minute intermission to exchange niceties, business cards and twitter handles – when you spend a night traversing the playa inside a flame-breathing dragon or stuck in a dust storm sharing a grilled cheese with someone, no doubt you’ll be connected for life – and hey you might even go into business together!