Once simply a countercultural festival in the middle of the desert, Burning Man is now as commercialized as the world it presumes to tune out. Out from this image shift has thrived an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit that resonates in the non-Burning Man world.
“If you aren’t already an entrepreneur, you may become one by the time you leave Burning Man — in some shape or form.
You won’t make money in the desert; the exchange of money isn’t allowed at the annual, weeklong arts festival[…] But you will have created something for someone. You will have seen a need and met it. You will have innovated a solution to a problem or decided to spontaneously create a new service or product for yourself and your fellow Burners (that’s what attendees are called).
And that energy, that entrepreneurial spirit, is priceless. It’s what so many management consultants charge top dollar right now to bring to stuffy corporate offices.”
It’s a fascinating take considering most peoples’ opinions of Burning Man vary between “countercultural Eden” and “goofy hippies getting high in the desert.” But the aspect of the event that makes it so conducive to creativity and entrepreneurship is that all rules and regulations are stripped away. Burners aren’t forced to exist within a “burdensome structure.” This is why art, design, and architecture thrives. It’s also why young professionals and Silicon Valley types have flocked to the annual event to meet new contacts and take part in what Clifford calls “a sort of hedonistic party meets business networking opportunity.”
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One image has had an incalculable effect on policy around the world, but is it even remotely representative of what happens in the real world? Children who have been neglected can look forward to a more positive outlook than this image would suggest.