Business 2.0 Article

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

Postby Archantael » Tue Jul 10, 2007 8:23 am

Dr. Pyro wrote:Am I the only one out here who likes Burning Man just the way it is?


NO, you're not alone. Far from it.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:34 pm

Naw, Doc...

I still like it just the way it is, but I'm just keeping my eye on it.
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Postby Plastic G'zus » Wed Jul 11, 2007 12:32 pm

Think of it as an experiment. What would happen if we took a hand full of corporate shills and their products and put then in the middle of 40,000 people with very little love for the corporate world, a passion for mind-fucking, and a distinct tendency toward pyromania?
We'll find out soon.
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Wed Jul 11, 2007 1:55 pm

Someone else described those of us who have decried the Business 2.0 article and the placement of corporations around the base of the Man as "church ladies."

Stepping back a bit and letting some of the dust settle down, is it possible we have made way too much out of this? Is Maid Marion and Larry rolling their eyes and saying, "like all those other damn controversies, this too shall pass?"

Still, using the base of the man as the $Green pavillion$ just seems so wrong. Not only on commerce grounds, but on account that its a sheer waste of imaginative potential. Maybe my thoughts are colored by my first Man which was surrounded by ther 2005 Fun House--which I thought was the most sublime thing I've seen in years. And, it was the diametric opposite of the Pavillion, isn't it? The Fun House was a shell stuffed with Burner's gifted art to the community for pure escapist pleasure. The Pavillion is corporate America giving out instructions concerning the default world.

Okay, Im chillin' on this issue now...
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Postby Finnegan » Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:04 pm

Cool! I’m a Church Lady.
Well, whose idea was this, then? SATAN?
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Rumination

Postby actiongrl » Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:24 pm

I've seen the list of what's actually coming to fruition under the Man. And indeed, there will be some donated alt-energy projects (yep, with the brands scraped off or covered up - a cool solar car prototype that was used in a land speed record, a couple of wind turbines, stuff like that) in the Pavilion. There will also be dozens of participant created projects having nothing to do with the "corporate" invitations. In fact, the number of the latter outweighs the former by several degrees.

I (really do) wonder if we'll be able to tell the difference between the two? What if we can't?
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Re: Rumination

Postby Dork » Wed Jul 11, 2007 5:16 pm

actiongrl wrote:I've seen the list of what's actually coming to fruition under the Man. And indeed, there will be some donated alt-energy projects (yep, with the brands scraped off or covered up - a cool solar car prototype that was used in a land speed record, a couple of wind turbines, stuff like that) in the Pavilion. There will also be dozens of participant created projects having nothing to do with the "corporate" invitations. In fact, the number of the latter outweighs the former by several degrees.

I (really do) wonder if we'll be able to tell the difference between the two? What if we can't?


Why do we even need the corporate involvement at all, then? Don't forget the million-dollar solar array and their belief that the investment will pay off.

Stealth marketing is still marketing. Are we to believe that all these donations have no effect on the ORG's decision making?
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Postby Finnegan » Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:40 pm

Goodness of their hearts, I'm sure.

To answer your question, There is absolutely no reason other than hope for future payoff. If they had wanted to make an Enviro-Pavillion, they could have just said so. Burners would have flocked to the project in droves. But no. It's all about creeping capitalism. Hide it in there with the other stuff for a year or two..

IPO coming sometime soon? Luckily I am poor, so won't be tempted.
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Postby Chai Guy » Wed Jul 11, 2007 7:03 pm

I (really do) wonder if we'll be able to tell the difference between the two? What if we can't?


Again, it begs the question:

"Why do it in the first place?"
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Postby Lassen Forge » Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:09 am

Chai Guy wrote:
I (really do) wonder if we'll be able to tell the difference between the two? What if we can't?


Again, it begs the question:

"Why do it in the first place?"


Because it can be done.

(Takes swig of kool-ade (with Vodka - it IS BRC, after all!) to wash down red and blue pills)

I suspect some of the private projects will be as professional as the corporate ones. That's not a biggie. And yes, I too have heard the number of inventor and provate projects way outweigh the corporate ones.

On one hand - the whole corporate shill thing disgusts me. I mean, we're fed the donut of consumerism 358 days of the year. We work our butts off to get out there to the desert and hang with, what, 42.000+ (++) folks for a week away from the corp pushitonya games. ANd now we find that they're invited to be there to push their "unbranded" stuph on us. Grrr...

On the other - the event runs off corporate stuff anyway. Between the various brands we all ring out there(can ya say PBR?) to the gensets and porta potties out there that support the event, you've been marketed to for a while. This is a bit more blatant, but, to be honest, it's nothing new.

(Swigs more kool-aid)

It's a farking conundrum for me. While I really dig green tech, and support ways to get that into the hands of the people without the scalping and corporate greed-n-graft that's currently associates with it, pushing it here, in a place where we go to (how did someone I know put it... ) Burn shit and fuck shit up... and calling that *green* kinda makes me ill.

So there. I spoke my piece. I can kinda see what the org had in mind... after all, when ya get older ya become a bit more socially conscious. But by sticking the corp thing in our face to "teach" us, a'la green tech trade fair, at THIS event? Where most of the participants understand green *and* how to research things, well, Mmmm...

'nuff fer now - need to get a couple more pills and refresh this koolaid...

bb
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Postby deviceone » Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:57 am

The worms will wait with baited breath...


...I feel very odd and torn on this. I really want to give this the benefit of the doubt. The theme is right up my alley, and I've been really excited to see the tech come out. But, I'll have shit right then and there if I see one damn flier or pamphlet come out. The excited part of me happens from the fact that I'm trying to break in to the wind power business on my own, and I'm going to have to change my pants after I get to see the turbines they're bringing out. Not to mention the fact that I just may get a chance to network with some people that have made it, and maybe learn a few things about system design, etc. This is the geek in me having a major dream come true, and thats part of the way I see the burn anyway. On the other hand, I too see the ramifications of opening up the event to commodification. Like I said, I want to give this the benefit of the doubt, and I anxiously await seeing it all play out.

So please, try to keep your pavilion burn till after I get my technolust nut off. And remember, burning other people's art is rude, even if you don't think its art.

PS- I'm bringing one of my turbines out, and just as an extra special fuckyoucorporateassclowns, Ill be giving the design away to anyone that asks. Just bring a sheet of paper and some patience.

community, :drink:, community, :drink:, community, :drink:, community. Drunk.

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yep
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Postby Ron » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:44 am

Chai Guy wrote:...
Again, it begs the question:

"Why do it in the first place?"


At this point my guess would have to be because it gave the Org some cool tools to use that they didn't have to pay for...

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Postby Bob » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:05 am

The Church Lady smack, as usual, was mine..... stop smoking dope and you might remember to provide accurate attributions.

Again, my complaint has not so much to do with Larry's prerogatives wrt building his own overly extravagant theme camp under the Man every year, paid for by your ticket money -- rather that it's utterly retarded to have a tech fair at which you will be hindered from finding out how to adopt the technology.

I hope nobody's expecting Larry to be driving a solar powered car anytime soon, but the miles have to be piling up on that old Jeep of his. I figured Burning Man was over in '97-'98 when the org people started buying brand new SUVs, sans lumber racks.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:07 pm

Bob wrote: -- rather that it's utterly retarded to have a tech fair at which you will be hindered from finding out how to adopt the technology.


How would one be hindered from finding out how to adopt the technology?
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Thu Jul 12, 2007 2:38 pm

Bob wrote:..... stop smoking dope


You Fookin Church Lady :P
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Food for thought

Postby actiongrl » Thu Jul 12, 2007 4:32 pm

Brain snacks on the subject from Brian Doherty.

http://www.reason.com/news/show/121343.html
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Postby Bob » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:08 pm

LeChatNoir wrote:How would one be hindered from finding out how to adopt the technology?


As with any tools, one usually wants to know what technology is good, and which is shit, which inevitably means choosing brands to buy or to avoid. How can you do this when brand names are verboten?

Not that I expect this to make sense to Larry, or your average burner. Larry's staff has their whole experience catered by commercial vendors, after all, and the rest of you can't seem to comprehend how much commerce actually goes into making Burning Man happen.
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Postby actiongrl » Thu Jul 12, 2007 6:56 pm

Well Bob, maybe the point isn't to display "products" so you can buy them.
Maybe the point is to display ideas so you can think about them.

Maybe that's why about 80% of the invitees responded with, "Why the hell would I want to do this?" and turned tail to walk away.

The ones that are still interested? Well, they may just have a genuine interest in piquing thought about climate change, or inspiring OTHER projects, or just plain participating in a creative process (like donating alt energy to power the man) rather than selling you a widget. To the others, I think, well, good riddance, advertising so they can sell you stuff is not why we invited them.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:08 pm

Bob wrote:
LeChatNoir wrote:How would one be hindered from finding out how to adopt the technology?


As with any tools, one usually wants to know what technology is good, and which is shit, which inevitably means choosing brands to buy or to avoid. How can you do this when brand names are verboten?


The brand name being verboten would only keep me from easily adopting that particular product. It does not make the technology unable to be adopted. You can look at how any project (and it’s various components) is put together and learn about its technology and application of same. I don’t have to know who made it to find out what it is.

Referencing again, Jim Mason and Chicken John’s gasification projects. I don’t have to know who the manufacturer of the rubber hose they are using is to know that I can run a rubber hose from part A to part B and have a similar situation. That’s the stuff I’m interested in.

and the rest of you can't seem to comprehend how much commerce actually goes into making Burning Man happen.


Ah come on, now.... I think anyone with some logical thought can look around them and figure out that all that stuff didn't grow there. It takes gobs of commerce to get there. I come from Kentucky, and I know all about it every time I fill up my truck's 34 gallon fuel tank at $3.00+ a gallon. It costs a lot of money and I'm just one guy without any titanic projects to deal with. You know... there's even a form of commerce in just the social networks that form out of the event.

Of course there's commerce... its how its both applied and presented that I'm more concerned with. And that's the part I'll be looking for at least when it comes to the pavilion.
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Postby spectabillis » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:37 pm

Bob wrote:... and the rest of you can't seem to comprehend how much commerce actually goes into making Burning Man happen.


that doesnt make sense, what part of commerce and burning man hasnt ever been commented on? or are you comparing the level of comprehension to some other situation or group? because i cant think of these discussions in many places and seeing that nothing, absolutely nothing in today's world is without some varied form of economics, definately looks like the comprehension level is higher than what an average person has considered.
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Postby Chai Guy » Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:08 am

Thanks for the brain snacks Andie.

My Favorite quote?
[quote]To use an analogy that could offend all concerned, what’s happening with Burning Man could be seen as if Burger King, after years of assuring its customers that flame-broiling burgers was the proper thing to do and one of its special distinctions, decided to start frying them after all. Sure, many might not even notice or care. Some might decide, well, I’ve learned to like Burger King for lots of other reasons—the fries or the pies or the cool “Kingâ€
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Postby madmatt » Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:22 am

deviceone wrote:...I feel very odd and torn on this....I'm trying to break in to the wind power business on my own...I just may get a chance to network with some people...a major dream come true...
Adrian


Hey Device! Thanks for your post, I think you may be the quintessential example of what BMORG is trying to do by having this trade show at BRC.
(It's to your credit that you feel conflicted about this, and applaud your business, so don't take this as a personal attack, just part of the debate.)

I understand how being able to "network" with other people who are in the same business as you is certainly advantageous, isn't that precisely what so many burners have a big issue with?

Is the Playa where people in the tech business go to network? Is it where people who rent RVs go to network? Is it where people who rent audio and light equipment go to network? I personally applaud your particular kind of business and hope that you become a millionaire because it will mean that many more wind turbines out there.

But is your "type" of business inherently more valuable than someone's startup apparel brand? (I think it is, but we're talking about assumptions that everyone is on the same page with values. One of the great things about BRC is that not everyone is the same!!!!!)

One of the things that bothers me most about this whole thing is that it assumes that everyone at BRC will swallow this just because it's environmental so it's "good." Why not have an ACLU Pavillion?

They're also picking and choosing which activities and technologies and models they deem to be most environmentally beneficial, even if they will tell us, "we really did our best to show a wide selection of environmentally beneficial technology." - not everyone agrees on what that is, and even broad consensus on it changes. Just look at nuclear power. It's looking greener all the time, I'm afraid!

deviceone wrote:PS- I'm bringing one of my turbines out, and just as an extra special fuckyoucorporateassclowns, Ill be giving the design away to anyone that asks. Just bring a sheet of paper and some patience.


I appreciate very much that you are doing this! But in a philosophical - not flaming - spirit of discussion, what's the difference between that and my brother coming to BM and giving away 1,000 T shirts from his start up apparel brand?

Just because more burners think environmentally friendly wind turbines are better for the world than t shirts? What if the tshirts say "go green" and are sweatshop free, and made with organic hemp?

What if your wind turbines are made from metals and plastics that are not renewable, and made in factories that spew out toxic smoke?
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Postby Bob » Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:18 am

True, Spec, I don't see the fate of money dispersal and its results this year being significantly different from any other year, and I think people understand that they're paying Larry to put on a grand exhibition with an emphasis on curated art that makes everyone else's art look small & stubby. One of his inspirations for designing Burning Man has been international expositions, which are always designed around some sort of grand uplifting theme. Maybe your average ticket-buyers will accept technology abstracted, if projected on a large enough scale that brand names become blurred. In the end, if it's good technology worth adopting & using in real life, you have to know where to buy the stuff yourself, unless the aim is to promote some funded artist's commission to build a big belching methane-processing haggis-on-wheels out of junkyard parts in your driveway back home.
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:28 am

thanks to Chai for the links.

Marion is an incredibly talented writer and a gifted communicator. So why, with this controversy raging unabated, is she able to draft a response to a columnist (in which she refutes an assertion concerning lack of communication) and STILL issue no communication to the unwashed masses who frequent this board or who visit the BM homepage?

The people most likely upset by the way the $Green Man$ theme was implemented are the ones who have attended more than once or twice and who probably buy their tickets pretty early...i.e. before the corporate angle was unveiled. The virgins or first timers are not as likely to be invested enough in BM to fret much that the area surrounding The Man is not a sublime space of mystery and imagination but a direct and overt link to Defaultia.

As I stated before, I will wait and hold off on boycotting the Pavillion until I see it. But what does tick me off is the sense that BM belongs soley to BMorg and its theirs to do with it as they want. The Pavillion centered at the base of the Man and the comments in the Business 2.0 article, were pretty callous in the context of this community. How about vetting such a theme before your core constituents have already purchased their tickets? How about Marion using her considerable powers of communication to post something on the website about this controversy?
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Postby joel the ornery » Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:58 am

Teo del Fuego wrote:How about Marion using her considerable powers of communication to post something on the website about this controversy?



and spoil all this intrigue?

not in this lifetime.
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Postby Archantael » Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:17 am

$$$$$$$ Maid Marian is part of the $enior $taff that $tand$ to gain from any profit made off this $$$$ green $$$$ $howca$e pavilion. You hone$tly think $he'll po$t anything that could kill a ca$h cow? Not likely! Remember, in the end it'$ all about the $$$$$$$
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Postby Teo del Fuego » Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:27 am

Archantael wrote:profit made off this $$$$ green $$$$ $howca$e pavilion.


tell me again, how is Marion making big bucks off this?
(Im not being sarcastic, btw.)
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Postby Dork » Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:38 am

Teo del Fuego wrote:
Archantael wrote:profit made off this $$$$ green $$$$ $howca$e pavilion.


tell me again, how is Marion making big bucks off this?
(Im not being sarcastic, btw.)

It's all speculation. Without any real transparency into compensation, perks, gifts, and how they handle the profits listed in the article we don't know. The article has made some of us wonder whether the ORG is ramping up for some future cash-out.
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Postby Archantael » Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:29 pm

Cash out? I wonder if the neon on the man this year will be green....as in the color of money? It seems appropriate enough.

As for my earlier comment any member of the LLC could be trying to milk the cash cow at this point. You know, I know, the temptation is there. A little policy change here, a little exhibit there, add in some mission creep and next thing you know the event as we knew it is toast.

Never, ever underestimate the power of large sums of money to corrupt. Besides with the age of the LLC members creeping up, a nice healthy retirement slushfund built with minimal effort would be a lure all it's own...after all the people that contribute to the event (and that potential funding source) are mainly just entries on a spreadsheet, or faces they see for 3-5 days per year at best. Who better to exploit for whatever purpose you want? Compromise those principles, bring in the corporate sponsors via the stealth marketing campaign, squelch the dissent...and voila, it's like having your own ATM to tap.

Is all of that harsh? You betcha. But with the lack of disclosure and indifference a few people think it's not harsh enough..and I tend to agree.
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Postby actiongrl » Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:04 pm

"Is the Playa where people in the tech business go to network?"

I'll answer that one: yes. Has been for years. ;)

As for all the stuff with the dollar signs and such, I can't wait to see the cites on that one. Otherwise I'm afraid it just doesn't add up, darlin'.

There will be more said to the community about this issue, that's for certain. Marian's actually out of the office and has been for about a week, but the rest of us are scrambling to put on the event (50 days!) but YES we are talking about this and taking all the wide and varied responses into account as we go...and there will be more to say. The business article was a way of talking to the business world about what we're up to this year - don't confuse that with the end of a discussion with our community.

I have to say, could it be that the rousing public dialogue about this is what all this art stuff is about anyway?
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