The stony silence of the BORG

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The stony silence of the BORG

Postby Arcticcircle » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:49 am

Predictions of this precise situation abounded pre-lottery, and the Borg didn't pay attention. Members of the community who pressed the issue were belittled by a handful of lottery drumbeaters, and now we've found that -- indeed -- everything you need to know about this system could have been predicted by a couple of introductory courses in psychology and economics. Or, hell, good intuition.

Where WAS the Borg when people were bringing up their concerns? Where IS the Borg now? I know Marian responded to that one reporter from the SF paper this afternoon, but I think the massive overhaul followed by compete stonewall has been strange and disappointing to say the least.

At this stage, I see two options for the Borg:
1) Start over. Literally pull the entire lottery and run a new distribution mechanism. It's kind of fucked at this stage because the lottery caused such a brouhaha that every scalper and profiteer on planet earth knows to exploit BRC to the hilt, so I think a straight sale with printed ticket names is as close to perfect as we could possibly hope for, flaws notwithstanding.
2) Go for it. Declare 2012 to be your balls out experimental phase and tell us we were guinea pigs in a grand scheme to re-invent the festival. Honestly, that would be a much easier pill to swallow and embrace than this limp, stressful, divisive and poorly-considered excuse of a ticket distribution system inflicted upon our community.

Hey BORG, 1 or 2? Or something else? What? I can't hear you! Cat got your tongue, Borg?
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby lemur » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:30 am

I think the name youre looking for is "BLACK ROCK CITY LLC"
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby marcgorcey » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:44 am

They are slow to communicate. In the midst of this frenzy, the last update on the website seems to be from 1 week ago.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby shiny_sparkles » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:51 am

Hi all,

Don't know if this has already been posted elsewhere on eplaya (apologies if so).

http://www.sfbg.com/pixel_vision/2012/0 ... ain-future

Includes a short update from the LLC at the very end.

Good luck to everyone still looking for tickets (me included!)

Ms Sparkles x
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby shiny_sparkles » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:56 am

Actually, ignore me - I see you've obviously already seen that link, Arctic Circle, since you've referred to it in your post. Oops!
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby gibson_ » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:16 am

>Honestly, that would be a much easier pill to swallow and embrace than this limp, stressful, divisive and poorly-considered excuse of a ticket distribution system inflicted upon our community.

QFT.

The worst thing about this is that the Borg seriously just doesn't seem to care. Guys, you fucked up. Everybody fucks up. It happens. That's fine, just *admit* that you messed up.

This is like when a kid or one of your friends breaks something in your house and then hides it because they don't want you to see. It's childish. Just own it, Borg!
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby tamarakay » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:28 am

Sorry, I received tickets in the lottery, and you would have one hell of a bloody fight on your hands trying to get me to return them.

I think it would be a mistake to think that BMorg is not listening and that they do not understand what is happening. It probably would be a good idea to issue some kind of "we hear you and we are working through it" directly to us and not through second hand sources like reporters. Even a short little JackRabbitSpeaks would be nice.

In the absence of real information, people make shit up.

I feel sorry for whoever gets hired for the PR position they advertised. She will definitely work hard for her money.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby gibson_ » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:33 am

>Even a short little JackRabbitSpeaks would be nice.

Exactly this is what needs to happen. And none of that wishy-washy "oh everything is fine dear burner! The experiment is only 25% over!" or whatever. Just "hey, we messed up. We're sorry. Here is how we're going to fix it, and here is how we're going to make sure it never happens again."
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby 5280MeV » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:44 am

It may also be the case that the BMorg cannot currently speak with a unified voice.

I really cannot imagine that they are sitting around drinking champagne and ignoring the community response. I also doubt that everyone is in agreement on a proper course of action. I expect that some of the arguments being had down here are mirrored by equally passionate arguments in the organization's offices. Once they have agreed on a response, if they even can agree on one, I expect that they will send out a JRS.

I am relatively new here, and don't know anyone personally at the office, so this is just my guess, but I think it is reasonable.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby Boijoy » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:48 am

shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh they are thinking.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby oneeyeddick » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:56 am

The title of this thread is "The stony silence of the BORG"

That says a mouthful right there.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby Dr. Pyro » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:07 am

You know what they say about The Borg: Resistance is futile.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby mshaman » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:10 am

Clearly BRC Llc has undermined the trust of the community with the decision to go to a lottery system, the make-it-up-as-we-go-along approach to purchase policy and public relations, and the "it'll be fine" message when it's obviously not. It is a psychological/emotional blow to camps and art collectives not just to have to wait until Feb 1, but to have to wait until July to see how the STEP program will work and if they can get tickets. By then it's too late. Expect it to be a lean year for large-scale undertakings. It is the biggest PR debacle the LLC has ever faced. And I maintain that it will take years for the LLC to recover the respect and trust of its community. If it ever wants to do so, it must offer a fundamental change in action, policy, and PR strategy.

Having worked at a major corporation and been a consultant for several others, I frequently witnessed the peter-principle in action, where someone would rise to their level of incompetence. HP used to take their best engineers and promote them to become engineering managers. Thus they would lose a good engineer, and gain a terrible manager. This was very evident in small businesses, too, where an owner of an LLC couldn't grow beyond his own shadow because of the inability to delegate, lack of financial acumen, etc. It's very possible that festival has simply grown beyond the current BRC Llc staff's skill-level. They haven't hired me as a consultant, I haven't studied their staff, so I can't rightly say. But the way this situation was handled has caused me to ask the question because it violates so many basic principles of organization. Unfortunately, we are not shareholders, can't elect board members, and can't oust incompetent actors. It is a private, for-profit corporation with no tangible accountability to those who depend on it to work.

So I really do resonate with the sentiment expressed by many here: If trust is to be regained, the errors must be admitted, the community must be listened to, and the Llc must present well-engineered solutions that they have actually been thought through before implementing them. At this point, my faith is SO damaged that it would take moving to an open-book, non-profit structure for me to be anything but guarded about the actions and leadership of the corporation.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby alt12 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:27 am

5280MeV wrote:It may also be the case that the BMorg cannot currently speak with a unified voice.

I really cannot imagine that they are sitting around drinking champagne and ignoring the community response. I also doubt that everyone is in agreement on a proper course of action. I expect that some of the arguments being had down here are mirrored by equally passionate arguments in the organization's offices. Once they have agreed on a response, if they even can agree on one, I expect that they will send out a JRS.

I am relatively new here, and don't know anyone personally at the office, so this is just my guess, but I think it is reasonable.



Actually they sit around eating the fetus brains with gold-plated silverware..... Its a BMORG delicacy!
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby alt12 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:34 am

mshaman wrote: But the way this situation was handled has caused me to ask the question because it violates so many basic principles of organization. Unfortunately, we are not shareholders, can't elect board members, and can't oust incompetent actors. It is a private, for-profit corporation with no tangible accountability to those who depend on it to work.


So true. This debacle highlights with searing pain how little accountability, if you will, there is to the community. It is after all a private event owned by a handful of people and the rest of us are literally and totally at their mercy. This has always been the case technically and there have always been subtle signs of this but never has this reality been so obvious. In the past I guess I trusted that our interests were all aligned because they're burners, we're burners, they love burning man, we love burning man, we're basically all in together even if they are call the shots and have a VIP section for their 100 elite friends within the fire-perimeter at the burn...

Now it feels more like we are totally at the capricious whim of BRC LLC. It's a sad state of affairs but we cannot pretend otherwise...
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby mshaman » Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:26 am

Alt12, I wish this thing had a "Like" button... :-)
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby igor47 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:19 pm

so lets demand answers. i'm not sure whether or how many bits flow from eplaya to the org. i tried emailing partiserv, the address listed on the ticket website, and this is what i got:

------------------------------

From: Frog G
To: Igor
CC: partiserv
Subject: Re: how about


Hi Igor. This email address isn't going to do that. Please stay tuned
to the Jackrabbit Speaks Newsletter and the Burning Man Blog on our
website for official communications. I'm here to help people with
their ticket order questions, but don't have all the answers for the
anger and abuse we are receiving.

Please try the other ways to obtain tickets.

Sincerely,

--

Frog Gilmore

Igor wrote:
> giving the community something to go on? everyone is pissed and worried and anxious and unhappy...
>
> --igor
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby Key Man » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:28 pm

Arcticcircle wrote:Predictions of this precise situation abounded pre-lottery, and the Borg didn't pay attention. Members of the community who pressed the issue were belittled by a handful of lottery drumbeaters, and now we've found that -- indeed -- everything you need to know about this system could have been predicted by a couple of introductory courses in psychology and economics. Or, hell, good intuition.

Where WAS the Borg when people were bringing up their concerns? Where IS the Borg now? I know Marian responded to that one reporter from the SF paper this afternoon, but I think the massive overhaul followed by compete stonewall has been strange and disappointing to say the least.

At this stage, I see two options for the Borg:
1) Start over. Literally pull the entire lottery and run a new distribution mechanism. It's kind of fucked at this stage because the lottery caused such a brouhaha that every scalper and profiteer on planet earth knows to exploit BRC to the hilt, so I think a straight sale with printed ticket names is as close to perfect as we could possibly hope for, flaws notwithstanding.
2) Go for it. Declare 2012 to be your balls out experimental phase and tell us we were guinea pigs in a grand scheme to re-invent the festival. Honestly, that would be a much easier pill to swallow and embrace than this limp, stressful, divisive and poorly-considered excuse of a ticket distribution system inflicted upon our community.

Hey BORG, 1 or 2? Or something else? What? I can't hear you! Cat got your tongue, Borg?


I TOTALLY AGREE and like you, think the best thing, logistical nightmare notwithstanding, would be trash all the lottery results, refund everyone's money, and start all over again with names registered to tickets.

We (and they) know they won't be doing it this way again next year because it was all wrong. Since it was all wrong, why not erase the whole damn blackboard and do it over, better, before it's too late? But that's probably just a rhetorical question, owing the the amount of work involved and (ahem) need to save face. As my mom used to say, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride". :cry:

P. S. I received a ticket confirmation, but would gladly give it up if there was a decision to start over.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby Arcticcircle » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:48 pm

Yeah yeah yeah, I know the proper name is Black Rock City, LLC. But it's way more fun to call them the Borg.

And yes, HOW I wish there was a "like" button on these threads. So many great posters.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby jscott26 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:17 pm

Boijoy wrote:shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh they are thinking.


lol srsly
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby cooked 2242 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:37 pm

mshaman wrote:Clearly BRC Llc has undermined the trust of the community with the decision to go to a lottery system, the make-it-up-as-we-go-along approach to purchase policy and public relations, and the "it'll be fine" message when it's obviously not. It is a psychological/emotional blow to camps and art collectives not just to have to wait until Feb 1, but to have to wait until July to see how the STEP program will work and if they can get tickets. By then it's too late. Expect it to be a lean year for large-scale undertakings. It is the biggest PR debacle the LLC has ever faced. And I maintain that it will take years for the LLC to recover the respect and trust of its community. If it ever wants to do so, it must offer a fundamental change in action, policy, and PR strategy.

Having worked at a major corporation and been a consultant for several others, I frequently witnessed the peter-principle in action, where someone would rise to their level of incompetence. HP used to take their best engineers and promote them to become engineering managers. Thus they would lose a good engineer, and gain a terrible manager. This was very evident in small businesses, too, where an owner of an LLC couldn't grow beyond his own shadow because of the inability to delegate, lack of financial acumen, etc. It's very possible that festival has simply grown beyond the current BRC Llc staff's skill-level. They haven't hired me as a consultant, I haven't studied their staff, so I can't rightly say. But the way this situation was handled has caused me to ask the question because it violates so many basic principles of organization. Unfortunately, we are not shareholders, can't elect board members, and can't oust incompetent actors. It is a private, for-profit corporation with no tangible accountability to those who depend on it to work.

So I really do resonate with the sentiment expressed by many here: If trust is to be regained, the errors must be admitted, the community must be listened to, and the Llc must present well-engineered solutions that they have actually been thought through before implementing them. At this point, my faith is SO damaged that it would take moving to an open-book, non-profit structure for me to be anything but guarded about the actions and leadership of the corporation.


All right on the money

It's really pretty comical when you consider the whole PR strategy seems to be a fairly open secret these days. Big Shot fucks up, big shot quickly takes responsibility - the story moves on.

Instead we're seeing Herman Cain style PR. What girl? - oh that girl, never touched her? oh I never knew I touched her.....

The part that bothers me is BORG's tone. It's just so patronizing. I'd just like some openness or transparency so I can understand. I know it's not going to change the result, but I'd feel like we were in this together instead of being on the outside looking in.

And in the end the whole Peter principle thing, while true, is not an excuse. You don't have to be a guru to know you should treat everyone with the respect you'd expect yourself. It's just the golden rule.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby ZaphodBurner » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:39 pm

tamarakay wrote:Sorry, I received tickets in the lottery, and you would have one hell of a bloody fight on your hands trying to get me to return them.


What do the tickets actually look like?

Or did you just get an e-mail confirmation and a promise?
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby ZaphodBurner » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:49 pm

5280MeV wrote:It may also be the case that the BMorg cannot currently speak with a unified voice.

I really cannot imagine that they are sitting around drinking champagne and ignoring the community response. I also doubt that everyone is in agreement on a proper course of action. I expect that some of the arguments being had down here are mirrored by equally passionate arguments in the organization's offices. Once they have agreed on a response, if they even can agree on one, I expect that they will send out a JRS.


Fact. Longtime org types are saying that can of Super Freakout has been shaken up and opened in the Org. How do you sell the remain tickets and ensure that even MORE scalping doesn't take place? (Hoarding, at least, gets tickets to burners eventually because nobody wants to eat a ticket.)

Answer: Call center. Answer the fucking phones (I'll volunteer), have burners talking to burners, and reduce the chances of bot nets buying up all the tickets.
Spammers have the means and the motive. This is about denying them the opportunity and the easiest way to do that is for two people to talk to each other on a telephone or at an organized swap meet, the old fashioned way, and pretend like at least part of us doesn't require computers, routers, switches and VISA to celebrate humanity in the desert.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby tamarakay » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:01 pm

ZaphodBurner wrote:
tamarakay wrote:Sorry, I received tickets in the lottery, and you would have one hell of a bloody fight on your hands trying to get me to return them.


What do the tickets actually look like?

Or did you just get an e-mail confirmation and a promise?


Email confirmation and a promise of four tickets in presale. Yes, I paid more to "fund the scholarship tickets" and I'm gifting one of our tickets to my daughter. This money has been spent since December and I would not give those tickets up easily.

I was one of the vocal critics of this lottery system when it was first announced. I think it's fubar, and it will always be fubar. There really is no fixing what happened with this large amount of tickets. The only way I see this can be 1/2 remedied now is perhaps placed theme camps from 2011 that plan on returning in 2012 could notify BMorg how many essential tickets they need, and BMorg could direct sell those from the 10,000 open allotment?

I'm really sorry your camp had such poor results from the lottery and I agree, this sucks. It sucks HUGELY. Two people in my little camp and lots more in my village are scrambling too.

If it makes you feel better go ahead, attack, make fun, be a jerk. Whatever it takes to make you feel more in control. BUt I have a camp too, and I have friends who are scared about not being able to go too. I love this event too.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby Dustyrusty » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:33 pm

When all LLC decisions are made on a consensus basis (i.e. everybody has to agree), decisions take time.

This isn't meant as a defense, just a little illumination.

As for my opinion: communication has NEVER been their strength. You can tell that by the website. News updates should be right upfront on the website, not buried in a blog or emailed in a newsletter. (Good backups, but not for breaking news.)

The LLC, the BORG or the BMP (the new non-profit) should communicate with the BMan community more directly rather than through the local press or some panel discussion that got recorded by an audience member. There are seemingly official Twitter and Facebook accounts, but you don't see much news on them. In the absence of regular official communication, you get the BMan community's opinion and interpretation. Some of the community members are great speakers and very effective tweeters, but at times like the ticket debacle, official word is what's needed and appreciated.

Just my 2 cents...


(Full disclosure: received no tickets in the lottery)
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby graidawg » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:39 pm

nobody trusts the borg, we let them sell the tickets and make some money then WE THE BURNERS set up the camps tear them down and clean up, WE do all the work mostly for free to make BM happen.
all this constant whining and multiple threads saying how unhappy we are does is make others unhappy and get them whining too. like so many others have said "if you don't like it don't go" sell your ticket to someone else and spend the money on any holiday you want other than BM seriously i am getting pissed off about this now.

just stop whining and lets make what we have work nobody and nothing is making you go, ffs most of the people you know don't have a ticket anyway so just go somewhere else and let those of us that have decided we actually want to have a great time whatever happens get on with enjoying ourselves
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby mshaman » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:41 pm

Dustyrusty wrote:When all LLC decisions are made on a consensus basis (i.e. everybody has to agree), decisions take time.

This isn't meant as a defense, just a little illumination.

As for my opinion: communication has NEVER been their strength. You can tell that by the website. News updates should be right upfront on the website, not buried in a blog or emailed in a newsletter. (Good backups, but not for breaking news.)

The LLC, the BORG or the BMP (the new non-profit) should communicate with the BMan community more directly rather than through the local press or some panel discussion that got recorded by an audience member. There are seemingly official Twitter and Facebook accounts, but you don't see much news on them. In the absence of regular official communication, you get the BMan community's opinion and interpretation. Some of the community members are great speakers and very effective tweeters, but at times like the ticket debacle, official word is what's needed and appreciated.

Just my 2 cents...


(Full disclosure: received no tickets in the lottery)

DustyRusty, dead on. If we get it through the telephone game, it gets less and less accurate, putting out fire with gasoline.
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby theCryptofishist » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:02 pm

Dustyrusty wrote:When all LLC decisions are made on a consensus basis (i.e. everybody has to agree), decisions take time.

This isn't meant as a defense, just a little illumination.

As for my opinion: communication has NEVER been their strength. You can tell that by the website. News updates should be right upfront on the website, not buried in a blog or emailed in a newsletter. (Good backups, but not for breaking news.)

Well-observed.

Side question: At some point, although maybe not for many years, the Burning Man Project will become very MBAish, as opposed to odd amature quality that the LLC has. Will this be an improvement? Why or why not?
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Re: The stony silence of the BORG

Postby Dustyrusty » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:23 pm

I think it's all comes down to passion and commitment. What keeps the current employees at work isn't the money, it's passion and commitment to the ideas behind Burning Man.

Can you be an MBA and have passion and commitment? Just look at the annual census. There's plenty of education on the playa. If you find MBAs willing to take non-profit level salaries, they're probably joining the organization because of passion.

So if the BMP recruits well...
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