TEDxTokyo 2014

Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell just gave a presentation at TEDxTokyo, on her way to Midburn in Israel.

Some noteworthy highlights from the 10 12 minute talk:

marian cats– she confirms our estimate that Burning Man is now a $30 million a year business

– the Burning Man Project board now has no less than 19 directors. The public web site lists 17. Who are the other two? Perhaps John Perry Barlow and Peter Hirshberg, who crossed the country for “The Founders Speak” Burning Man lecture, but have no “official” history as BMOrg Founders.

– She claims that they orient the city to the East. It is actually oriented 45 degrees clockwise from North – that is, North-East.

– Other claims: cellphones do not work (no longer true). Internet is intermittent (available in many places including Center Camp; at least 4 Wi-Fi networks were available around First Camp in 2012; in 2013 they upgraded their dedicated Internet link to 45 Mb/s). Money is essentially useless, you can only buy coffee and ice (not true).

the-dust-storm-burning-man-2010-04-500x500“Burning Man is more than just an event – it’s a way of looking at the world. A practice field for how the joy and happiness of Burning Man can be tended to when you get home…It’s an experience of living you can bring to your everyday life…it gives people an opportunity to look at themselves differently and more authentically

…they might take on a personality or a character
…they might find themselves amongst others taking on the same character
…they might find themselves connected to a group
…in the course of doing that, they might find themselves part of a greater whole”


Maid Marian wasn’t the only BMOrg staffer presenting to the Japanese. Social Alchemist Bear Kittay also gave a presentation, in which he announced “I am a robot”. The singularity is coming, and Burning Man is its church.

Burning Man's Social Alchemist Bear Kittay also took the stage at TEDxTokyo

Burning Man’s Social Alchemist Bear Kittay takes the stage at TEDxTokyo dressed in his finest Playa attire

17 comments on “TEDxTokyo 2014

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  14. A talk at TED skewering TED-an increasingly empty and pompous event. Kinda like BM…..


    A brief excerpt:

    So what is TED exactly?

    Perhaps it’s the proposition that if we talk about world-changing ideas enough, then the world will change. But this is not true, and that’s the second problem.

    TED of course stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and I’ll talk a bit about all three. I Think TED actually stands for: middlebrow megachurch infotainment.

    The key rhetorical device for TED talks is a combination of epiphany and personal testimony (an “epiphimony” if you like ) through which the speaker shares a personal journey of insight and realization, its triumphs and tribulations.

    What is it that the TED audience hopes to get from this? A vicarious insight, a fleeting moment of wonder, an inkling that maybe it’s all going to work out after all? A spiritual buzz?

    I’m sorry but this fails to meet the challenges that we are supposedly here to confront. These are complicated and difficult and are not given to tidy just-so solutions. They don’t care about anyone’s experience of optimism. Given the stakes, making our best and brightest waste their time –and the audience’s time— dancing like infomercial hosts is too high a price. It is cynical.

    • good comment, and most appropriate. Did Maid Marian add to human understanding? I doubt it. Was it warm and fuzzy? Yes, if you’d been to burning man already. Does this advance the technology world, the world of ideas? Not even conceivably. Does it improve the audience’s understanding of BM? Well, we’ve pointed out 5 inaccuracies/falsehoods in the 10-minute talk, and that’s without even trying to count them. Perhaps a more factual speech would lead to greater understanding. Then again, no politician ever got elected on The Truth.


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