Burning the Systems

Ticketfly is coming in, with a new ticketing system, selling vehicle passes as well as tickets. Burning Man’s bazaar marketplace has been taken down, to be revamped in some unknown way, presumably fitting this year’s theme of commerce and trade. All kinds of Burner-related goodies and merchandise will probably be on sale soon at burningman.com. The Burning Man Project is developing a new online learning portal, to teach the world about the Ten Principles and the Holy Wisdom of BMOrg.

All this takes systems. Lots, and lots of systems. If you know what I’m talking about, then you might want to apply for this full-time position at Burning Man HQ as “Event Systems Manager”:


The Event Systems Manager oversees the technology systems and projects that support the annual production of Black Rock City and year-round events. Responsibilities include the selection or development, maintenance, implementation and operational readiness and support of software systems that support a wide variety of event-related logistical needs. In addition to direct management of these systems, this role engages with other BRC departmental technology projects and systems as relevant. This position reports to the Technology Director and supervises seasonal employees, part-time and project contractors, volunteers, and vendor relationships. 

This is a full-time, regular position eligible for benefits in our San Francisco office.


The Event Systems Manager is responsible for the people, software and technology processes supporting the annual production of Black Rock City, as well as certain year-round events. This involves performing tasks, delegating tasks, managing team members, managing vendors, and cultivating the staff and volunteers using and supporting our various event operations systems.  

Management of systems includes, but is not limited to the following: 

* Dataflow Manager Logistics Request System – Logistics Requests, Commissary Access and Tracking    
* Django Systems – Playa Events Calendar, Ride-share Board, Playa Directory, Burning Man Innovation API    
* Shiftboard Team Management System
* UStream Webcast broadcast 

Stakeholder responsibilities in the following systems: 

* Event Access: TicketFly – Ticket Sales, Credentials Requests, Gate Scanning
* Customer/User Support: Zendesk
* Ranger Incident Tracking System
* Future Gate Incident Tracking System
* Future Airport Tracking System
* Department Systems for ESD, PG&E, Rangers, DPW, BMIR, Others
* Salesforce

Responsibilities will also extend to any new event-related systems or vendors engaged by Black Rock City, LLC, or The Burning Man Project.

Duties include:

* Supervise full-time staff, project contractors, vendors, and volunteers as necessary to ensure availability and functionality of event production systems and supporting functions.

* Create contracts, participate in candidate screening and perform administration required to engage contractors as necessary. 

* Collaborate with system administrators to ensure operating system level upgrades and support is in place for internally hosted software systems.

* As necessary supervise or lead stakeholders through analysis exercises in order to determine technology system functional and business requirements.

* Monitor and manage resolution of change requests, bug reports and user support issues pertaining to event production systems.

* Ensure timely resolution of any system outages.

* Perform research and analysis for emerging technologies and trends in the areas of event production.

* Manage or perform tasks as related to organization FileMaker databases, including creating new databases and performing database management, data extracts and other supporting tasks as required.

* Participate in Tech Committee planning and prioritization efforts.

* Engage in efforts to appreciate all staff and volunteers.

* Provide timely reporting of work accomplished by team members and volunteers.

* Write internal Ember Report for annual debrief cycle.

* Write external AfterBurn report or other public facing web reports as necessary.

* Provide updates regarding event production systems at staff meetings and other forums as necessary.

* Participate in Volunteer Recruitment open houses.

* Participate in and represent event operations systems at the Global Leadership Conference. 

* Attend All-Staff Meetings and Staff Development Trainings.

* Participate in off-site Debriefs, Retreats, and other sessions as necessary.

* 4 –year degree in Technology field or equivalent work experience.

* Experience leading teams through deployment of at least 4 technology systems.

* 2 years or more experience managing software and system maintenance efforts.

* 2 years project management and/or production management experience.

* Practical experience with numerous collaboration and office infrastructure software systems, including best practices and process management.

* Previous experience with internal staff training and communication efforts.

* Previous experience managing vendor relationships.

* Previous experience leading software evaluation and selection projects.  

* Previous experience working in a team with development and production software environments.

* Previous experience managing change control processes.

* Leadership experience managing the resolution of support issues.

* Previous experience designing and managing project-based contract positions.

* Ability to supervise and mentor others to foster a cooperative and collaborative work environment.

* Very strong written and verbal communication skills.

* Very detail oriented.

* Significant knowledge and experience within the Burning Man Project, organization and community.

* Dedicated to principles of behavior and ethics of the Burning Man organization.

* Highly motivated.

* Very strong social, networking, and interpersonal skills.

* BRC, LLC is an equal-opportunity employer.

That’s a helluva big list. No word on what the position pays, and presumably there aren’t any stock options. Anyone in Silicon Valley with the qualifications they’re asking for, could probably command six figures and a decent chunk of a startup’s equity. Everyone needs project managers who can deploy systems and manage teams, and do a sysadmin and database administrator’s job at the same time. Of course they should also be great leaders (like most IT people are – not!), great report writers as well as systems designers, detail oriented AND creative at the same time, highly motivated, and on call 24/7 in case of any outages. It doesn’t specifically say they need to write code, but a lot of the things listed are what Senior Systems Analysts do.

clusterfuck cerealHere, they’re being asked to manage 9 different core legacy systems plus multiple existing databases, 5 different department systems (not specified)…as well as developing 2 brand new systems and even more databases. How many databases does this organization need? Plus it sounds like they’re going to need to introduce bug tracking and change management systems. This would be 18 systems total, plus an unspecified number of databases. From an IT perspective, this sounds like a nightmare. I’m assuming that none of these systems are integrated with each other. They’re also being asked to manage vendors, which in this case I think means IT vendors – which means BMOrg plans to have even more systems in the future.

Of particularly interest is Salesforce. This system is used to track “deals”, from when they’re just a twinkle of a lead in BMOrg’s eye, all the way through to when the deal is closed and the money is in the bank. It’s a cumbersome piece of software, managing a Salesforce implementation is often a full-time job in itself. Most of the Fortune 500 use it to manage large sales teams. Who are the sales team for BMOrg, and what is it, exactly, that BMOrg are selling that requires the use of a sophisticated tool like this? Photo shoots, perhaps? Advertising? Sponsorships?

dilbert salesforce