Burners spend thousands preparing for the money-free event. But just as the desert community cannot fully escape capitalism, neither can capitalism remain untouched by the "gift economy."
Burning Man is happening right now and it's on my bucket list to go to there. Why? Well for one, think of all the awesome stories I'll be able to tell afterward!
But that is not the only reason. I want to go to Burning Man so I can experience/learn more about the ethos and logos of community, values in action, and how the future may look/feel through different economic values that I see emerging today.
Burning Man is a week-long art event that happens in a totally desolate desert with sandstorms and no water. You pack in all you need. And you pack out everything you generate.
What has this event got to do with storytelling though? Because what I see in Burning Man are the basic tenets of storytelling. Not how to tell a good story. But what principles underpin great storytelling.
Here are the basic principles of Burning Man and the link to storytelling:
- Make real connections with people instead of only commercial connections. What counts is connection at the event, not commodity. The highest leverage point in biz storytelling is making connections that keep people devoted to your product/service over time. Not "I tell you a story; you buy my product" short term transactions.
- Create something for the collective reward. We swap meaningful stories ultimately to share our wisdom, knowledge, lessons, inspirations which elevate all of us together. This is often what drives the best of the best storytellers.
- Invest in a product/service/org for the joy it will bring you and other people. Invest because it is beautiful, not ONLY because a profit exists (think Steve Jobs & Apple). We share stories because of the joy and beauty they bring to ourselves and others, not ONLY because of profits to realize.
- Giving and gifting is the culture of Burning Man. The best storytelling emerges when you think of your story as a gift you offer others. In both cases you are feeding souls, not stomachs.
- At Burning Man people create awe inspiring art to share. People dream, convene, create, and make. Storytelling is a creative act that also harnesses this same power in the same way. Crafting a story is not a plot or story structure you cram yourself into.
- Burning Man can help folks shift, change, and reset back in daily life. Stories can do the exact same thing.
- Burning Man is able to not lose its authenticity as it grows bigger. I want to learn that so stories don't lose their authenticity as audiences and connections grow bigger.
Now back to the article -- this is a fascinating story about Burning Man and the values they focus on. It's a terrific example of values in action and how values shape culture. There are good lessons here for all of us in leadership, living values, and org storytelling.
This is a great read to enjoy. Maybe next year I'll get there!
This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it