The stereotypical attendees of next week’s Burning Man festival in Nevada are drugged-out freaks with fuzzy cowboy hats, 19 nipple piercings and no idea that they don’t look very good naked. So it may come as a surprise that some Burning Man attendees are Silicon Valley’s best-known billionaire CEOs who fly into the desert festival on private jets and helicopters. When Burning Man 2013 kicks off Monday in Nevada, several of the most rich and famous names in Internet technology will kick off their job responsibilities to spend the week raving to techno music in their finest designer pink furry boots.
We don’t know for sure which big-shot CEOs are going to Burning Man this year, as the attendee list is not public and it’s not exactly the kind of thing you’d advertise in a press release. But based on which bigwigs have donned green wigs at Burning Man festivals past, we can make some very educated guesses on which celebrity CEOs are going to Burning Man this year.
Russell Brandom at The Verge drops a few big names in a well-written essay on the increasing presence of wealthy Silicon Valley executives at Burning Man. With that information plus some intrepid Googling, I’m guessing that these are the tech CEOs who will likely be will be “out of the office and returning Tuesday, September 3rd”.
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) - We have several uncorroborated reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg attended Burning Man last year. Some bloggers at the Sierra Foothills report saw Zuckerberg arrive at Burning Man in a helicopter. Sophie Lamparter at SwissNex attended a Burning Man rave thrown by some Facebook employees and says, “Some Facebook engineers are also very talented DJs. We just missed Mark Zuckerberg, who was here about half an hour ago.” I don’t know if that is supposed to mean that Zuck himself DJ’ed, but if so I bet he played a lot of Beyonce and Taylor Swift.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Google) - It is no secret that the founders of Google are obsessed with going to Burning Man, and do so yearly. Google even donated bicycles for Burning Man attendees to use for free. A supposedly anonymous donation, The Verge outs the bikes as “provided by Google as a gift to the festival”. Back in 2007, CNN reported that Brin and Page chose Eric Schmidt as Google CEO “because he was the only candidate for the job who had been a burner.”
Elon Musk (Tesla Motors) - It is a common gripe among Burning Man attendees that Tesla CEO Elon Musk shows up with a large compound of RVs stocked with air conditioning, catered food, groceries and fantastic amounts of booze. It is a probably a common gripe because most Burning Man attendees don’t get invited in to Musk’s RVs for shrimp cocktail and margaritas.
Jeff Bezos (Amazon) - The Beez may be a little too busy for Burning Man this year, what with his recent purchase of the Washington Post and all. But the San Jose Business Journal reports that the Amazon CEO has been to Burning Man in previous years.
I happen to be attending this year myself, so I’ll let you know whether I see any of these famous tech CEOs at Burning Man. And I’ll let you know whether or not they looked good naked.