I first found out about Burning Man a few years back, when I walked into a lobby hung with pictures of fire spinners at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. Since then, I’ve been out to the Playa twice and have found myself thinking about it almost every day. I’m pretty sure that Burning Man is to Silicon Valley what a Protestant chapel might have been to a steel milling town a hundred years ago — a place to practice the ideals and forms of social organization on which the industries of the region depend.
I made that case at some length in the article Burning Man at Google: A Cultural Infrastructure for New Media Production?
I also made it in a lecture that was videotaped for a computer science class at Stanford that you can watch here.
If Burning Man is new to you, I recommend you pop over to http://www.burningman.com/.