A San Francisco startup pays its employees to go to Burning Man. Their pictures show what it's like to live in the art-filled desert festival on the company's dime.
- 15Five, a performance management software company based in San Francisco, paid for two of its employees to go to Burning Man this year.
- The startup's cofounder said the festival teaches people about creativity, an important business skill.
- The employees shared pictures of their experience with Business Insider.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
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Burning Man gives attendees a chance to escape their typical 9-to-5 gigs for a cashless, art-filled, dusty desert experience.
For some employees, however, showing up at Burning Man is just a part of the job.
The nine-day festival occurred this past August, and welcomed more than 70,000 people to Black Rock City, Nevada.
Two attendees had their tickets paid for by their company, 15Five, a performance management software group in San Francisco. The startup recently launched a program that lets employees who'd never been to Burning Man attend for the first time... and on the company's dime.
Shane Metcalf, cofounder and chief culture officer of 15Five, created the program because the festival had been life changing for him, and he wanted to offer the same experience to his work colleagues.
"My job as chief culture officer is to think about how to build high-preforming teams that are thriving," Metcalf told Business Insider. "I thought there's no greater experience I'd rather gift to our people than a ticket to Burning Man."
Here's what it looks like to have your company pay you to go to Burning Man:
15Five paid two of its employees, account executives Lior Givol and Seth Eisenberg, to go experience Burning Man for the first time.
While the company will buy the Burning Man ticket, employees still need to use their own vacation days to take a week off to attend the festival. The company also isn't liable for any damages that may happen on the trip.
Metcalf says Burning Man's reliance on a cashless system and its focus on building art installations teaches attendees creativity, which he adds is a skill imperative to any good business.
Here, Metcalf and his wife Alia are seen atop a sculpture called the Mystic Flyer, which Metcalf helped build along with other 15Five employees.
Due to the festival's proximity to the Bay Area, many tech workers attend the festival — but Metcalf (pictured) said they are still a minority.
The company's senior marketing manager David Mizne (pictured left) was also on the trip. He met his wife at Burning Man in 2011, and the two now have a young daughter.
Mizne climbed atop a giant sculpture called Lord Snort, crafted by Sonoma artist Bryan Tedrick.
Mizne went on another sculpture that spun him around.
Toward the end of the trip, the two employees who used the program attended the annual Temple Burn to mourn lost loved ones.
Jenna Dockery, customer success manager at 15Five, also attended the event.
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