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Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman Channels Dissent and Tents at Burning Man

The billionaire CEO gets weird in the Nevada desert.

Burning Man, the annual art-aspirational and fifty-thousand-person-strong desert commune known for its loose barter system and for recently having been overrun by the technorati, is currently in the third day of its twenty-eighth year. While the event long ago lost any strong claim to being a countercultural kiln, for many it still holds rejuvenative powers — including billionaire CEO Bob Pittman, head of the media goliath Clear Channel.

The intrepid Nellie Bowles, writing for Re/code, visited Pittman at his Burning Man home, a “spider house” or “Dhome” that Pittman had… designed? Bought and constructed? It’s not clear. But Pittman’s reasons for sleeping in the desert (on a lovingly made queen-sized bed) are quite obvious, according to Bowles’ account.

“To the outside world, Burning Man is a rave with sex and drugs. Or it’s the New York Post article saying I have a private chef cooking me dinner. This, to me, is Burning Man,” he said, gesturing to the spider contraption surrounding us.

And, on the topic of large businesses versus the singular beauty of his Dhomes:

“This is why big companies are all fucked up, and small aren’t,” Pittman said. “By the time something gets to my desk, it’s been through 10 people, so the system is lopsided to no’s. I worship dissent. People say they want to get rid of chaos — why do you want to do that? Have the idea and live with the wildness. The consensus style of business is great for a factory line, but not for innovation. And worshipping dissent — that’s Burning Man.”

Also a totemic token of good will was exchanged. Read the full, barely believable profile here.