09/02/2011 04:09 pm ET | Updated Nov 02, 2011

Why We Have a Burning Man Policy

I run an interactive agency here in San Francisco. On page 10 of our employee handbook, right in between the sections on "Voting Leave" and "Military Leave," is a little section called "The Burning Man Policy."

This policy states that Traction will prioritize requests for time off -- even if people have no vacation time left -- to attend events that inspire or enhance professional and/or creative development such as Burning Man or SxSW.

This is part of our contract between our company and our employees. Our lawyer made us change the word "guarantee" to "prioritize" because sometimes client work is client work. But it's written down in ink in our company HR manual because it's something we value -- and in the 10-plus years since we started this company, I don't think a single request for time off for Burning Man has ever been turned down.


Some think it's just because we like naked people. That's true. We do like naked people. But there's more to it than that.

Burning Man, SxSW and other events that inspire creativity, innovation and original thought... these occasions are rare opportunities to light the fire of creative energy that fuels this business.

That spark is what makes us special. It's what enables us to generate ideas. To think outside the 468x60 pixel box. To have a culture where people can embrace their own individuality and contribute it to a collaborative mechanism for the manifestation of creativity. To have a company that is ten years old where less than ten people have ever chosen to leave.

Have fun on the Playa.