Steve Outtrim – “Silicon Valley’s Secret Weapon: The Shadow History of Burners, Part 7: Social Engineering on the Electronic Frontier” #261

Saturday, August 26 at 1PM Pacific - LIVE! Don't miss it! The Conclusion of The Shadow History of Burners, with Steve Outtrim.

Silicon Valley's Secret Weapon: The Shadow History of Burners, Part 7: Social Engineering on the Electronic Frontier

Gnostic Media is happy to present podcast Episode #261: Steve Outtrim returns for his eight time to continue our discussion into his research on Silicon Valley and Burning Man, titled: “Silicon Valley's Secret Weapon: The Shadow History of Burners, Part 7: Social Engineering on the Electronic Frontier”. This is the long awaited conclusion of this series since beginning it over 16 months ago, and this episode is live and we may field questions from the audience.

This also ends the time consuming, pre-recorded and edited Gnostic Media podcast episodes, moving to a live format after nearly 9 years.

Steve Outtrim is a technology entrepreneur from New Zealand, who now lives in San Francisco. He created the HotDog Web Editor, which was named as the 3rd most downloaded software on the Internet by WIRED in 1997. He IPO'd his company Sausage Software in Australia in 1996, making him at age 23 the youngest CEO of a public company - a record held by Rupert Murdoch for more than 40 years. He has invested in more than 50 early-stage technology companies and founded 4 that he exited via IPO or trade sale.

Steve is a Shadow Historian, and for the last 3 years has been writing a book series looking behind the scenes of the tech world. Steve created the blog Burners.Me in 2012 to discuss Burning Man and Burner culture. It is the largest independent Burner site, with more than 200,000 followers. He has been to 12 burns since 1998.

Steve brings a first-hand, unique perspective to Silicon Valley and its ties to the military and Burning Man.

Part 01:

Part 02:

Part 03:

Part 04:

Part 05a:

Part 05b:

Part 6:


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Additional clips at

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  3 comments for “Steve Outtrim – “Silicon Valley’s Secret Weapon: The Shadow History of Burners, Part 7: Social Engineering on the Electronic Frontier” #261

  1. carl hassell
    August 26, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Absolutely another riveting show!! I like these marathon sessions with Steve. Thanks to both of you for an informative, and sometimes humorous presentation. I hope to see a part eight.

  2. Chuck Williams
    August 29, 2017 at 1:40 am

    I had another memory about a peripheral experience from the 90’s that has a small association with Burning Man. Specifically the Helco experiment. I am pretty sure the event was an exhibition thrown by Survival Research Lab sometime in 1997 or 1998. Possibly 1996. SRI was doing a two part agit-prop “attack” in the streets of San Francisco. The first part I did not attend. But I remember reading about it and hearing about it. The SRI crew ignited a jet engine in front of the Roxy theater in The Castro. I think the purpose was to create an incredibly loud ruckus. Apparently the main instigators and organizers were arrested. I know this because it impacted the second part of the day’s activities.

    Later that evening they had an event on Minna St. in SoDo. Things were in disarray because of the arrests earlier in the day. The event was to be some sort of post-apocalyptic robot war in a warehouse. I was not and am not any kind of insider. I was there based on a recommendation from my pot dealer. The event was delayed by hours. And was anticlimatic when the robot that was to do some destruction had failed mechanically early in the presentation.

    The part that struck me as odd was there were two obvious burner types there doing some recruiting. They looked like typical burners as if they had stepped off The set of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. The woman was beautiful and dressed in a risque way. She had a clip board and some Helco information. She was trying to get people to sell their souls to Helco. I asked her what I would get in return and she said I should sign on the list to find out. My bullshit detector was going off so I did not sign anything. I then felt shunned by the people at the event. Though I was a pipsqueek fresh off the bus from the Mid West so the feeling of being shunned may have been more because I wasn’t a “cool person” city slicker artist. I was pretty much what people called a “custie”. Anyway, the woman definitely seemed dead serious when I asked her if it was all a put on. I distinctly remember her being absolutely serious about her mission to sign people up and sell their souls to Satan.

  3. John Cokos
    September 4, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Does life imitate Art. A man was just burnt to death at Burning Man by running INTO he Burning Man flames.

    Just know you can’t make this stuff up…

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