This is the week we've all been waiting for.
Long-time residents of San Francisco know that during the last week of August -- and only during this week -- it's possible to get a last-minute table reservation, even at one of the Bay Area's most popular restaurants including Slanted Door in San Francisco or Manresa in Los Gatos.
The daily commute from San Francisco to Mountain View, normally a 90-minute crawl along Highway 101, takes half the time.
And -- wonder of wonders -- you can actually find a parking spot, even near always-packed Dolores Park, the gathering place of choice for tech hipsters on hot summer days. (Actually, we never have hot summer days in San Francisco. But I digress).
Where did everyone go? Touring the wineries up in Napa? Soaking up the sun down in Malibu? Vacationing in Paris?
Everyone's at Burning Man.
This week marks the 30th anniversary of the annual Burning Man celebration, which has been held for the past 25 years in Nevada's Black Rock Desert northeast of Reno. During its formative years the event, which was launched as an intimate summer solstice gathering for free spirits, took place on San Francisco's Baker Beach.
The week-long gathering has evolved into a sun-scorched Mardi Gras/Halloween/Outward Bound desert ritual, hugely popular with Silicon Valley. Top executives including Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Facebook's (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon's (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com Inc. Report Jeff Bezos and Tesla Motors' (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report Elon Musk have all been temporary residents of Black Rock City, as the venue is called, and the desert "playa" has become the place to see and be seen among the hard-working tech set.
Burning Man's 10 principles, which include "radical self-expression, radical self-reliance, communal effort and civic responsibility," resonate deeply within Silicon Valley. So do these words, which appear at the top of Burning Man's home page: "A city in the desert. A culture of possibility. A network of dreamers and doers."
To the approximately 70,000 "Burners" who attend each year, the attraction is obvious.
"If you haven't been, you just don't get it," Tesla's Musk reportedly said a few years ago.
During this year's Burning Man, which began on Sunday, Aug. 28 and will continue through Monday, Sept. 5, Burners will try to outdo themselves once again with massive art installations, "mutant" or altered vehicles, and creative costumes and clothing (or the lack thereof).
To get everyone in the proper frame of mind, the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday published this article with dozens of photos of past Burning Man gatherings, as well as a link to the "Burning Man Survival Guide 2016."
Over the years, Burning Man has served as a refreshing "pause button" for hard-charging Silicon Valley -- in good times and bad.
In August 2000, just four months after the Nasdaq tanked, effectively ending the first dot-com boom, astute Silicon Valley observer Vanessa Hua described Burning Man this way for the San Francisco Examiner: "What the Nasdaq plunge last April couldn't do, Burning Man can -- slow down Silicon Valley."
In 2016, though, things are different. The Nasdaq has roared back and many important tech stocks, including Apple, which was lagging earlier this year, are showing healthy gains.
Alphabet is up by about 2% so far this year and Amazon has gained about 14%. (Shares of both companies rose by less than 1% on Monday). Apple, which was down slightly on Monday, has risen by about 1.6% so far in 2016. Facebook, which jumped by 1.3% on Monday, is up by about 20% so far this year.
But maybe you're busy working this week and can't make it to Burning Man. Or maybe you'd really like to get away to Yosemite, but can't make it there, either.
According to a report by SiliconBeat's Rex Crum, Fitbit (FIT) - Get Fitbit, Inc. Class A Report is offering Adventures, a feature that replicates beautiful walks along various Yosemite trails on your smartphone.
Sounds pretty cool. But me, I'd rather be at a Springsteen concert. Is there an app for that?
Shares of Fitbit closed Monday at $14.94, up 1.8%
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.