Some on Wall Street were up in arms recently as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wore his signature hoodie to meet with potential investors on the verge of Facebook’s initial public offering. Others rushed to defend the young CEO, going so far as to point out that he likely does not — and should not — give a damn about what people on Wall Street think. Wall Street, of course, is known for high-end business wear, not the casual day-to-day wear of many tech companies.
This is remeniscent of a post by David Dejewski, “Un-Dressing for Success.” What I got from the read is that work ethic and care for the task at hand matter a whole lot more than what big-name clothing someone is hiding under. I work here at GovLoop and at a high-tech company, Graphene Laboratories. In both environments I feel like what has mattered wasn’t whether or not I was dressed to impress, but that I was ready to roll up my sleeves and get cranking on whatever new projects come up.
Nobody ever dared ask the late Steve Jobs to wear a suit. And when they did, it didn’t turn out well. Both Jobs and Zuckerberg are entrepreneurs — people who usually have to pave their own way. These two individuals aren’t always good at playing by the rules of others, with Zuckerberg having met with investors in the early days of Facebook late and in pajamas. Though Zuckerberg now regrets the incident, his willingness to do things his own way has lead to the success of Facebook, and there’s no shame in that.
So why would anyone whose end goal is a high ROI from an investment in Facebook be interested in what Zuckerberg is wearing? Does this signal that Wall Street doesn’t understand the tech industry? If Zuckerberg’s hoodie was part of the secret sauce that made Facebook a success with a near $100 billion valuation for its IPO, then live and let live.