How to Dress for an IPO (Or Why the Tech World Needs a Liberace)

Clothes make the man. And in the case of Mark Zuckerberg, it is the hoodie, which is part of a look that has endeared him to some as the founder and very public face of Facebook. To his admirers, the hoodie is a display of authenticity. He is about to become one of the richest men in the world, but he still dresses like the guy who dreamed up the "once-in-a-generation idea" in his Harvard dorm room. 

"I'm CEO…Bitch."

And yet, not everyone is impressed -- notably Michael Pachter, a Wall Street analyst who issued a buy recommendation for Facebook but told Bloomberg that Zuckerberg's signature hoodie is a sign of his "immaturity," which ultimately raises questions about his fitness to perform as Facebook's CEO.

Pachter said Zuckerberg "is well-suited to be the chief product officer, the chief user-experience officer, to manage the design of the user interface, to decide every feature that goes in. I'm not sure he's the right guy to run a corporation and have to answer to shareholders."


That is the sound of the inevitable culture clash that happens when tech geeks meet Wall Street. Is Zuckerberg willing to trade some authenticity in order to win the respect and confidence of investors who are expected to shell out up to $100 billion on Facebook? He may not need to. And yet, times have changed (haven't they?) since Facebook's early days when Zuckerberg made a pitch to the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in his pajamas

So is Wall Street too stuck up or is Zuckerberg (who was named by Esquire as one of the 10 Worst Dressed Men) too immature? Time will tell, as this culture clash will continue to play out before and after Facebook's IPO. Beyond that, what does this mean for you, whether you are a CEO or a lab geek? Simon Doonan, author of Gay Men Don’t Get Fat and "archenemy of fashion conformity," recently shared tips with us for lab techies at work.

And yet, Doonan had some choice words for Zuckerberg, who he said dresses like he's "living in Kiev in 1976."

Watch the video here:

Image courtesy of Flickr 

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

Psst...Big Think is cooking up a bit of guerrilla street theatre for Wall Street rush hour on the morning of Facebook's IPO. Our intervention will take place three times between 8:15 and 9:15 am near the intersection of wall and broad (at the steps of federal hall). Be there! (Or watch it on your local evening news...)

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