Before Facebook’s IPO flop, I picked up a copy of the New York Times one morning and made a face at the picture of Mark Zuckerberg on his way to meet with Wall Street executives dressed in his typical hoodie sweatshirt. My reaction was so instantaneous and marked that two friends who were with me burst out laughing and had to ask what had annoyed me to much. I flipped the picture at them and said “Look at this.”
While I am certainly no billionaire, it would seem logical to me that someone like Zuckerberg would want to make a good impression on the people that would make or break his company’s initial public offering. By wearing a sweatshirt and jeans to meet with business professionals, who were no doubt in business suits, he sent the message that this meeting wasn’t important enough for him to dress up for.
Maybe he thought the IPO was a done deal. There had been so much hype and speculation that Facebook would have no problem scoring big money when it became a tradable commodity. Zuckerberg himself was set to make $1 billion on the first day alone. Maybe he has so much money already he didn’t care much for the actual outcome of those meetings. Maybe he is still immature and therefore couldn’t think through the fact that a sweatshirt is not business attire.
Did his clothing choices make a difference in the IPO? Who can say?! What I find even more interesting about this whole thing, which has been heavily written about in the last several days, is the fact that just days after his sweatshirt debacle, Zuckerberg got married to his long-time girlfriend. To that ceremony he wore a blue suit, white shirt and even a tie!
At the pictures of Zuckerberg and his new wife, my esteem for him actually rose – significantly. He might not need to impress business executives, he might not care about securing more money for his already overly-wealthy company; but he at least cared enough about marriage and his soon-to-be wife to dress up.
Still, I think he should get a fashion consultant and spend a little of those billions on creating a closet with a few choice suits or at least a button-down shirt or two.