As Facebook continues to make preparations ahead of its IPO, Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook bigwigs are making the rounds talking to investors. Earlier this week, Bloomberg noted that Zuckerberg, while attending an investor meeting in New York City, showed up to said meeting wearing his patented hoodie.
What to many would be a complete non-issue sounded alarm bells to some. Specifically, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter opined that Zuckerberg's choice of attire signaled the Facebook CEO's lack of seriousness and maturity.
“Mark and his signature hoodie: He’s actually showing investors he doesn't care that much; he’s going to be him,” Pachter explained on Bloomberg TV. “I think that’s a mark of immaturity. I think that he has to realize he’s bringing investors in as a new constituency right now, and I think he’s got to show them the respect that they deserve because he’s asking them for their money.”
In my opinion, Zuckerberg showing up wearing his hoodie is a good thing. Call me crazy, but I think Zuckerberg's attire is a positive reflection of his priorities. Zuckerberg is almost singularly focused on making Facebook the best social network in the world, constantly looking for ways to improve the site and taking even more steps to digitally connect the world. If anything, as an investor, I'd be worried if Zuckerberg suddenly became concerned with buying the nicest Hugo Boss suit he could find, obsessing over which shoes to wear as to impress a roomful of stuffy investors.
Pachter is correct in saying that Zuckerberg doesn't care, but what Zuckerberg really doesn't care about is the typical pomp and circumstance that surrounds the typical investor meeting. What Zuckerberg, however, does care about is improving Facebook and that's what investors should really pay attention to.
The reality is that Zuckerberg's attire is wholly irrelevant and is no way a reflection of his maturity or ability as a CEO. Sure, he may not razzle and dazzle and blow away a room full of Wall St. investors with an exceedingly charming persona, but so what? And it's not as if Steve Jobs, largely believed to be one of the best CEOs in history, paid much heed to the rumblings of investors, or to his wardrobe for that matter. And while I'm at it, there's another prominent and successful Silicon Valley CEO who has been notoriously reluctant to embrace the dog and pony show that investors often seem to demand - Google CEO Larry Page.
Zuckerberg's wardrobe is an indication of authenticity. The times are changing and many of the companies changing the world today are largely led by "kids" in their 20s and 30s. They're smart, ambitious, focused and dead set on, to borrow a phrase from Steve Jobs, making a dent in the universe.
That said, they're also busy. Too busy to fuss over what to wear to an investor meeting because they just so happen to be focused on other more important matters.
A Mark Zuckerberg that shows up in a suit and a rolex? Now that'd truly be something for investors to worry about.