- Analyst says Zuckerberg showed "immaturity" by wearing hoodie to New York meetings
- The Facebook CEO has been courting Wall Street investors in casual wear
- The comments suggest a culture clash between Silicon Valley and Wall Street
- Blogger: If hoodies mean billions of dollars, keep wearing them
Facebook has raked in billions and will make a splash when its stock hits the open market next week. So, what are folks on Wall Street concerned about?
Mark Zuckerberg's hoodie, apparently.
Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities, told Bloomberg that the Facebook CEO's decision to show up for a meeting with potential investors dressed down in his trademark casual outerwear suggests that he's too immature to run a massive corporation.
"He's actually showing investors he doesn't care that much; he's going to be him," Pachter said in an interview 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."
If nothing else, Pachter's take (and he still thinks Facebook is a solid investment) reinforces the inevitable culture clash that occurs when a 27-year-old titan of California's freewheeling startup culture meets the buttoned-down world of Wall Street. It's not a new phenomenon: Zuckerberg is known for his ever-present T-shirt and sandals, and in Facebook's early days, he once showed up for a meeting with a venture-capital firm in his pajamas.
Pachter went on to say that Zuckerberg might be a better product manager or designer than CEO.
Needless to say, the tech world got a good laugh out of it all.
The Next Web led with this not-so-subtle headline: "Odd analyst mocks Zuck's hoodie, ironically sounding stupid in a suit while doing so."
In the article, Michael Wilhelm notes that if Zuckerberg had shown up in a suit, it could actually have signaled that Facebook was moving away from its winning formula, which could spook employees (and presumably investors) who like the way things run now.
"And finally: 'he's going to be him, and he's going to do what he's always done,'" Wilhelm writes. "That's to say that he's going to build a $100 billion business and change the world? That's what the hoodie signifies? Well then, I think that he shouldn't take it off at all costs!"
Tech blogger Om Malik had a more blunt take on Pachter's remarks.
"This analyst is smoking stuff that is outside the realm of legality," he wrote. "Now if you were looking for a problem with Zuckerberg's hoodie, then you should see it for what it really is: a fashion abomination."
And Box CEO Aaron Levie weighed in on Twitter: "Yahoo CEO: No hoodie; AOL CEO: No hoodie; Facebook CEO: hoodie. Coincidence?"
It's not like Zuck doesn't know how to clean up. He donned a coat and tie last year when he and other technology luminaries had dinner with President Obama, and wore a suit a few months later when Obama visited Facebook for a town hall event.
In fact, he bucked the Valley Casual look for an entire year not so long ago. On his Facebook Timeline, Zuckerberg wrote that, in 2009, he wore a tie every day.
"After the start of the recession in 2008, I wanted to signal to everyone at Facebook that this was a serious year for us," he wrote. "Great companies thrive by investing more heavily while everyone else is cutting back during a recession. But great companies also make sure they're financially strong and sustainable.
"My tie was the symbol of how serious and important a year this was, and I wore it every day to show this."
Maybe Zuckerberg, sitting on the verge of a blockbuster stock offering, no longer feels the need to prove himself.