Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is meeting with potential investors in the lead-up to his company's hotly anticipated IPO, and not all of them are happy about the fact that he rolled up to meetings this week wearing his standard black hoodie. "That's a mark of immaturity," Michael Pachter, an analyst for Wedbush Securities, tells Bloomberg News. "He's showing investors he doesn't care that much," raising concerns about the wunderkind's ability to run a publicly traded company and respond to shareholder concerns. Should Zuckerberg start wearing a suit and tie?
Zuckerberg's clothes are totally irrelevant: Under Zuckerberg's "hoodie-regime-of-terror," Facebook has made billions and billions of dollars, says Alex Wilhelm at Insider. Pachter is suggesting that "savvy investors are going to look at his massive company differently" because of the hoodie, but nothing could be further from the truth. "If a visionary multi-billionaire walked into my house buck naked and asked for" an investment, "I'd hit up the ATM if I had to."
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And a suit and tie would hurt his brand: It's not like Zuckerberg is clueless — he clearly wants to look different than bankers and businessmen, says Jena McGregor at The Washington Post. "While some may see the hoodie as a sign of adolescence, others see it as the badge of an entrepreneur who isn't going to change his ways just because his company is going public and he's about to make a bazillion dollars." If he had worn a suit and tie, people might have assumed that he "was ready to bow to whatever Wall Street expected," at the cost of his own creative impulses.
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But Zuck can't totally write off investor criticism: The whole point of these meetings is to impress "people he hopes will fund his company," says Sharon Gaudin at ComputerWorld. "Old-school suit-and-tie types" could view Zuckerberg's appearance in numerous ways — as indifference, arrogance, or carelessness — and that could rattle their confidence. It may be time for Zuckerberg to realize that it's not only about him.
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