There has been a lot of chatter about Mark Zuckerberg’s choice of attire for some recent pre-IPO meetings with Wall Street bankers. The Washington Post reported: “He’s actually showing investors he doesn’t care that much; he’s going to be him.” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, who issued the first “buy” rating on Facebook, told Bloomberg. “I think that’s a mark of immaturity.”
My thoughts are different. I think it demonstrates Mark Zuckerberg’s authenticity and consistency. His “brand” has always been the same. He’s a laid-back programming genius. He prefers to dress for comfort wearing unpretentious jeans and a hoodie. (It was acceptable for Steve Jobs to wear a black turtleneck and jeans.)
But, who cares what he wears? Without Zuckerberg’s out-of-the-box creativity, being social would still mean hanging out with friends and family in a physical environment. He helped transform the way we communicate as a society. His creativity has spurred a host of other out-of-the-box thinkers to develop amazing ideas that continue to push the limits of the social space. And, challenge the status quo for media in general.
So why would Wall Street want Zuckerberg to act off brand? Yes, he is young. Yes, he is different. Yes, he is a non-conformist. But that is what makes Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg (and Facebook, Facebook). And, that’s what a brand is all about…being different and consistent. Or consistently different. So, the day he shows up wearing an expensive suit, aside from a visit with the President, is the day Wall Street should worry.