No sooner do I post a blog on attacking your assumptions (May 7 2012), on how our judgments of people can be misguided or just plain wrong, then some of the suits on Wall Street express their horror that Mark Zuckerberg – the 28-year-old, now multi-billionaire CEO of Facebook – wore a hoodie and jeans when conducting pre-IPO meetings with analysts.
The noble defenders of capitalist society were unequivocal in their pronouncements. ‘Not the smartest thing.’ ‘Disrespectful to investors.’ ‘It just pisses off people who can wreck your IPO.’
Who can wreck your IPO? Yaaaaa, to show the little punk who’s boss, let’s torpedo his IPO. Forget about our usual motive – greed – we’ll show him. Riiight.
Of course Wall Street analysts, whose clothing choices are inspired by the former Soviet Politburo, are well positioned to be dispensing advice as to what is and is not appropriate attire.
Forty-five years ago if you didn’t sport short hair you were obviously a hippie and had no chance of succeeding in business. Twenty-five years ago if you wore jeans to work (wait, didn’t a guy named Steve Jobs do that?) you obviously weren’t serious about business. And today …
Don’t get distracted. It’s not about the hoodie. It’s about performance and results. Revenue, customer growth, retention, profits. Attack your assumptions.