What Mark Zuckerberg's Hoodie Is Really Saying to Wall Street

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Mark ZuckerbergBy Henry Blodget, Business Insider

At the kickoff roadshow lunch for Facebook's IPO earlier this week, 27-year old CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed up in a hoodie.
This caused no end of squawking -- first, from Wall Street analysts, one of whom seized on the hoodie as evidence that Zuckerberg is "immature" and incapable of running the company, and then, second, from Silicon Valley, which collectively denounced the analyst as a pretentious doofus.

So, who's right? Wall Street or Silicon Valley?

Well, I actually think there's reasonable possibility that Zuckerberg wore the hoodie as a joke. He's perfectly capable of wearing a coat and tie -- he wore one all year a few years ago, to signify that it was "a serious year" for Facebook. And his penchant for hoodie-wearing has been so remarked-upon that he may well have grabbed it to be funny.

It's also possible that he wore it because that's what he happened to be wearing at that moment and because he did not view the act of asking professionals to give him $5 billion to $10 billion as a reason to adjust his attire.


One thing seems certain: Zuckerberg is the first man in history to ask for that much money while wearing a hoodie.

But something else should finally be clear to Wall Street folks, if it isn't already:

Mark Zuckerberg really doesn't give a damn about you.

He said as much in his letter to prospective shareholders, which is included in the IPO prospectus.

Specifically, he said:
"Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission."

"We think it's important that everyone who invests in Facebook understands what this mission means to us, how we make decisions and why we do the things we do."

"We don't build services to make money; we make money to build better services."

"We don't wake up in the morning with the primary goal of making money."

"We're going public for our employees and our investors."
Clear enough?

In case it isn't, here's a quick translation: Dear Wall Street: Mark Zuckerberg doesn't give a crap about you. He cares about his product, not you or your business or "returns." He views you as a source of liquidity for his employees and existing investors. He's only taking the company public because he has to.

Furthermore, Mark Zuckerberg owns 57% of the voting control of the company. So, he really, really doesn't give a crap about you. And he doesn't have to! You are not legally entitled to tell him what to do.

So if Mark Zuckerberg doesn't feel like putting on a tie to address a bunch of boring money-dweebs in suits (you), he's damn well not going to.

And if he doesn't feel like beating your earnings estimates this quarter, he's not going to do that, either.

And so on.



So listen up, Wall Street. This is your final warning. Whether the hoodie was a joke or not is irrelevant. Mark Zuckerberg doesn't care what you think of him. And he's going to do exactly what he feels like doing at the helm of Facebook, regardless of what you say or do.


(And I don't mean to be rude, Wall Street, but Mark Zuckerberg is actually wise not to care much about you. First, as discussed, he controls the company. But second, most of you don't do much to deserve much attention from CEOs. Your average holding period for stocks is now measured in months and quarters, not years. Most of you care mostly about how the company will do this quarter, a time-period that is generally distracting if not outright ridiculous for a CEO with a long-term vision. If you ever go back to your old ways, when you owned stocks instead of renting them, then maybe it would be smart for CEOs to care about you. But in the meantime, Zuckerberg's on to something.)

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277 Comments

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rahulh77

Mr Henry, what do you have to say now? "Dear Wall Street: Mark Zuckerberg doesn't give a crap about you."
Wall street is punishing him

May 21 2012 at 10:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
drleon4365

Ties are uncomfortable. MZ is not in dire need of undeserved cridibility. Investors want proffit. If there is an overiding mission. I hope he can share it and then I can better decide to invest or blank this great opportunity.

May 16 2012 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lyleva

Suits and ties are slowly on the way out. (Ties started as soup bibbs in England!) Who cares???

May 16 2012 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Strangelove

Google employees never wear suits. They are allowed to wear whatever they want. And, who gives a F U C K what he wears. He's human. He bleeds like everyone else.

May 16 2012 at 3:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yehoshua

I asked a buddy of mine if I could borrow five bucks for a refreshment and I was weasring a polo...?

May 15 2012 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Jean

Nailed it.

Love the fact that I am logging in with Facebook to post this.

May 15 2012 at 11:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gerri Shakra

To Mark Z, will you create a spell check for facebook messaging
Thank You

May 14 2012 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
George

Riiight---Zuck never cared about money----just control------didn't mind screwing his early partners to get it either---

May 12 2012 at 3:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
janescriv

How does Facebook make money? And where can it go from where it is now, in terms of making money?

May 11 2012 at 1:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to janescriv's comment
mxoverdriv

Facebook makes money, and lots of it, by selling the ads you see all over every page you click on. In fact, it has become so ad heavy it is no longer fun to play the games or visit with friends. I really wish someone with some computer savvy would start a new social page, forgetmost of the ads and let users pay a small yearly fee.

May 15 2012 at 12:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mxoverdriv's comment
Ash

Making a lot of money doesn't make it a good business. Making a good return makes a good business. Facebook will IPO for like 50x earnings. What's it making like $2B? That's nothing if we're talking about such high valuations. The answer to the question "where can it go?" is "nowhere but down". Unless they just use the brand to start selling real products and services that produce a real ROI. The IPO is for existing investors to get out. Anyone who buys at the IPO is an utter moron.

May 16 2012 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
bd189

suit and tie wearing liars and blackmailers say a guy wearing a sweat shirt is immature and sign of incapabilty? i don't like him due to how facebook is the cia's personal easy spybot on us. but i'd rather buy a car from somebody dressed like him than a guy in a suit since the suit is the real darth vader mask and the tie is the emporer's noose controlling his subordinate! those who are criticising him are jealous they have to wear those itchy, uncomfortable, easily tearable slacks and shirts!!!!!

May 10 2012 at 11:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply