Updated 6:00 pm ET, Wednesday, May 9
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s efforts this week to promote his company’s debut on the stock market to investors haven’t gone over so smoothly.
Then, on late Tuesday night, entertainment and tech analyst Michael Pachter, of the firm Wedbush Securities, resoundingly critiqued Zuckerberg’s choice of clothing to meet and greet investors ahead of Facebook’s record-breaking $77 billion to $96 billion initial public offering on the NASDAQ, which is expected imminently, though no date has been officially set.
Zuckerberg wore what’s become his signature attire, a hooded sweatshirt, or hoodie, during his presentation to investors.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Pachter said that: “Mark in his signature hoodie — I mean he’s actually showing investors he doesn’t care that much, he’s gonna be him and he’s gonna do what he’s always done, and I think that’s a mark of immaturity. I mean I think 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.”
But Pachter defended and elaborated on his comments to TPM via email, explaining that he didn’t have an issue with hoodies overall, just in this context.
“I wear a hoodie all the time and am a flip-flops/t-shirt/shorts kind of guy,” Pachter wrote to TPM, linking to a photo of himself wearing a hoodie on the videogaming blog Kotaku.
As for his indictment of Zuckerberg’s garb during the investor roadshow, Pachter said his comments had nothing to do with the hoodie itself, but entirely with the situation and protocol.
“I personally could care less what Mr. Zuckerberg wears and when he wears it,” Pachter told TPM.
“However, when asked what I thought about whether he would consider the needs of investors in making decisions about how to run Facebook, I pointed out that his wearing of a hoodie reflected his indifference. I believe that if he cared to show them that he respects their views and will serve their interests, he would show respect by dressing appropriately for the event. I never said he should wear a suit, but said that he should lose the hoodie and show some respect. That means jacket/t-shirt/jeans.”
Pachter equated the investor roadshow process to other formal situations such as “weddings, funerals, church services.” He told TPM that routine investor conferences carried no such social expectation to dress formally.
Pachter further said that he understood where his critics were coming from, but that he disagreed with them.
“There are many commenters who say ‘he’s built a fantastic company, he can wear whatever he wants,’” Pachter explained. “I don’t disagree that this is true in almost any circumstance. However, when he fails to conform to established standards of behavior, he will be judged by some as being immature. I’m one of those who believes that it is appropriate to wear a jacket and not a hoodie when asking people for money. The commenters are free to disagree…I never made a blanket statement that EVERYBODY thinks he’s immature; rather, I said that I think he displayed immaturity. It’s my view, and while it may be a minority view, it is a reasonable one.”
For what it’s worth, Pachter and Wedbush issued the first “buy” recommendation for Facebook at a price of $44 per share, nine dollars over Facebook’s own upper-limit pricing recommendation.
Late update: Right on cue, someone created a @ZucksHoodie account on Twitter shortly after this story was published. @ZucksHoodie has already lashed out at Michael Pachter on Twitter, to which Pachter replied: “Was just called out by @zuckshoodie. Meant no disrespect to you, sir. I have a closet full of them.”