Originally from the East coast, when I first arrived to the Bay Area over 20 years ago, people immediately knew I was not a native because I dressed too formally at work. Since then, the dress code in Silicon Valley has gotten progressively more casual each year and even I have mellowed out. That said, I still wear suits to important meetings and presentations. But, the culture here is such that the more senior you are, the more “right” you have to wear flip flops, ripped t-shirts and shredded shorts to work. In fact, being casual is almost a status symbol of sorts. A few months ago, I sat on a panel hosted by SAP during social media week and had the distinct honor of sharing the stage with Ross Mayfield of SlideShare and Lucida and Socialtext fame. Ross is simply a genius and I knew this as soon as I saw him, because he was wearing a hoodie; my opening words to him were “Hey Ross, you’re making me look bad in your outfit” (I of course was wearing a suit). Since I am a local, hoodie attire in a professional setting does not really shock me anymore, but it apparently did the Facebook board when Zuckerberg showed up in his for their meeting. It caused such a stir of conversations in social media that it was the topic of this week’s Wall Street Journal Sentiment Tracker which is powered by NetBase. Surprisingly, the social media conversations were very polarized: 47% of Facebook and Twitter users were all for the hoodie look, while 41% thought Zuckerberg had made an error in being too casual. Another 4% of social media conversations revolved around the very topical issue of hoodies as it relates to the Trayvon Martin case. Once again, I found myself going for the jokes (which were 8% of the chatter). Let’s check out some more of the laughs below:
What do you think about the hoodie – unforgivable or just another day in the office?