Facebook’s Zuckerberg Relates to Students at BYU

Mark Zuckerberg speaks to BYU. Photo: Jaren Wilkey | Ryan Faulkner

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, spoke to 10,000 people yesterday at BYU for a Technology Forum with Senator Orrin Hatch. As the world’s youngest billionaire and arguably the most influential person of our generation, you can imagine that lots of people were keen to hear what he had to say.

Now love him or hate him, you’ve gotta admit that Mark Zuckerberg is a visionary. Here were some of my biggest highlights from what he had to say:

  • “You really have to believe in and love what you’re doing. That’s the most important thing.
  • “Most people have something that they’re super passionate about, and I’d encourage you guys to find that thing.
  • “People don’t get put into roles, they create them on their own.
  • “[At Facebook] We just look for people that are passionate about something. What we really look for when we’re interviewing people is what they’ve shown an initiative to do on their own.”
  • The internet just gives everyone a voice. People have the ability to put it out there and be heard.
  • “[Facebook is] giving people a way to connect that they didn’t have before.
  • “If people are more connected, the world will be a better place.”
  • One person sharing info online “can be really disruptive in a really positive way.
  • “It’s important if you take on any big challenge that you just love and have faith in what you’re doing.”

Mark Zuckerberg wearing jeans and a hoodie at BYU. Photo: Jaren Wilkey | Ryan Faulkner

As an image consultant, it was interesting (though not surprising) for me to see Zuckerberg wearing his standard hoodie and jeans at BYU yesterday. By dressing in a way that most college kids do, he played to his audience and made himself relatable to them.

As a Gen Y innovator who has changed the world, he pretty much has license to do and wear whatever the freak he wants. That said, keep in mind there is a downside to making jeans and a hoodie your standard wardrobe everyday.

If you are in a leadership position, people are less likely to take you seriously if you wear uber casual clothes. A guy I know used to work for a thriving start-up that was run by a 20-something guy who regularly wore deconstructed jeans and graphic tees to the office. In an effort to dress for the job he wanted, my friend would dress in collared shirts, vests, and sweaters and as a result, would often be mistaken for the decision maker over the CEO because of what he wore.

Now there’s nothing wrong with jeans, t-shirt, and a hoodie, but if you’re going to a career fair, job or internship interview, do your career a favor and make an effort to dress up. It will have an impact on your confidence and perceived capability.

Today’s image lesson? Know your audience and dress accordingly.

(In case you missed it, check out BYU’s site for video footage of Mark Zuckerberg. You can also hear a podcast of it over at Nomadic Warrior.)

Copyright 2011 Cable Car Couture. All Rights Reserved.

4 thoughts on “Facebook’s Zuckerberg Relates to Students at BYU

  1. Amy Anderson says:

    Wonder what Mark Zuckerberg would think of someone coming in for an interview dressed exactly like he is. First impressions and all. And honestly, I think he did a disservice here. His dress still could have related to the BYU students if he had taken it up just a notch with a casual button up shirt. I don't know, maybe I'm just getting too old to relate anymore ;D

  2. cablecarcouture says:

    That is an excellent question, Amy! Part of me was thinking the same thing, that he could have dressed up just a little bit with a polo shirt, though I'm not sure I've ever seen him wear something like that. If he wanted to command more respect, a collared shirt would have done him good (particularly since Orrin Hatch was wearing a suit and tie). But he's Mark Zuckerberg. He does whatever he wants.

  3. pamela says:

    Sarah, thanks for letting me know about this. If my little 6 month old was not so fiesty, I sooo would have been there. Thanks for the notes. Mark in jeans and a hoodie? He is one of the few genuis out there who can pull off this look, that being said….in my humble opinion the suit makes the man.

  4. cablecarcouture says:

    Pleasure, Pamela! I have to agree re: a suit makes the man. My husband recently got some custom suits made and he looks absolutely dashing. I know Gen Y likes to make a statement and be edgy, but there's so much power in professional dress.

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