Is all the fuss about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “hoodie” much ado about nothing or does it represent the latest culture clash between those living in God’s time zone and those residing west of the Hudson River…in particular the left coast?

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The tissue rejection between those who actually create value by means of real innovation on the West Coast (e.g., Silicon Valley) and those who basically generate nothing but throw their money around on the east coast is not new.

Yes, Zuckerberg is originally an East Coast creature (Exeter Academy in N.H. and Kirkland House, H-33 at Harvard), but his social media company is located on the west side of Silicon Valley, not the upper west side. Zuckerberg is definitely seen as left coast…particularly to the investment banker types dreaming of their summer holidays in the Hamptons.

And yet those on both sides of the great divide with the forgotten flyover states in-between definitely need each other whether they are prepared to admit it or not. There were the days when the Silicon Valley types could virtually ignore New York unless and until they decided to take their enterprises public. And who needed Washington, D.C., which was seen as more trouble than it was worth.

That all ended when Japan Inc. decided to wage a different war against America, not with carrier-based Mitsubishi dive bombers, but instead with predatory pricing (e.g., dumping). First, the American color TV industry bit the dust. And then the US chip industry was in Japan’s crosshairs.

Silicon Valley needed to be introduced to Washington, D.C. in a big way. With the assistance of the denizens within the Beltway, the Japan threat eased and eventually evaporated in a recessionary spin. Silicon Valley lived on, but the clash of West Coast and East Coast cultures continued.

It was that region with Stanford University on the west and Cal Berkeley to the east that gave the world, “casual Friday.” And with it came the angst associated with what exactly do you wear on a casual Friday. It was simply lame to get it wrong. To many in the east, did it mean not wearing the Hermes’ tie to work or maybe ditching the pinstripe vest?

Steve Jobs was the next incarnation of Silicon Valley’s total disdain for the Brooks Brothers types in the East. He wore Issey Miyate black turtlenecks and jeans. He eschewed the podium, pinned on the lavaliere mike and held a conversation with Apple’s enthralled Kool-Aid drinkers with PowerPoint presentations serving as his teleprompter.

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And now there is 28-year-old Zuckerberg with his hoodie. Horrors, he wore it to meetings with investment bankers as Facebook management was making the rounds in advance of the company’s March 18 IPO. Who is this guy to wear a hoodie? Is he taunting the monied interests? Does he show no respect?

The questions that come to mind are whether Zuckerberg doesn’t get it or do the investment bankers not get it? Is one right and one wrong, and if so which one?

On one hand Zuckerberg et al. are seeking capital to compete against Google and whatever competitors arise over the years. On the other hand, Zuckerberg controls 55 percent of Facebook stock. This is his company. And maybe, just maybe, it is the buttoned-up investment bankers that need to lighten up and get with the program.

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) wants to be cool and took a substantial risk to its coolness by joining the more than 5,000 companies that are listed on either the NYSE or the NASDAQ. Now his firm has to file quarterly earnings reports, issue annual reports and even hold shareholder meetings. Are these cool?

Maybe in the end analysis the hoodie projects an image, even if it doesn’t meet the approval of the fashion snobs. Many post-market pundits seem to be engaged in Schadenfreude, snickering that the actual Facebook launch (garnered $104 billion in market capitalization in the face of a down market) was less than stellar. And yet the NASDAQ computers were tied up for hours trying to process all the buy orders for Facebook. Seems like a contraction, doesn’t it?

Or as Yogi Berra said about why he no longer went to Ruggeri’s in St. Louis: “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304371504577406142515388550.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/beyond-hoodie-zuckerberg-post-ipo-172345560.html

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/why-is-everyone-focused-on-zuckerbergs-hoodie/

http://gawker.com/5848754

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/historic-facebook-debut-falls-flat-005334494.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yogi_Berra

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