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The metamorphosis of Mark Zuckerberg| GuyWhoKnowsThings

In the lead-up to Meta's first-quarter earnings report this week, a video image of Mark Zuckerberg suddenly started going viral.

Not because of the artificial intelligence assistant he was promoting or the expected growth in advertising revenue, but because of the silver chain he wore around his neck.

“Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement about something Meta is doing with the AI, but I couldn't hear it or hold it for even a second because when I watch the reel of him talking, all I see is a necklace,” Amy Odell wrote in her Substack, Back Row.

Later, a manipulated version of the same image with Mr. Zuckerberg sporting scruffy facial hair got people even more excited. The more than 4,000 mostly drooling comments on an Instagram post from the celebrity news account The shadow room It included one from Gwyneth Paltrow, who compared Mr. Zuckerberg to her ex-husband, Chris Martin.

Suddenly, it seems like people care a lot about 39-year-old Mark Zuckerberg's looks. At a time when the happy promise of technology has been cast in a darker, more suspicious light, the guy whose relentless loyalty to a gray T-shirt became synonymous with the nerdy promise of “moving fast and breaking things” has become somehow in the kindest. The friendliest face of technology.

“The history of Silicon Valley has always revolved around a carefully constructed image and narrative that is used to reinforce its myths,” said Venky Ganesan, partner at venture capital firm Menlo Ventures. But he continued: “The playbook is changing.”

And Zuckerberg has emerged as the most visible sign yet that, in the phenomenology of Silicon Valley, we are entering a post-Jobsian era.

Once upon a time, in the days when Steve Jobs was the prophet of a better future through computing, the virtues of his approach to life seemed evident, including the adoption of a immutable daily uniform as the ideal way to dress. She freed the mind from the petty worries of everyday choices like what color shirt goes with what socks. (How annoying!) The same also happened with Mr. Zuckerberg, who even announced in a 2014 statement facebook forum that he wore the same shirt every day because “I really want to clear up my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible, other than how to best serve this community.”

(Admittedly, it was a luxurious version of a gray Brunello Cucinelli T-shirt, but it was still a T-shirt.)

But after multiple trips by CEOs to Washington D.C., to testify about controversies over anxiety and depression caused by social media pressures; after the convictions of Elizabeth Holmes (she in the black Jobs-style turtleneck) and Sam Bankman-Frito; after the cesspool of conspiracy theories and anger that has emerged against X; After all that, the story (and the journeys and costumes of its heroes) suddenly doesn't seem so compelling. Here is the new, more relaxed Mr. Zuckerberg.

He has become, said Joseph Rosenfeld, an image consultant and stylist who works with executives in New York and California, “a more democratized figure.”

The seeds were arguably planted in 2021, when Facebook became Meta, and Mr. Zuckerberg first avatar – dressed, as he usually was in real life, in a T-shirt and jeans – turned out to have a closet of alternative outfits, including a skeleton jumpsuit and an astronaut suit. The transformation gained momentum when Zuckerberg discovered the joys of mixed martial arts and began posting photos of himself. shirtless, sweaty and with various bumps and bruises. It then reached a turning point with the introduction of the Threads platform.

Not long after Mr. Zuckerberg sleepless In his “open, conversation-friendly public space,” he also revealed his own new, friendlier look, one that focused less on an automated uniform and more on experimentation (everything is relative), as he recorded through his own Instagram posts. Suddenly, she looked like she was having fun with fashion.

He gleefully shared photos of himself looking ready for “Yellowstone” in a thick shearling coat from Overland. (It seems to be the Hipster rancher coat, which is the kind of subconscious narrative that “Saturday Night Live” might adopt.) Then came photos of him and his wife, Priscilla Chan, at Anant Ambani's three-day pre-wedding celebration in Gujarat, in various forms Indian inspired. finery: a golden silk Sunderbans Tigress T-shirt by Rahul Mishra, a black man alexander mcqueen costume embroidered with silver dragonflies and a pastel floral kurta.

And then Mr. Zuckerberg added a photo titled “change of shirt” in which he and Nvidia's Jensen Huang swapped outerwear, and Zuckerberg donned one of Mr. Huang's signature leather jackets and Mr. Huang his sheepskin. By the time of his last trip to the capital, he had let his controlled Julius Caesar haircut grow into looser curls.

He's even started sharing shopping tips. When New York magazine's Jen Wieczner wrote an article Identifying a sweater Mr. Zuckerberg wore as from the ultra-stealth wealth brand Loro Piana, he popped up in the comments below the magazine's Instagram post to note that the garment was actually a Buck Mason crewneck, a Los Angeles brand that focuses on Americans. classics, none from an Italian luxury house owned by LVMH.

Then, when one of Zuckerberg's followers praised a ribbed knit cardigan she wore on a date night on her feed, the jump with a label: “It is @johnelliottco —Lately I love your stuff.”

Other brands he prefers now include Thirteen Studios Blanks (he wore his white jersey in an Ultimate Fighting Champion match), Todd Snyder and Vuori.

“They're trendy names,” said Derek Guy, who blogs about men's clothing at Die, work clothes! “Everything has a different silhouette, like the sweatshirt with sleeves that are too long or the T-shirt with dropped shoulder seams.”

Menlo Ventures' Guy and Ganesan said they were convinced Zuckerberg had sought professional help (i.e., a stylist) to help develop his look. But a Meta spokeswoman said that wasn't the case, at least in her daily life. “Mark mostly buys clothes that he finds on Instagram,” she said. “Although he does receive information from time to time for formal events and occasions.”

Either way, Zuckerberg's pivot from the luxury brands made famous by the morally bankrupt billionaires of “Succession” toward more contemporary brands means that “he now has a clothing collection that makes him an accessible figure to the world.” and his audience.” Mr. Rosenfeld said.

His new wardrobe also distinguishes him from rivals such as Jeff Bezos – who has morphed into a real-life version of Iron Man, with his bulging muscles, leather jackets and yachts – and Elon Musk, who seems to be channeling a sort of “Top Gun” and “Goldfinger” vibe.

By contrast, Ganesan said, Zuckerberg now seems like “the friend you want to call if you're building a backyard.” Think of him as the technician next door. All of which matters because, Ganesan continued, “mainstream America can relate to that, and he is offering a mainstream product.”

And that, he said, is just “very good for business.”

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