The business world has been talking and tweeting up a firestorm since Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chairman of Twitter, announced that on July 1st he would once again be filling the chief executive role of the company, after news recently surfaced that current chief executive Dick Costolo would be stepping down.
If you’re wondering why anyone would tweet about this instead of yawn and move on to a Buzzfeed article, just keep reading.
Dorsey left the chief executive role in 2008, and when he recently reemerged to temporarily fill the position, he was sporting a heck of a beard. Bushy and unkempt, the mere presence of his beard instantaneously caused Raiders of the Lost Ark style calamity, with anyone staring directly at it suffering a melted face, and being reduced to a lifeless skeleton.
At least that’s what it seems like when the media and business world direct their focus more at a man’s facial hair choice than his business plan for a company.
According to a New York Times article about Dorsey’s recent announcement, even his own mom gave him some flak for his facial hair, tweeting “FYI… Not a fan of the beard. [Jack] has a great face. Like to see it.”
Dude, your mom just used your own invention to publicly throw shade at you. Brutal.
But why is everyone so up in arms about a man heading up a company while simultaneously rocking a serious beard? Furthermore, it could be argued that it adds insult to injury when one considers this is a company that he himself co-founded.
The New York Times article references other company bigwigs who have also sported beards over the years, including Goldman Sachs chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and of course, Apple mastermind Steve Jobs. The difference between these gentleman and Dorsey seems to be nothing more than the length and style of beard.
The aforementioned execs all kept their beards fairly short-cropped and tightly trimmed, while Dorsey is opting for a much bushier and prominent style. This, apparently, makes all the difference when it comes to people’s sensibilities.
The New York Times article supports this hypothesis, stating that the outrage may stem from the fact Dorsey’s beard is “more akin to the beards of ZZ Top, or of record producer Rick Rubin.”
Really? Maybe after this, the New York Times can do an article that explains how The Transporter is akin to The Godfather because they both have cars and actors in them.
Dorsey’s beard is clearly not at the same extreme as Rubin or any of the members of ZZ Top, but this statement does help glean insight into the true issue at hand – to the general population, the viewpoint appears to be that there are two types of beards; short and groomed, or long and extreme, with no real middle ground. This strict dichotomy means that anything beyond a few weeks of growth is lumped into a category deemed disheveled and not fit for a professional setting.
However Dorsey is known for changing up his look, from sporting dreadlocks to getting a nose ring, but it seems to be the beard that has people talking most. While the New York Times offers the possible explanation that it isn’t necessarily the beard that is the issue, but rather that his constant style reinventions might make fellow executives feel that he is “unpredictable” and “inconsistent”, no one seems to acknowledge the fact that Dorsey is a man who has founded not one, but two multi-billion dollar companies (he also founded Square), and he himself is worth almost $3 billion.
So maybe his style choices don’t matter as much as everyone seems to think. If anything, the 38 year-old billionaire stepping out with a full beard is a huge step forward for the average beardsman, proving there is no reason to be judged by your facial hair, but rather by your actions and performance. And maybe what beard oil you use.