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Mark Zuckerberg’s Natty Apparel and Other Takeaways From a Day on Capitol Hill

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I swear I tried to get interested in Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony Tuesday. I couldn’t.

I loved his exchange with Dick Durbin, who got the Facebook CEO to acknowledge he wouldn’t want to disclose the name of the hotel where he slept Monday night. Touché, senator. I cringed at Zuckerberg’s suggestion that somehow innovation can’t survive government regulation—as if Facebook has a libertarian right to keep moving fast and breaking things. And I continue to fail to see the distinction between Facebook, a company that is responsible for the content on its “platform,” and media companies that produce the content they publish. Who cares? Facebook is a media company and should be legally treated as such.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my ennui over Zuckerberg’s calm zigging and zagging in the face of perplexed lawmaker who stopped just short of asking about the “pipes” that make up the Internet. Investors were giddily bored, too. They bid up Facebook’s (FB) shares 4.5%.

What really interested me, though, was the attention paid to Zuckerberg’s natty blue suit, crisp white shirt, and Facebook blue tie. I’ve long been obsessed by the nuanced focus on apparel in Silicon Valley. When I arrived 20 years ago from the buttoned-up Midwest, I couldn’t understand why my newspaper colleagues at The San Jose Mercury News, casual Monday through Thursday, got ripped-jean-and-t-shirts relaxed on Friday. I started wearing a tie on the last day of the work week just to be contrarian.

Zuckerberg has been the picture of dressed-down Silicon Valley since the day he arrived. His well-tailored suit for Capitol Hill was rightly viewed as a sign of respect.

It’s hard to believe we now have an entire additional day of this. Maybe he’ll wear a color other than blue.


Uber fans questioned my skepticism Tuesday about the company’s purchase of bike-sharing startup Jump. “Could bike sharing be a baby step toward Uber’s future as a fleet manager?” asked one reader? “If Uber is seriously considering autonomous, then there won’t be drivers to own the vehicles and Uber will have to gain competency around managing a fleet of cars filled with high-end tech.” Another told me Uber quickly accounted for a large share of Jump’s rides after just six months of partnership.

I’m open-minded on this one.