Feeds

The business mullet: Cool or tool?

When testosterone dresses itself....

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Open ... and Shut Silicon Valley is notoriously casual in its dress and business demeanor. In a culture that celebrates every day as Casual Friday, it's hard to get the tech crowd to dress up.

Which is why it's so painful when techie types try to dress up. Maybe they need to pitch a VC. Maybe they have an important sales meeting with a potential customer. Whatever the reason, they invariably end up going half-way and wear the dreaded business mullet.

You know what I'm talking about: jeans with a sports jacket or, worse yet, a suit jacket. (Yes, there is a difference.) I believe Dave Rosenberg coined the term "business mullet," and it delivers the perfect sense of what happens when testosterone dresses itself.

An Alabama columnist suggests that the business mullet says: "I'm formal, but I'm here to have a good time." This is generally not really what you want to be saying to prospective customers, investors or, really, anyone.

I'm sure there are Italians who can pull it off. Heck, an Italian male can wear pretty much whatever he wants, and the rest of us are going to think it must be stylish. Ditto the French. Or Justin Timberlake, who may wear ugly things but he's a celebrity so ugly is cool. Or if you're Nicholas Cage walking in weird ensemble that doesn't quite assemble, it's OK, so long as you've got a companion like this who more than makes up for your goofy attire.

But you? No, you'd better avoid the mullet.

Just ask GQ's Style Guy, who argues that the combination "just looks awkward." Or ask the women in your life, particularly if they haven't been around so many techie men that they've become immune to the business mullet.

I asked Twitter (yes, all of it), as I was forced to wear the mullet for the first time on a trip this week, and got the following comments back:

Ken Hess (Mullet cynic): "Not a great look. That look just says, 'I'm thumbing my nose at non-existent standards.' Everyone wants to be a rebel."

Stacy Draper (Accidental mullet victim): "I've done that once just try it. I still do it on accident sometimes."

Jason Dea (Mullet-is-always-longer-on-the-other-side-of-the-club-scene guy): "Sounds like the autumn nightclub uniform."

Trevor Pott (Canadian mullet sociologist): "Sounds like Alberta attire."

Peter Monks (Mullet fetishist and also Canadian - the two don't necessarily go together, as evidenced by Trevor above): "The mullet, in all its glorious forms, is a thing of true beauty."

Michael Facemire (Forrester analyst and self-confessed mullet apologist):

Now I want to hear from you. What do you think. Is the business mullet one of the great innovations of modern science, an abomination that signals Armageddon, or just something you'd rather never have to read about again? Have your say! Post pics of your mulleted-self. I'd particularly like to hear women chime in because, let's face it, if we listened to them we'd never have the business mullet in the first place. ®

Matt Asay is vice president of corporate strategy at 10gen, the MongoDB company. Previously he was SVP of business development at Nodeable, which was acquired in October 2012. He was formerly SVP of biz dev at HTML5 start-up Strobe (now part of Facebook) and chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears three times a week on The Register. You can follow him on Twitter @mjasay.

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple ran off to IBM
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.