Feeds

The business mullet: Cool or tool?

When testosterone dresses itself....

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.