Feeds

The business mullet: Cool or tool?

When testosterone dresses itself....

Security for virtualized datacentres

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.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.