- Mark Zuckerberg is revamping his image, showing off his martial arts skills on Instagram.
- Beating Elon Musk in a cage fight would strengthen his comeback.
- A fight between the two would be as much about leadership style as a physical battle.
Mark Zuckerberg has found a canny way to shake off his reputation as a weird, mockable android — by becoming the manifested version of Reddit’s “I studied the blade” meme.
The Meta CEO — who once went viral for Photoshops making him look “thicc” — is now getting shredded and taking up martial arts. It is, as Insider’s Grace Kay writes, peak tech bro.
And it might…kinda work!
Zuckerberg has documented his transformation to getting swole on Instagram, the perfect platform to show off his gains. He’s down to break a sweat. He’s willing to get beaten up. He can accept being a beginner in a new hobby. Setting aside his $105 billion net wealth, it feels quite relatable. And even with his net wealth, it’s just kind of entertaining to watch a billionaire get beaten up.
As a jiu-jitsu practitioner, Zuckerberg has shown he has some fight in him by turning up to tournaments and winning. That also plays well to a certain kind of tech crowd — the kind that loves both Joe Rogan and Lex Fridman.
No wonder he’s accepted a cage-fight challenge from Elon Musk. A win would complete his comeback arc.
A fight between two different kinds of leader
Zuck couldn’t have lucked out more, since there is no one else in tech who can command media attention like Elon Musk.
At the same time, Musk’s takeover and subsequent running of Twitter has shown him up as a hot mess. His habit of tweeting conspiracies, public trolling of his own employees, and his brash, behind-the-scenes management style make him look like a Caligula to Zuckerberg’s Augustus.
A fight between the two might be as much about their respective approaches to technology, invention, leadership as their respective physical states. (As an aside: In a sign of intense double standards, could you imagine female CEOs issuing these kinds of challenges and still commanding the confidence of their respective boards?)
And Zuckerberg would be fighting from a position of strength on multiple fronts.
He set the tone for how tech firms can get through tough times. In March, he published a letter about Meta embarking on its “Year of Efficiency” after carrying out two rounds of layoffs since November. His aim was to remove the layers of middle managers that slowed operations down and lumped the company with extra costs.
While ideally no one would be laying off staff, Zuckerberg managed Meta’s with comparative empathy, especially when compared to Twitter’s earlier, brutal cuts under Musk. Numerous tech companies have followed suit. Meta’s share price is up 130% year to date.
In another vindication, Apple has fueled hype for Mark Zuckerberg’s pet project, the metaverse, by launching the Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset. Zuckerberg says he doesn’t like the Vision Pro, but its release marks a much-needed expansion of the virtual-reality market — a market he has almost single-handedly pushed. As a CEO who has hitherto lacked a reputation for innovation, it makes him look foresighted.
And finally, all the evidence suggests that Zuckerberg would, in fact, win a cage fight against Musk, who has confessed he hasn’t exercised properly in years.
If Zuck gets a bunch of fight memes out of it, that’s a win.
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