Jul 14, 2023 - Economy

What's really hot about Zuck? That smokin' stock price

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

After years of playing either the butt of the joke or the evil tech overlord, Mark Zuckerberg is having a moment. Apparently, it's Hot Zuck Summer.

The latest: His new social media site, Threads, is a hit. His bare-chested pic was met with more thirst than derision.

  • And, capping it all off: There's the smokin' hot bounceback of that stock price.
  • Meta's stock has more than tripled since bottoming out in October after the company reported a big drop in profits.
  • It's now the second-best-performing stock of the year.

What happened: Meta pivoted away from its disastrous turn to the metaverse, laid off thousands of people — a move Wall Street loved — and launched a Twitter clone just as Elon Musk's social media site had become literally (if temporarily) unusable.

Zoom out: Zuck's pivot to the cool side — the Wall Street Journal declared it so! — has echoes of Bill Gates. For a time in the 1990s, the Microsoft founder was considered more of a villain character, especially when the company was battling the Justice Department in its big antitrust case.

  • But time, and a boatload of philanthropy, smoothed the rough edges. In light of the new tech billionaires who came after him, Gates took on a new shine as a sort of lovable, aging nerd. Even recent PR snafus haven't seemed to have shaken that image.

The bottom line: Where your stock goes, your reputation follows.

Go deeper: Read Charlie Warzel's piece in The Atlantic: New Mark Zuckerberg Dropped

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