Should Founders Wear a Tie?

A few good reasons why we should do away with this absurd piece of modern fashion.

Lance Ng


Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Did you know that Peter Thiel said in his book “Zero to One” that at his fund, they have a rule of not investing in a “tech CEO that wears a suit”?

“This was a huge red flag, because real technologists wear T-shirts and jeans. So we instituted a blanket rule: pass on any company whose founders dressed up for pitch meetings.”

— Peter Thiel, “Zero to One”

I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good one of determining if someone is a good technologist, but personally I have always found that ties are absurd and pointless. In fact, they are an inconvenience and a hindrance. So why do we even bother wearing them?

I put my first tie on when I was 13. I came from a middle school where we had to wear our school ties every Monday for the entire day. If you forgot, you got punished.

Since then I’ve questioned the need for ties. As 13-year-olds, most of us didn’t have tie clips. I certainly couldn’t afford one. So whenever you leaned over a table, especially during a meal, your tie might get soiled with something or the other.

The country I grew up in is also a particularly bad place for wearing ties. It’s a tropical island, and it’s summer all year round. And no, schools back then didn’t have air-conditioned classrooms yet, so having your neck wrapped up with a tie wasn’t exactly the most comfortable way to dress.

Kings, snobs and ties

The personal experience and inconvenience aside, one has to really ask the logical question: Do ties serve a practical purpose?

How did they come about?

Was it purely fashion or was there some functionality?

Well, according to Modern Tie, the origins of the necktie could be traced back to French King Louis XIV. He liked the neckerchiefs that Croatian mercenaries wore as part of their uniforms; supposedly to hold the top of their jackets together in a practical way.