Who is Michael Saylor?
Michael Saylor is an American Bitcoin (BTC) crusader. He is an expert in investment matters, business, and technology. Apart from urging his fellow business executives to consider Bitcoin for their portfolios, he has a massive following from Bitcoin enthusiasts on his Twitter page.
The 56-year-old entrepreneur co-founded the MicroStrategy company in 1989 with a former MIT University colleague. It provides business intelligence, software solutions, and cloud computing services. His historical purchase of more than 450 million USD worth of BTC in 2020 for MicroStrategy gave him prominence in the cryptocurrency community.
Michael is the author of the best-selling, The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything. He is the pioneer and trustee of Saylor Academy that offers free tertiary-level courses. He started the Institution in 1999. Moreover, Saylor has a heart for altruism.
My interview with Block Journal covering MicroStrategy, The Mobile Wave, The Virtual Wave, Investment Philosophy, Macroeconomics, Treasury Strategy, #Bitcoin, & the Future of Crypto. Available for download from @blockjournal at https://t.co/dDXh5YElDQ pic.twitter.com/XRDuixi5Do
— Michael Saylor (@michael_saylor) November 4, 2020
Early Life and Career
Michael’s early life began in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he was born on February 4, 1965.
In 1983, he was fortunate to get a college enrollment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) after getting the ROTC scholarship.
He graduated from the institute in 1987 with two degrees. The first one was in aeronautics and astronautics and the second in science and technology.
Saylor was also trained as a pilot at Lackland Airforce Base, after which he became a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force. He loved the use of computer simulation in business forecasts in his system dynamics class at the institute.
However, he joined the Federal Group as a consultant in 1987 instead of advancing his flying career. A health complication kept him away from piloting. He specialized in developing computer models for the software company.
The computer enthusiast offered consultancy services for companies that needed to use the emerging technology for business planning and decision-making.
Saylor joined DuPont in 1988. While consulting for DuPont, he forecasted a slump in the company’s leading markets in 1990.
The prediction was made possible by the computer models he created to enable the company to brace itself for any shift in the market forces.
In the pursuit of computer modelling technology for business, Saylor launched the MicroStrategy Company in 1989.
The mission of the firm was to provide intelligent solutions for companies. Saylor was the first technologist to come up with Relational Online Analytical Processing (ROLAP).
Saylor’s Bestselling Book
The entrepreneur’s book, released in 2012, predicted a “mobile wave.” It featured on the bestseller rankings of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
In the book, he explains how mobile intelligence will become the core of the fifth phase of computer technology. He thus forecasts the growth of leading global technology firms like Facebook and Google. They would change the traditional way of doing things in most industries and nations.
He foresees a time when the current mobile devices would become the computing platforms all over the world.
The MicroStrategy CEO argues that the transformation they’ve come with is so immense and widespread for us to conceptualize it all. He felt that one day they would become a human appendage and an indispensable tool.
The book is a must-read for CEOs, business people, and political leaders who must deal with the new environment as mobile intelligence transforms everything.
Mobile Technology Predictions
In The Mobile Wave Saylor predicts several global transformations on products, enterprises, service delivery, education, economy, and the way of life:
- Getting a Harvard university degree would be possible for anyone with a mobile device regardless of their location.
- Currency in the form of cash would transform into a virtual software fully insulated against fraud.
- Inanimate objects like cars and houses would have computerized tags that will allow them to speak for themselves.
- The increased use of mobile phones for social media would force businesses to create strategies similar to software companies.
- Purchasing an item would be as easy as pointing it with a smart device, scanning, and then paying.
- The investor foresaw a time when land would become a liability rather than being an asset.
- A significant number of service-oriented jobs would be swallowed by automated mobile programs.
Saylor and MicroStrategy
From the onset, the firm’s mission was to transform enterprises from low to high intelligence level enterprises.
By embedding insights into every program, MicroStrategy would help businesses make swift and intelligent decisions. The new solutions would be an upgrade from the conventional tools that consume too much time and effort to provide actionable data analysis.
Saylor developed the company to earn a top-notch international status in business analytics and mobile software, serving many enterprises from different places worldwide.
With the income from his consultancy work with DuPont, Michael co-founded MicroStrategy with his college mate, Sanju Bansal, in 1989.
Although the firm’s first core function was making a data-mining program, its focus changed in 1992. McDonalds gave the firm a 10 million USD contract to develop software that could gauge its marketing campaigns’ efficacy.
The contract was an eye-opener to Saylor, who learned that MicroStrategy could develop business intelligence programs to help businesses use their collected data in understanding their operations.
MicroStrategy expanded in the ’90s, but went public in 1998.
Michael made MicroStrategy public when he sold its four million shares, each priced at 12 USD. Due to the high demand for the shares, the price shot up by 100% on the first trading day.
In the first quarter of 2000, he had amassed so much wealth; his net worth hit 7 billion USD. By that time, he owned more than 30,000 shares in the company with a value of over 4.8 million USD.
The Court Charges In 2000
In March 2000, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission took Michael and two other MicroStrategy directors to court.
The three were charged for erroneous financial reports for 1998 and 1999. Nine months later, in a shocking twist of events, Michael paid the SEC 350,000 USD for penalties and disgorgement of 8.3 million USD.
He, however, did not admit to any offense. The publicity of the case harmed MicroStrategy. Its stocks’ value dropped while the founder’s net worth dropped from 7 billion to 1 billion.
MicroStrategy’s Investment in Bitcoin
The firm had invested in approximately 71,000 Bitcoin before February 2021, with an estimated worth of 3.3 billion USD. Moreover, the CEO has taken a personal initiative of hodling 18,000 BTC.
At the beginning of April 2021, Michael disclosed that MicroStrategy bought more BTC valued at 15 million USD.
Check out our live Bitcoin investments overview to see how much Bitcoin MicroStrategy holds today.
The value of a single stock of MicroStrategy shot up in response to its Bitcoin hodling. In Mid-March 2021, a single share price was 724 USD, up from 107 USD, twelve months ago.
Despite the BTC plunge in price in February 2021, Saylor confidently told CNBC that one day its market value would reach 100 trillion USD from the approximately 1 trillion USD market value at present.
Saylor’s comments came in a day after the new Treasury Secretary in the Joe Biden administration, Janet Yellen, expressed her Bitcoin reservations. She believed that it was used in the black markets and consumed too much energy during its mining.
Further, she expressed fears about the volatility of the digital currency that could bring losses to investors.
The Bitcoin evangelist believes that corporations should invest in Bitcoin instead of keeping cash or short-term state bonds as BTC will reward them with much higher returns in the long run.
The MicroStrategy CEO started the Saylor foundation in 1999. The non-profit organization based in Washington DC has channeled millions of dollars to refugee camps, medicine for children, and education.
Other philanthropic gestures of the foundation include conserving the environment and supporting artists in their work.
However, the foundation changed its structure in 2008 and focused solely on free education. The foundation now manages the Saylor Academy that offers free tertiary education. Moreover, the academy provides professional courses to learners from all walks of life.
The academy gets its course content from resources and texts with unrestricted access. However, it pays for the creation of educational resources upon demand. Other parties can use the new materials once the academy licenses them.
It has collaborated with reputable higher learning institutions like the Southern New Hampshire University, Purdue University, and Montgomery County Community College to provide credit transfers.
It has provided free education to more than 600,000 students, and the number of full-length courses is approaching 100. The American Council of Education (ACE) ratifies the courses that the academy offers.
Attitude towards Bitcoin
Early this year, the MicroStrategy CEO conducted a Bitcoin for Corporations conference. The convention’s goal was to reassure other company CEOs on the advantage of taking up Bitcoin (BTC) in their investments.
The meeting was well attended by executives representing over 1400 companies. It bore fruit when Tesla invested 1.5 million USD in BTC.
Before attending the conference, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had conversed with the MicroStrategy CEO on Twitter on a BTC portfolio’s merits.
The Bitcoin evangelist advised him that if he wanted to give the Tesla shareholders a 100 billion USD benefit, he should convert the company’s investment from dollar to Bitcoin. Other companies would follow the trend, and the 100 billion USD benefit would increase to a 1 trillion USD.
Saylor considers Bitcoin as the digital gold due to its absolute scarcity compared to any other asset. To him, BTC is the safe haven store of value.
He has earned the informal name Bitcoin Bull for his pro-Bitcoin stand. He considers it a superior alternative to the fiat, government-backed currency.
Cash is trash
He says. Like many other Bitcoin campaigners, he’s sickened by the method used by central banks to support economies by increasing the supply of money.
He calls it cheap money. He claims that the money supply is responsible for devaluing the dollar by a significant 15% per annum. With Bitcoin, the reserve is static.
Michael’s Tweets on Bitcoin
Two months ago, he tweeted on his belief that it’s totally out of order to build the modern economy on the gold standard. He called it “antiquated technology” in that it is often more expensive and slower to transfer blocks of money in the form of gold than with BTC.
Michael once said that BTC is a bank in cyberspace run by trustworthy programs. According to him, this offers affordable, but safe savings accounts for many people that do not have the privilege of having a personal hedge fund.
The MicroStrategy pioneer believes that Bitcoin is the most forceful disruptive technology today. It would be unreasonable to ignore it as just mere speculation. He believes that it’s a necessary recipe for the prosperity of the United States and the entire world.
In September 2020, he likened Bitcoin to a swarm of cyber hornets feasting on the fire of truth and swiftly multiplying their wisdom and strength behind a barrier of encrypted energy.
Response to Covid-19 Containment Measures
When the Coronavirus pandemic struck in March 2020, Saylor penned a very long memo My thoughts on Covid-19 to his MicroStrategy staff.
He dismissed the urgency of the US government’s measures to control the spread of the deadly virus. For instance, he trashed social distancing by remaining adamant against the MicroStrategy offices’ closure unless he received a legal order to do so.
Further, he considered the idea of economic hibernation as debilitating.
Awards and Recognitions
Several publications have in the past recognized Saylor for his contribution to software technology as well as in entrepreneurship.
For instance, KPMG honored him as the 1996’s High-Tech Entrepreneur, whereas Ernst&Young featured him as the Software Entrepreneur of 1997.
Further, Saylor was among the top ten Entrepreneurs who featured in the Red Herring Magazine for 1998. In the following year, MIT Technology Review recognized him for innovation.
Vision For 2021
The investor considers 2021 as the year of institutional investment in BTC. His prophecy seems to be materializing. Two months ago, MasterCard credit card company publicly declared its plan to support cryptocurrency in the year.
In February, the MicroStrategy CEO stated that the company had its focus on its two missions. The first one was growing their business analytics software production, and the other was holding BTC. He disclosed that the firm would continue using surplus cash to buy Bitcoin.