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Michael J. Saylor

Michael J. Saylor (born February 4, 1965) is an American entrepreneur and business executive. He is the co-founder, president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of MicroStrategy Incorporated, a global provider of business intelligence, mobile software, and cloud-based services.

Michael J. Saylor
Michael J. Saylor photo
Portrait of Michael J. Saylor
Born (1965-02-04) February 4, 1965 (age 52)
Lincoln, Nebraska
Nationality American
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Occupation Chairman, President, and CEO of MicroStrategy[1]
Known for Co-founder of MicroStrategy, author of The Mobile Wave

Saylor authored the book, The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything, which was ranked on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists when it appeared in 2012. Saylor is also the sole trustee of The Saylor Foundation, a provider of free online education.


Early life and educationEdit

Saylor was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on February 4, 1965[2] and spent his early years on various Air Force bases around the world, as his father was an Air Force chief master sergeant. When Saylor was 11, the family settled in Fairborn, Ohio, near the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.[3][4] In high school, Saylor was valedictorian and voted most likely to succeed.[3][4][5]

In 1983, Saylor enrolled at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on an Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship.[3][4] At MIT he was selected to train in the ROTC's jet pilot program and double majored in aeronautics and astronautics as well as science, technology and society.[5][6] He also joined the Theta Delta Chi fraternity, through which he met the future co-founder of MicroStrategy, Sanju K. Bansal.[4][5] In 1987, Saylor graduated in the top one percent of his class[5] and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.[3]


Early careerEdit

Prior to his graduation from MIT, Saylor planned to be a pilot. However, during a routine physical exam, doctors discovered a benign heart murmur that prevented him from becoming a pilot.[3][4] In addition, he was sent to the Air Force reserves rather than into active duty due to defense cutbacks.[5]

His first job was with a consulting firm, The Federal Group, Inc. in 1987.[7] In this role he focused on computer simulation modeling for a software integration company.[5] In 1988, Saylor became an internal consultant at DuPont, where he developed computer models to help the company anticipate change in its key markets. The simulations predicted that there would be a recession in many of DuPont's major markets in 1990.[3][5]


In 1989, when he was 24, DuPont provided Saylor with a $250,000 independent consulting contract to set up his own company that would continue to develop computer models for DuPont.[5] Using the funds from DuPont, Saylor founded MicroStrategy with Sanju Bansal, his MIT fraternity brother.[4] The company began developing software for data mining, then focused on software for business intelligence.[3] MicroStrategy used nonlinear mathematics to model business issues, an idea inspired by a course that Saylor and Bansal took at MIT.[8] In the company's early years it provided consulting and services, developing customized software for clients.[5] In 1992, MicroStrategy won a $10 million contract with McDonald's to develop applications to analyze the efficiency of its promotions. The contract with McDonald's led Saylor to realize that his company could create business intelligence software that would allow companies to use their own data for insights into their businesses.[4][5]

Saylor and Bansal moved the office to Tysons Corner, Virginia in 1994 and the company grew quickly in the years following,[4] increasing its revenue by 100 percent each year from 1989 to 1996.[5] As the company grew, Saylor received media attention for his leadership, insight into technology trends, and for his reported wealth as the company's majority owner. He became known for his work ethic in driving the company's growth and for his idea that technological developments would make networked and integrated database services available to consumers via the Internet.[3][8][9] In 1997 Saylor developed Angel, a subsidiary of MicroStrategy, which was later sold to Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories for $110 million in cash; MicroStrategy stock rose 3.4% on the day the deal was announced.[10]

Saylor took the company public in June 1998, with an initial stock offering of 4 million shares priced at $12 each.[11] The stock price doubled on the first day of trading.[12] By early 2000, Saylor's net worth reached $7 billion, and the Washingtonian reported that he was the wealthiest man in the Washington D.C. area.[3]

In March 2000, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brought charges against Saylor and two other MicroStrategy executives for the company's inaccurate reporting of financial results for the preceding two years.[13] In December 2000, Saylor settled with the SEC without admitting wrongdoing by paying $350,000 in penalties and a personal disgorgement of $8.3 million.[14][15][16] As a result of the restatement of results, the company's stock declined in value and Saylor's net worth fell by $6 billion.[17]

Subsequently, MicroStrategy grew steadily, adding 200 new customers by the end of 2003[18] and increasing its revenue each quarter from 2003 to 2007.[19] Under Saylor's leadership, the company was named one of the 200 Best Small Companies in America by Forbes in both 2007 and 2008.[20]

In the following years, Saylor led MicroStrategy in increasing its focus on mobile technology. He recognized the growing trend of businesses using mobile devices following the launch of Apple's iPad,[21] increasing MicroStrategy's number of software engineers and consultants by 100 percent to develop mobile applications,[22] and launching a mobile business intelligence platform in 2010.[21] At the MicroStrategy World conference in 2012, Saylor argued that mobile, social, cloud, and big data technologies would become significant trends in the following few years.[23]

In September 2014, Saylor cut his salary from $875,000 to $1 and did away with his incentive cash bonus.[24]

By 2015, the company's annual revenue was over $500 million[25] and its customers included the four largest American commercial banks, nine of the largest pharmaceutical companies worldwide, and global brands like Facebook, LinkedIn, Netflix, and Starbucks.[12] In 2016, the company had operations in 27 countries worldwide.[26]

As of 2016, Saylor has been granted 31 patents and has 9 additional applications under review.[27]


In June 2012, Saylor released The Mobile Wave: How Mobile Intelligence Will Change Everything, published by Perseus Books, which discusses trends in mobile technology and their future impact on commerce, healthcare, education, and the developing world.[6] In the book, Saylor argues that mobile computing is a "tipping point technology" that will bring about massive changes to society and the global economy; he also predicts that Apple, Amazon, and Facebook would become three of the largest businesses in the world based on their extensive use of consumer analytics, the cloud, and mobile adoption.[28][29] The book appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list, where it was ranked number seven in hardcover non-fiction books in August 2012,[30] and was ranked number five in hardcover business books on the Wall Street Journal's Best-Sellers list in July 2012.[31]

Recognition and awardsEdit

Saylor received a number of awards during his career. In 1996, he was named KPMG Washington High-Tech Entrepreneur of the Year.[5][32] In 1997, Ernst & Young named Saylor its Software Entrepreneur of the Year, and the following year, Red Herring Magazine recognized him as one of its Top 10 Entrepreneurs for 1998.[33] Saylor was also featured by the MIT Technology Review as an "Innovator Under 35" in 1999.[34] In July 2000, Saylor was named as one of People magazine's Most Eligible Bachelors.[35]


Saylor has made contributions of both time and money to a number of charitable organizations. In 2003, Saylor was involved in revitalizing the Friends of Lombardi, a group of professionals that conducts fundraising activities for the Georgetown University Medical Center's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.[36] In 2008, he served as Honorary Chairman of the Meadows Matches, an annual fundraiser for Courage for Kids.[37] He has also made large donations to Once Upon a Prom[38] and Fight For Children.[39] In 2010, he acted as the event chairman of the Washington Humane Society’s annual Fashion for Paws show.[40] In 2015 and 2016, Saylor participated at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, an event that brought together 200 of the world’s leading philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and business leaders who discussed how to apply wealth and resources to solve today’s most intractable problems.[41]

The Saylor FoundationEdit

In 1999, Saylor established The Saylor Foundation, of which he is the sole trustee. To support his goal of making free education available to all students, was launched in 2008 as the free education initiative of The Saylor Foundation.[42] The site now offers roughly 100 college courses that are supported by free content from universities including MIT and Carnegie Mellon University, that students can access without having to pass through an admissions process.[43][44] Students can also access the courses via iTunes U and Google's Course Builder, both free online platforms for education. Saylor has stated that his aim with is to encourage companies and organizations to "aggressively pursue digital education" and make higher education available for free and distributable to all.[45] has helped students at the University of Memphis – who were forced to drop out of school for financial aid reasons – complete their degrees through the school's Finish Line program. [44]


  1. ^ "Leadership". MicroStrategy. 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Michael Saylor Net Worth". 1 March 2000. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Harry Jaffe (1 March 2000). "The Seven Billion Dollar Man". The Washingtonian. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Mark Leibovich (6 January 2002). "MicroStrategy's CEO Sped to the Brink". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Jeff Glasser (15 July 1996). "From the Ground Up and Up". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Carol Ross Joynt (27 June 2012). "MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor's "The Mobile Wave" Examines the Implications of Mobile Technology". The Washingtonian. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Michael Saylor". Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Chuck Salter (31 March 2000). "People and Technology – MicroStrategy Inc". Fast Company. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Stewart Alsop (8 September 1997). "Now I know how a real visionary sounds". CNN. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "MicroStrategy To Sell Unit To Genesys For $110M". 
  11. ^ "Initial Public Offerings Key Data". NASDAQ. 11 June 1998. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Mark Leibovitch (9 August 1998). "A Journey Into the Secret Heart of Capitalism". Washington Post. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  13. ^ David S. Hilzenrath (14 April 2000). "SEC Investigating MicroStrategy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Debra Lau (18 December 2000). "Forbes Faces: Michael Saylor". Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  15. ^ David S. Hilzenrath (15 December 2000). "Saylor, Associates Settle Fraud Charges". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  16. ^ "SEC Brings Civil Charges Against MicroStrategyand Three Executive Officers for Accounting Violations". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 14 December 2000. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  17. ^ David Plotz (23 March 2000). "Michael Saylor MicroStrategy's cult leader". Slate. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  18. ^ Catherine Yang (8 February 2004). "MicroStrategy's Second Wind". Bloomberg. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  19. ^ Kim Hart (1 February 2007). "Software Company's Strategy Pays Off". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "The 200 Best Small Companies". Forbes. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Alex Kayle (7 July 2010). "iPad spells end for traditional BI". ITWeb. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  22. ^ John Cox (5 August 2011). "iPads power productivity gains at MicroStrategy". Network World. Retrieved 25 January 2013. 
  23. ^ David F. Carr (25 January 2012). "Facebook: The Database of Wealth And Power". InformationWeek. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  24. ^ Krantz, Matt. "Why this CEO slashed his paycheck – to $1". USA Today. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "My big intro to BI & analytics vendor MicroStrategy". Network World. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  26. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  27. ^ "Patents by Inventor Michael J. Saylor". Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  28. ^ Jeanne Destro (21 June 2012). "Review: IPads, smartphones in world-changing 'Mobile Wave'". USA Today. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  29. ^ John Tamny (2 December 2012). "Michael Saylor Channels Joseph Schumpeter In His Vision Of An Abundant, Cyber Future". Forbes. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  30. ^ "Best Sellers — Hardcover Nonfiction". The New York Times. 5 August 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  31. ^ "Best-Selling Books, Week Ended July 15". The Wall Street Journal. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  32. ^ Stan Hinden (6 July 1998). "Transforming information into another public utility". New Straits Times. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  33. ^ "Michael Saylor". The Washington Post. 21 June 2000. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  34. ^ "Michael J. Saylor, 34". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  35. ^ "America's Most Wanted". People magazine. 10 July 2000. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  36. ^ Richard Pestell (Spring 2003). "Quality Cancer Care: It's a Collaborative Effort" (PDF). Lombardi Magazine. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  37. ^ "Michael Saylor Donates $20,000 to the Courage Cup; Named Honorary Chairperson of Meadow Matches". Courage For Kids. 25 March 2008. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  38. ^ Pamela Sorenson (8 April 2008). "Michael Saylor Honorary Chairman for Once Upon A Prom Gala". Pamela's Punch. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  39. ^ "Supporters". Fight for Children. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  40. ^ "Fashion for Paws". Washington Humane Society. Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  41. ^ "Forbes Hosts Fifth Annual Forbes 400 Summit On Philanthropy". Forbes. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  42. ^ "About the Saylor Foundation". Saylor Foundation. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  43. ^ Richard Vedder (14 September 2012). "Saylor as Savior?". Forbes. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  44. ^ a b Ade Adeniji (11 October 2016). "A Degree Without Debt: Meet a Tech Winner Stepping up for Free Education". Inside Philanthropy. Retrieved 14 October 2016. 
  45. ^ Alisha Azevedo (11 November 2012). "A Dot-Com Entrepreneur's Wild Ambition: Drive Education Costs to Zero". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 

External linksEdit