Billionaire Bitcoiner Michael Saylor's "Strategy" for Becoming A Super-Connector
What we can learn from MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor about networking.
I’ll admit it.
I’m a #bitcoiner.
Back in August 2020, I shared with premium subscribers to the Meeting of the Minds newsletter that I’d invested about one-third of our company’s cash reserves into bitcoin. The US Dollar equivalent per bitcoin that day closed at $11,991.23.
BTW - if you were a premium subscriber for $12/mo, and you took my advice, you would have earned roughly 300% on your investment in 6 months. Knowledge is power!
Why did we make such a hefty investment?
I did my own research, certainly, but part of why I decided to make an investment of our company’s cash is because of billionaire entrepreneur Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy, a publicly-traded business analytics provider.
Saylor had invested $250M from his company’s treasury into bitcoin at the time, and that figure has grown to over $1 BILLION today.
Here’s part of Saylor’s statement in August 2020 about why they decided to start utilizing bitcoin for their company’s treasury instead of holding 100% of their reserves in cash (or cash equivalents).
“Our investment in Bitcoin is part of our new capital allocation strategy, which seeks to maximize long-term value for our shareholders. This investment reflects our belief that Bitcoin, as the world’s most widely-adopted cryptocurrency, is a dependable store of value and an attractive investment asset with more long-term appreciation potential than holding cash. Since its inception over a decade ago, Bitcoin has emerged as a significant addition to the global financial system, with characteristics that are useful to both individuals and institutions. MicroStrategy has recognized Bitcoin as a legitimate investment asset that can be superior to cash and accordingly has made Bitcoin the principal holding in its treasury reserve strategy.
MicroStrategy spent months deliberating to determine our capital allocation strategy. Our decision to invest in Bitcoin at this time was driven in part by a confluence of macro factors affecting the economic and business landscape that we believe is creating long-term risks for our corporate treasury program ― risks that should be addressed proactively. Those macro factors include, among other things, the economic and public health crisis precipitated by COVID-19, unprecedented government financial stimulus measures including quantitative easing adopted around the world, and global political and economic uncertainty. We believe that, together, these and other factors may well have a significant depreciating effect on the long-term real value of fiat currencies and many other conventional asset types, including many of the assets traditionally held as part of corporate treasury operations.
We find the global acceptance, brand recognition, ecosystem vitality, network dominance, architectural resilience, technical utility, and community ethos of Bitcoin to be persuasive evidence of its superiority as an asset class for those seeking a long-term store of value. Bitcoin is digital gold – harder, stronger, faster, and smarter than any money that has preceded it. We expect its value to accrete with advances in technology, expanding adoption, and the network effect that has fueled the rise of so many category killers in the modern era.”
Basically, his take is that bitcoin has the ability to protect your company’s treasury against inflation and the debasing of the US Dollar.
But, I’m not here to talk (entirely) about bitcoin.
I want you to pay attention to what Michael Saylor is DOING…
PS - I’d consider this a “super-connector secret”, so until you master the basics of networking and relationship-building as outlined in my upcoming book How To Build A World-Class Network In Record Time, I wouldn’t try this at home, kids ;).
Saylor was the first CEO of a non-crypto, publicly-traded company to invest a large percentage of their company’s treasury reserves into bitcoin, and then he told EVERYONE about it.
He’s taken over crypto twitter, been on CNBC more times than I can count (#newsjacking), and has even recently hosted an online event attended by over 20,000 corporate executives to share his company’s “playbook” on how and why to invest billions of dollars into bitcoin as a corporate entity.
From a networking standpoint, Saylor has now become one of “go-to” people in the industry on all news related to bitcoin. When Tesla announced their $1.5B purchase of bitcoin yesterday, it was Saylor who was interviewed on CNBC.
Not to mention, the MicroStrategy stock price has skyrocketed since Saylor began to publicly share his company’s bitcoin-buying strategies.
Additionally, few people are talking about Saylor’s checkered past compared to seeking his perspectives in the media, celebrating him on Twitter, or talking about his company for their bold bitcoin bet.
In a salty write-up titled “The Accused Fraudster Behind the Bitcoin Boom” for The New Republic, journalist Jacob Silverman attempted to point out the various shortcomings of Saylor in the past (while also highlighting how successful the Michael Saylor Stratey has been for PR and networking).
Saylor has done something unusual, turning his unremarkable software company into more like a Bitcoin investment vehicle that happens to make software. (Saylor, while bombastic on Twitter about his venture, has denied that his company’s huge cryptocurrency holdings qualify it as an exchange-traded fund, or ETF, which carries with it certain regulatory burdens.)
Other companies have bought Bitcoin: The payments company Square, which is helmed by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, bought $50 million worth in October 2020.
But none have made such a project of it, orienting the company around accumulating a chaotic currency that also happens to be an environmental catastrophe.
But whatever you think of Bitcoin, Michael Saylor’s own story is more complicated, calling into question what we should expect from Bitcoin’s latest rally.
After founding MicroStrategy in 1989, Saylor was part of an alleged accounting scheme that vastly overstated the company’s earnings, making a money-losing, publicly traded corporation look profitable. In 2000, Saylor, two other MicroStrategy executives, and the company itself paid a total of $11 million in a settlement with the SEC; Saylor, who personally signed off on the fraudulent earnings reports, paid $8.2 million of that. The charges were settled with no one admitting any wrongdoing. Somehow, Saylor has held onto his role at MicroStrategy over the last 20 years, reportedly becoming one of the richest people in the capital region. The company’s revenue has declined every year since 2014.
I’m not here to judge the man.
Rather, I’m dubbing a “super-connector secret” that I think we can all learn from.
Here it is…
The Michael Saylor Strategy:
Be a “first-mover” in something new and/or controversial. This may require taking a big risk with your public reputation, so be incredibly careful about enacting the Michael Saylor Strategy.
Tell everyone about your big bet or controversial “take”, whether it’s through social media, newsjacking, etc.
Continue to “walk the walk” as you “talk the talk” - for Saylor, his company has quintupled-down on their bitcoin purchases, making subsequently larger bets that brought their treasury investment from $250M bitcoin, to $500M+, to $1B+. They continue to buy $10M worth of bitcoin every few weeks as part of their new corporate treasury strategy to hedge against inflation.
Bring others along for the ride. Saylor has been active on Twitter and may have swayed Elon Musk to consider a bitcoin-buying strategy for Tesla in late December 2020 (see tweets below). MicroStrategy also hosted a free virtual conference last week attended by over 20,000 people through the “Bitcoin for Corporations” program at MicroStrategy World 2021.
If you make the RIGHT bet, then you’ll become the “go-to” super-connector in that new industry, community, and/or topic of conversation. Not only will you then be able to meet lots of new people, but you will receive tremendous PR value and potentially rewrite your “personal brand” like Saylor has by becoming one of the most prominent voices in the crypto community.
This is something I’m testing out for the end of How To Build A World-Class Network In Record Time, so what do you think of the Michael Saylor Strategy?
Do you think it’s intriguing and worth mentioning at the end of the book when we share a handful of advanced “super-connector secrets” with readers?
Or do you think this is too complicated, nerdy, and/or silly to share?
Also, are you a bitcoiner yet? ;)
(I promise I’ll stop talking about it….)
Anyways, happy Tuesday. Hope this was interesting.
P.S. - knowledge is power. Premium subscribers are getting access to additional emails, opportunities, and special bonuses like a free copy of my new book! Want to join the party? Consider upgrading your subscription today for only $12/mo.
Jared Kleinert is the founder of Meeting of the Minds (motm.co), as well as a TED speaker, 2x award-winning author, and USA Today's "Most Connected Millennial".
Meeting of the Minds curates "super-connectors" and subject matter experts as invite-only attendees to 3 day summits in places like Napa Valley, Bermuda, and elsewhere, as well as “deep dives” such as this Marketing and Biz Dev strategy & implementation workshop. Members of the MOTM network include CEOs of 7, 8, and 9-figure businesses, creators of globally-recognized brands and social movements, New York Times bestselling authors, founders of pre-IPO tech unicorns, c-suite execs from Fortune 500 companies, and others.
Jared's career began at 15 years old when he started his first company, and took off at 16 while working as the first intern, and then one of the first 10 employees, for an enterprise SaaS company called 15Five, which today has raised over $40M and has almost 2000 forward-thinking companies as monthly recurring clients.
Later, Jared would become a delegate to President Obama's 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Malaysia, write multiple books including the "#1 Entrepreneurship Book of 2015", and speak at TED@IBM the day before he turned 20.
As a highly-sought after keynote speaker and consultant, Jared’s clients range from organizations like Facebook, Samsung, Bacardi, Estee Lauder, IBM, Cornell, Berkeley, AdAge, and the National Speakers Association. His insights on entrepreneurship, networking, marketing, and business development have been featured in Forbes, TIME, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, NPR, Entrepreneur, Mashable, Fox Business and more.
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