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20 Years Since Going Public: A Look Back and Forward

On June 11, 1998, a nine-year-old MicroStrategy led by CEO Michael Saylor and running strong with a little under 700 talented employees, went public at $12 a share with a $416.8M evaluation. “MSTR” flashed bright on the Nasdaq ticker for the first time.
 

At the time the company went public, Michael Saylor had already refused five buyout offers, and noted at the time to The Washington Post that if someone were to offer him $10 billion, he’d still refuse. 20 years later, with 35 global field offices, stock trading at around $130 per share, more than 2,000 employees, the successful founding of Angel and Alarm.com, as well as a notable list of MicroStrategy alumni, Michael Saylor remains just as steadfast as the visionary leader of MicroStrategy today—as do many employees.

More than 35 employees have been with MicroStrategy since the company went public in 1998, an impressive career commitment, especially given that the average tenure at most tech companies is three years or less. Here are what three of those 20-year-plus MicroStrategists say first attracted them to the company, and what keeps them excited about its future in 2018:
 

Will Hurwood
VP, Software Engineering, Principal Architect


What first interested you in MicroStrategy?
Oh dear, my very first “interest” in MicroStrategy was to wonder what was in the folder filed next to the Microsoft one at the University Careers Library. The idea of using the internet to research job opportunities did not really exist at that time.

But on reading through the folder, MicroStrategy seemed a good fit for me—a technology company doing interesting work on the East Coast, big enough to be stable, but not so big that I would get lost in it. But what really got me interested in MicroStrategy were the interviews. There was a sense of mission, a sense that they were going places that I picked up from the MicroStrategy employees that I met, and that I did not find anywhere else. I wanted to be part of it. By the time that I got an offer, I had already decided.

What are some of your memorable moments from the past 20 years?
The release of MicroStrategy 7 has to be the highlight for me. It came out in summer 2000, and I had been personally working on it for nearly four years by that time. It was wonderful to finally release something that the team (maybe 250 people were working on it by then) had been working on for so long. I particularly remember when we all went outside and sat in front of the HQ building for a group picture.

What excites you most about MicroStrategy today and its future?
For me, as a technologist, what I relish about MicroStrategy is that it gives me a chance to be exposed to a large variety of technologies and ideas. Our platform will never be complete. As we add more functionality, we have to study new concepts—things like microservices, streaming, containerization, machine learning, and more.

I have been able to continuously learn new things and actually see them put into practice. I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, and I don’t think it will stop. I believe that MicroStrategy has a bright future and that we really understand that our only way to grow and survive is to continuously move forward.
 

Claudia Cahill
Director, Public Relations


What first interested you in MicroStrategy?
Several things about MicroStrategy caught my attention. At the time, everyone was talking about this hot tech startup and its visionary CEO. I was keen on finding a role where I could be inspired to tell great stories. Michael Saylor’s vision of Intelligence Everywhere really resonated with me then, and now. It was a really easy decision for me to jump onboard. Once I settled in, I seized on a customer marketing role where I could make the best use of my skills to meet with our customers, get to know them well, and share their unique stories with the public.

What are some of your memorable moments from the past 20 years?
There are too many to name, but the ones that come to mind include MicroStrategy Bootcamp, our IPO in 1998, our many successful product launches, the company-wide cruises where we were invited to bring our family, our annual family days where a lot of us got up and shared our musical talents, and all the World events. Believe it or not, I’ve only missed one MicroStrategy World in the past 20 years.

What excites you most about MicroStrategy today and its future?
MicroStrategy continues to be a great place to work, with talented co-workers and a fun atmosphere that keeps me motivated each day. I’m incredibly lucky and proud to work for a world-class technology company that has delivered so many innovations to market, and continues to deliver powerful software and services that help thousands upon thousands of people and organizations make better business decisions. And I remain as bullish as ever about MicroStrategy’s future and our roadmap to guide organizations on their journey to become Intelligent Enterprises.
 

Andy Smith
SVP, Chief Product Owner, Platform Delivery and Tooling


What first interested you in MicroStrategy?
At University, I was formally trained as a scientist. Developing and testing hypotheses, generating a large amount of experimental data, and then working manually and arduously through the data analysis in order to form a coherent conclusion. Also something about triple integrals and partial differential equations. When I bumped into MicroStrategy at a careers fair in Cambridge, I wish I had had the opportunity to leverage our analytical insights back in the day.

Additionally, having the opportunity to hear Michael Saylor speak at a University session was inspirational and changed my life. I had always been super interested in data and in the internet, but hearing a vision of the future where a crystal ball sat on every desktop was a mission I found to be super compelling. It was either that or go and count penguins.

What are some of your memorable moments from the past 20 years?
I’ve always been very proud of our history of innovation. Within six months of joining MicroStrategy, I was part of a team that released decision support via the world wide web, an industry first. We refined that in 2000 with version 7, which introduced revolutionary platform technologies and exemplified our strong unified metadata.

Over the years, we shipped a groundbreaking mobile release in 2010, got started with the first MicroStrategy Cloud in 2011. We brought in Usher technologies in 2015, and began our journey to the next-gen platform with version 10 in 2016. On a personal note, I was proud to release MicroStrategy on AWS in 2017, which is a superb offering and built in a true agile manner by a relatively small number of people but leveraging excellent technology stacks. It was an exercise in how to accelerate delivery through the modernization of the MicroStrategy Platform.

What excites you most about MicroStrategy today and its future?
I think we are poised on the verge of greatness. We have seen through our relationships with our customers, partners, Gartner, Forrester, and others that our modern MicroStrategy message and capabilities are hitting the right marks in terms of our target market. We are making strategic investments in marketing and sales to amplify the message and let people know that working with our platform today is a very different experience than it was even just a few years ago. We have dramatically re-thought the way we approach software development for our workforce through our agile transformation and our customer understanding through the Intelligent Enterprise.

What excites me most today is seeing the incredible mission-critical applications that our customers build on top of our technology to empower their workforce and take actions based on data. What excites me most about where we’re going is that our technology is going to help enterprises by making these decisions, taking actions, recommending content, and making predictions, all behind the scenes. British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke postulated that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. I’d like to make a magic MicroStrategy platform.
 

Our Thank You

With 2018 seeing MicroStrategy recognized as a standout among 22 enterprise analytics vendors in the 2018 Gartner Critical Capabilities for Analytics and Business Intelligence Report, as well as a leader in the Forrester Wave for Enterprise Business Intelligence Platforms, we’d like to give an incredibly important thank you to all of those employees who have lent their talents to the company for two decades or more.

Thank you for your passion, persistence, professionalism, and proficiency, Jose Antonio Alonso, Eileen Angeloni, Glenn Boysko, Claudia Cahill, Eduardo Carranza, Fran Chao-Gay, Gang Chen, Yinong Chen, Zhiying Chen, Jochen Demuth, Yi Du, Hannes Eberle, Arturo Gay, Will Hurwood, Liqun Jin, Ralf Kaul, Caroline Kelleher, Remco Leguijt, Jing Li, Rixin Liao, Juergen Loeffelsender, Oliver Marchal, Kazu Munakata, Douglas Meyer, Gregg Moore, Dominique Paschoud, Victor Pena, Jan Plesse, Dan Preotescu, Sergio Trejo Rodriguez, Manfred Sauren, Michael Saylor, Andy Smith, Jianhua Wang, Jens Willner, and Jeffrey Zhang. MicroStrategy’s future is bright with you and because of you.

Our appreciation, as well, to all employees past and present, our partners, our supporters, friends and stakeholders, and most importantly, to our amazing customers who are defining and developing their Intelligent Enterprises for 2020 and beyond.

Another Arthur C. Clarke quote seems apt here for where we, and technology as a whole, are going: “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”

Here’s to the next 20 years.

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