- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Michael Saylor, perennial party host and chairman of local high-tech company Microstrategy Inc., went to typically elaborate heights to celebrate his company’s 20th anniversary.

Founded in 1989, the McLean-based firm started out with nine employees and raked in $700,000 in its first year, Mr. Saylor said. Today, he commands a global staff of nearly 2,000 and boasts $400 million in yearly revenues.

Last Friday, after a VIP dinner for employees and Microstrategy alums at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building, the bachelor tycoon invited a few hundred of his closest friends for a “Winter Wonderland”-themed soiree featuring white-chocolate fountains and entertainment provided by ballerinas and rock band Mr. Green Genes.

To add a little color to the white-out, the quirky, 40-something Mr. Saylor requested that the ladies wear wigs with their white outfits. The gents were asked to don tuxedos. (The guys always have it easier).

He explained in a phone interview that women in wigs have always held a “bizarre” fascination for him, because they allow women to take on an “alternative personality.” Indeed, he takes the dress code at his parties very seriously, giving strict instructions on the invitations.

“The whole point of the party is Women in Wigs (in White). I am seriously hoping I don’t recognize any of you,” he explained on the party’s invite. “The wigs can be any color, although I am partial to green, orange, purple and silver. Hair extensions are allowed, as long as they are a different color than the hair they are extending.”

To keep out the wigless and the uninvited, Mr. Saylor employs a private security detail, which has worked with him for five years.

“They know everybody who comes by now,” he said. “But they still ask for ID and check them off a list.”

He warned guests in advance, “The dress code is iron clad. We have 100 elves stacked up in the closet next to the front door, so if you show up improperly attired, we will send you home and let one of the elves into the party as your replacement.”

Perhaps those elves could get a job doing White House security?

One disappointed party-goer told us via e-mail that this year’s Saylor soiree did not quite live up to expectations. “Same people, same band and same booze,” the source mused.

Although Mr. Saylor said he is renting an apartment in Manhattan, he told us he hopes he’ll be around the Washington area for another 20 years, with plenty more far-out parties along the way.

“We all have our idiosyncrasies. Live and let live, I say.”

Whiskey debate

At a Monday night charity benefit for Operation Homefront, a support organization for military families, a robust debate took place over a subject more contentious than politics. What could that possibly be, you wonder? The age-old rivalry between scotch and bourbon.

Katie Young of Qorvis Communications, who organized the event, explains that guests gathered on K Street to hear Beam Global Scotch ambassador Simon Brooking and Beam Global Bourbon ambassador David Mays battle it out, Lincoln-Douglas style, in defense of their native liquor.

Attendees were invited to probe the competitors with questions and sample various types of bourbon and scotch. After the gentlemen rested their cases, the audience took a vote - those deemed sober enough to render an opinion, that is.

Drum roll, please.

In the end, team bourbon prevailed, in part, perhaps, thanks to patriotism.

When asked if one should drink bourbon, Mr. Mays responded, “It’s your patriotic duty.”

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]


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