My Beard

Posted on January 15, 2020


"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -William Shakespeare

The question is, should I grow a beard?

I’m not sure I want a beard, but I haven’t shaved in three weeks and I like to take advantage of an opportunity. I’ve never had a beard and it might make sense right now. A beard in Los Angeles tells people that while you might spend your days at home only showering occasionally, you are still working. A beard implies a man of intellectual effort. In Alaska it’s a sign you spend time outside, but here it’s a sign of being an indoor kid.

It’s also kind of a power move. In the book “Smart Power” by Christian Whiton there is a general rule of thumb that the worst dressed person in a meeting is likely the most influential person in attendance. GQ proclaimed it “would be hard to find a sloppier city” than Los Angeles, because “In L.A., the most powerful man in the room is the one who's most casual.” And what is more relaxed than a man with a beard?

This is not an abandonment of my love for capitalism. The bearded CEO is a thing! Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey, Sergey Brin, Lloyd Blankfein, Marc Benioff, and even Steve Jobs ended his career with a short beard. The New York times has said that “when capitalism has assumed a more swashbuckling, individualistic persona, hair has sprouted on the chins of entrepreneurs and speculators” and what could be more speculative than trying to sell creative ideas into the Hollywood machine? A beard could be a fitting look for me now just as Brooks Brothers was when I started out 12 years ago.

According to the Daily Mail Reporter, men with beards "look as much as eight years older than their unshaven counterparts." As someone with a baby face this helps me out, just like Sergey Brin who used a beard to transition from a boy to a legend:

"It’s like the billionaire CEO of Google decided to go through puberty when he grew out a beard, transitioning from a mere boy to a revolutionary legend of technology." -Sebastion Dillion

My face is not growing a full thick beard, but even a scruffy beard can become iconic, like the patchy face of Che Guevara. And as it grows long it gives an aura of the wise wizard, like Gandolf or Stafford Beer. A beard works at every level.

I’ve been clean shaven my entire life, but the shareholder votes about facial hair have always been close. In 2008 a mustache proposal was rejected by just 54%.Then in 2015 the beard was rejected by 53%. Right now I have about three weeks of growth from over the holidays and it’s time to either hold course or abandon ship.

As always it is up to the shareholders if I should continue or shave. Using the same system for the last beard vote the percentages of approval will determine how long I’ll keep the beard or be clean shaven.

49% or less: Shave the beard. No requests for facial hair for two years.
50% to 59%: Keep the beard, schedule a vote in two weeks.
60% to 69%: Keep the beard, schedule a vote in one month.
70% to 79%: Keep the beard, schedule a vote in two months.
80% to 89%: Keep the beard, schedule a vote in three months.
90% to 99%:Keep the beard, schedule a vote in six months.
100%: Keep the beard, schedule a vote in one year.

(Subsequent votes, if needed, will happen on

Past Discussion

Richard S. Jensen ☕️ (6.0 shares, voted yes)
Solid research project.
Pat Castaldo 💯☕️ (118.0 shares, voted yes)
As a beard-holder I'm biased, sure. But as a share-holder, I think the extra time gained by not shaving every day will advance my share-holder financial position.
beau 💯☕️☎️ (201.0 shares, voted yes)
I'm in favor of you knowing how you look with a beard, and if I wasn't I feel like your research would have swayed me.
csdavis08 (25.0 shares, voted yes)
I’m voting Yes to keep it at or near the current length. Anything more or less is sends out a less optimal vibe.
JeffersonNunn (26.0 shares, voted yes)
Such an important decision. I think that we need a distinctive looking property. Most everyone is beardless, therefore a distinguishing aspect of our brand is a bearded person. Think about The Most Interesting Man or even Sean Connery.
eubie67 (3.0 shares, voted yes)
I feel like the choices are too restrictive. We should not only be voting up or down, but also on beard style. Full, VanDyke, Goatee, Soul Patch. There are many options, each with varying pros and cons.
Mike Merrill 🎖🌮🌴
@eubie67... we'll get there! have to crawl before you can run :)
Becki907 (5.0 shares, voted no)
If you truly look as young as you claim without the beard, couldn't that be construed as a successful young person? I would change my vote in favor of keeping facial hair if a style were also an option.
seanslater (1.0 shares, voted no)
Voted No, but only because I want to see the percentage drop to re-vote in 3/6 months instead of 12 months.
Archbishop Dave Smith (1.0 shares, voted yes)
I grew a protest beard when I was working in Saudi Arabia, but I like being clean shaven. Still, give it a shot and we can vote to shave later.
Norberto Rodriguez 🌴☕💼 (1.0 shares, voted yes)
I just shaved my beard after almost 20 years full time. I like this idea.
Gary Pratt (0.0 shares)
Another question that has nothing to do with shareholder value. I really thought this project was going to be a meaningful exercise. It just seems silly now...
iRunMikey (6.0 shares, voted yes)
I like that you put a time frame for the revote. That's why I voted yes because if it looks off in six months we can vote it down. Also I just wanted to say I've been here for a long time but I haven't been very active and I've decided in 2020 I'm going to do more so this is one of my Moore and hopefully I'll see you guys around a bit
wandersean (80.0 shares, voted yes)
I'm torn on this. On one hand, all your "business beard" examples are worn by already obviously successful billionaires, so I am kind of ignoring those examples. On the other hand, I have a beard, I think the "makes you look older" thing is very real and can be very important. So, I don't know. Yes, for a while?
A J Cole (2.0 shares, voted no)
Voting No mostly because I’m generally annoyed by the hard Cis gendered slant of the research presented: the beard as power, mystique and manliness. But I am delighted that you brought this topic to vote.
Coburnicus (17.0 shares, voted yes)
I can count no one hand the amount of times I've shaved my beard the past three years (though I maintain it almost daily) so my Yes vote is biased. Furthermore, I 100% agree with eubie67, my initial thought was the opportunity for more creations than the "basic" beard (i.e. fumanchu (is that one word?), goatee, handlebars, etc.). I'd also love a follow-up vote of whether Mike should join the slowly but surely growing trend of growing a mullet. I believe, if maintained properly, the mullet can be a beautiful conversation starter(most notably when in line at a bar bathroom) and it's a change that would further Mike even more from the Average Joe.
chrishiggins 💯☕️ (167.0 shares, voted yes)
In my learned opinion, beard experimentation is key to understanding the aging of your facial hair follicles. For instance, Luke Skywalker has a brown beard at one point, but later he has a gray beard. When did it turn gray? I know only way to find out: grow a beard. Furthermore, I *have* a beard, and I have learned that it turned white at an alarmingly young age. I also urge you to consider the classic sketch by The State titled "The Bearded Men of Space Station 11."
davehayden ☕️💯 (336.0 shares, voted yes)
Vote in two months instead of three, I say. If it's not working we should know by then. No need to drag it out another month.
jmikeye (29.0 shares, voted yes)
Voting yes to push the next vote out further. I want you to see as many phases of the beard as possible before a re-vote, so you and we will know what you've got to work with.
awmahan 💼☕️ (48.0 shares, voted no)
I like A J Cole's comment and agree with them. But I also dislike the look on you. I prefer a smooth Mike.
jesserifkin ☕️ (1.0 shares, voted yes)
I had a beard for more than a year, but shaved it about two weeks ago in late December. But even though I'm clean-shaven now, I'm still voting yes, under the logic that every man should grow a beard once in their life, just to know what it looks like. And because Justin Trudeau also grew a beard last week:
Tanya B (8.0 shares, voted yes)
Fun fact from the research paper "The role of facial hair in women's perceptions of men's attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities": women are most attracted to men with heavy stubble. Some more findings: "beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring."
Norberto Rodriguez 🌴☕💼 (1.0 shares, voted yes)
Also, this is my first official vote! Very exciting...
14060 (1.0 shares, voted yes)
You must grow a beard. I am not able to grow a beard in the real world. But now those of us who are lost... the beardless - we can grow a beard vicariously through you.
Zach (6.0 shares, voted no)
You rock the clean look well. The aye voters are approving of corporate sabotage. On principle alone, I can't allow it.
Edmund Lee (2.0 shares, voted yes)
You look like a tech startup founder with that beard. Good for capitial investments. Keep it!
freddy ☕️ (6.0 shares, voted no)
This vote is not about BEARDS, but about YOUR BEARD. I don't like your beard. You should shave it.