Henry’s Take: Morris Tech Meetup and How Mike Michalowicz Schooled Me in Quarantine. Twice!

Before I dive into Mike Michalowicz’s horrible deeds, I need to go back a few weeks to the beginning of May, when I found out that Mike would be presenting at my favorite meetup, the Morris Tech Meetup — hosted by my old buddy, John Carini, and his gang of co-organizers. This meetup is located on the beautiful campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University and is always a ton of fun, attracting great attendees and speakers. This time it was, of course, a bit different, as we were all under quarantine, and this would be the first on-line Zoom meetup. It wasn’t actually Zoom, but since we use it as a verb like Xerox, I figure you get the picture. More on its success later. 

When I heard Mike was presenting, I immediately jumped at it, having attended his “The Pumpkin Plan” talk a few years back. I asked if I could interview him beforehand, and he graciously accepted. So how did Mike school me? Just look at his picture; he’s jacked!  While doing my research, I checked out his recent videos done from quarantine. His beard was a bit unkempt, his hair longer, and he looked thinner than he is in the picture. During our video call, I commented on the fact that being in quarantine must be tough on working out (as I looked at my expanding midriff). Mike looked a bit befuddled and flexed his bicep. Holy Toledo! He looked like Sylvester Stallone circa “Rambo II,” minus the chattering machine gun. He then whipped out his phone and showed the daily workout routine that he does every day from 7 to 8 in the morning. I was schooled, humbled, and quickly begged that he post his workouts. The guy is the real deal, but more on that later.

Mike Michalowicz | photo by Mat Robinson of Enduring Images

My second schooling was more personal, and frankly, a lot more painful. This directly relates to his new book, “Fix This Next.” At the time of the interview, I was able to listen to about half of it, but was already hooked. After being very successful in my first business, which I sold in 2012, I walked away from my second business in 2019 without making much money. I thought I was a big shot, and I thought I knew what I was doing. I was wrong, and Mike methodically went through all of the things I could have done better. Of course, Mike did not mean to hurt, but help. And, frankly, he did. 

Before I go further, let me first tell you that I hate audiobooks. Not because of their functionality, but because —let’s face it — some authors are made to write, not speak. Take my advice, buy Mike’s audiobook. The way he communicates is amazing, and not only is he able to get his point across, but he peppers his commentary with his signature “Mikeisms” that instantly make you connect to him. The way he described his college fraternity experience is hysterical, and can only be told by him. 

The way he helps is by intermixing psychology with real advice that takes him years to research. It takes him about five years to write a book, and I can see why. I asked him why he does what he does, and he simply said that he was put on this planet to eradicate entrepreneurial poverty, close the gap between those who have and have not, and help the economy move. That’s some heavy stuff, especially in these times.

“How Can Entrepreneurs Get Out of Their Fetal Position?”

Speaking of these times, we spoke at length about our current economic situation, and I asked him a straight-up question: What should entrepreneurs do to get out of their fetal position that many of them are in? His answer was that if you are in that position, then you are not communicating with your customers and you’re not looking for the opportunities in the new normal. He said that we live right now in the ultimate entrepreneurial petri dish; everything is possible. He has a point: After the crash of 2001, Google and Amazon exploded. After 2008, we got Airbnb and Uber. I am not saying that we all can make it like that, but the opportunity is right in front of us. This is why his book is so important right now. In fact, all of his books are critical because they weave a story of success, not only for him, but also for you.

Oh yeah, let’s talk about the Meetup. Our interview was in the morning of the day of the meetup, and after digesting the interview, I logged into the meeting. It had a few minor bumps, such as when John Carini decided that our hold music should be piped from his phone’s speaker — and of course, he chose Yacht Rock Radio. There is nothing better than listening to Kenny Loggins sail away somewhere from a small tinny speaker.  Besides that, the meeting was a spectacular success, hosting over 100 people. Great job, John!

When Mike came on, I thought he would talk about his book, but not Mike. He spent more than half of his allotted time talking about what people should immediately focus on with regard to the upcoming economic situation. Here is a link to the recording of the meetup, definitely worth a visit. The coolest part was, while he was talking, people would go on Amazon, buy his book and announce it in the chat. Every time somebody did this, Mike would interrupt what he was saying and thank them personally.  We’ve all heard the inspirational talk on how things will get better, but Mike is different. He talked about exactly what you need to do, focusing on short feasible goals. In his own words, it’s going be a slog, but we will “kick ass!” The way I read this is that we all need to put our “big boy pants” on and do what America does best: Win!

From his perspective, to be an entrepreneur in this country allows you to go from one hot dog cart to five, and then to 5 million. The fundamentals have not changed, and based on previous experiences, we will rise stronger and better. Buy his books, the best investment you can make, especially in these times. I only wish that I could have done that myself earlier. Definitely better late than never. Thanks, Mike. And by the way, I’m working out again … well, at least trying.

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