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Mike Michalowicz
MikeMichalowicz Author Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.JPG
Author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur
Background information
Birth name Michael Michalowicz
Born September 24, 1971 (1971-09-24) (age 38)
Boonton, New Jersey
Nationality American
Genre(s) Entrepreneurship
Official site

Michael Michalowicz (born September 24, 1971) is an American entrepreneur, small business investor, author and television host.

He is the author of the book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur [1] [2] (published Sept. 2008), is an advocate of a business philosophy by the same name [3], manages a venture partnering firm called Obsidian Launch [4] and is the host of the reality television program called Bailout!.[5]

Michalowicz was a recurring entrepreneurship expert for CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. He had over ten appearances, including the CES Roadshow series. [6] Michalowicz has also appeared on NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, ABC News Now, CNBC's On the Money and Pat Croce's Down To Business. [7] [8] [9]

He authored the book and hosted the reality program as "Mike" Michalowicz as opposed to under his given name, Michael. According to the author's biography on the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur website, his last name, Michalowicz, is pronounced mi-CAL-o-witz.[10]



Michalowicz has lectured at both US and international universities, authored a book, published articles and made national television and radio appearances as an expert discussing entrepreneurial concepts and approaches he terms as a Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] This name is derived from the following analogy paraphrased from Michalowicz's book:

Have you ever been in the bathroom only to realize there are a mere three sheets of toilet paper left...but somehow, often with the help of the trashcan remnants, manage to make it work? This is how a Toilet Paper Entrepreneur runs their business in to the ground ...they make do with what they have, pull "miracles" out of the trash and make more and more with less and less.

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur philosophy is based on the notion that not only can one start a business with fewer resources [16] [17], but that having fewer resources can actually work to your benefit [18]. For example, having fewer resources can force the business to address an issue in highly innovative ways versus simply spending money blindly to solve it. [19] [20]

Michalowicz's writing and interview style is blunt honesty, speckled with humor. In an interview with Inc. Magazine, Michalowicz was asked "how to balance work and family life". His response was "You don't. And the fact that you are asking this before you have even put in your first five years with a new business, means that you probably are not cut out to be an entrepreneur." [21]

The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (Book)

In September 2008, Obsidian Launch released Michalowicz's book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. The book is written in an unconventional manner, and emphasizes contrarian business methods .[22] The author argues a successful entrepreneur embodies the flexibility and vision many large companies lack. Michalowicz states that hard-line traditional business planning is ineffective and often detrimental; and that successful growth of a business requires a dynamic planning method, called a 3 Sheet Strategy.[23]

Among other growth techniques, Michalowicz argues the leap frogging strategy of significantly pushing ahead in one "area of innovation", either Price, Convenience or Quality. Michalowicz shows examples of this, including the rise and fall of Blockbuster, Netflix and Redbox.[24]

In the book, Michalowicz occasionally pulls from his own entrepreneurial background, explaining how funding hampered his company's growth and the lack of invest funds in fact helped his businesses grow quickly and healthily.[25]

Michalowicz manages a website, also called The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, with a large volume of resources for entrepreneurs.[26]

Obsidian Launch

Michalowicz is Founder and President of Obsidian Launch, a firm specializing in rapidly establishing niche brands.[27]

Bailout! (Reality Television Program)

Michalowicz is was the host of the reality television program Bailout! The executive producer for Bailout! is Wil Surratt, the former executive producer of The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch. Bailout! highlights struggling entrepreneurs and Michalowicz is given 24 hours to fix their businesses.[28] Bailout! was subsequently canceled and now airs on "webisodes" through BBE distribution.

Early career

Michalowicz is a native of Boonton, NJ. He graduated from Virginia Tech with two degrees, one in finance and one in management science[29]. He launched his first company, Olmec Systems, at the age of 24, in August 1996 [30]. During his tenure at Olmec, he was recognized by the Small Business Administration as The Young Entrepreneur of the Year [31]. Michalowicz completed MIT's 'Birthing of Giants' entrepreneurial program in 2003. The program is sponsored by YEO (Young Entrepreneurs Organization) and Inc. Magazine, and is facilitated at MIT facilities by professors, lecturers & entrepreneurs.[32]. He sold the company through a private transaction on December 31, 2002. On January 1, 2003, he launched his second company, PG Lewis & Associates (PGLA), which grew to national prominence by 2005, by completing large data forensics projects for historically significant court cases including the Enron collapse [33] [34]. PGLA was acquired by Protiviti, a division of Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI) on March 1, 2006. Terms were not disclosed.[35]

His current company, Obsidian Launch [36], is a hybrid marketing venture firm that participates in growing industry experts from startup to niche authorities.[37].


  1. ^ Michalowicz, Michael (2008). The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. Obsidian Launch, LLC. ISBN 0981808204. 
  2. ^ James Park. "Special Report: Innovate in a Recession". U.S. News & World Report. 
  3. ^ Melissa Gasnick Cloeter. "New Decade, New Breed of Entrepreneur". NJ Star Ledger. 
  4. ^ Alex Lindahl. "Obsidian Launch: Accelerate Your Business".  "Mike Michalowicz Biography". 
  5. ^ Walter O'Brien. "Television show films episode in Lebanon Borough, gives restaurant a 'reality' check". 
  6. ^ CNBC. "Road to CES". CNBC. 
  7. ^ ABC News. "ABC News Now - Money Matters". ABC News. 
  8. ^ CNBC. "On The Money with Carmen Wong Ulrich". CNBC. 
  9. ^ Pat Croce. "Down To Business". Conde Nast Publications. 
  10. ^ "The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur". 
  11. ^ Michael O'Brien. "Believing: The Way Of The Entrepreneur". The Heights. 
  12. ^ Bruce & MG Howard. "Bruce & MG - After Their Appearance on The Big Idea". CNBC. 
  13. ^ Adam Davidson. "Entrepreneurs Reflect on Wall Street's Scary Week". National Public Radio. 
  14. ^ Maria Lemus. "Multi-millionaire to share business advice". Daily Bruin. 
  15. ^ Nate Breg. "YET event brings together students from local colleges". The Tufts Daily. 
  16. ^ Paul B. Brown. "How to Cut Costs in Bad Times (and Good)". New York Times. 
  17. ^ Linsey Knerl. "Profile: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur". American Express, OPEN. 
  18. ^ Mike Michalowicz. "Are You a Toilet Paper Entrepreneur?". CNBC. 
  19. ^ Mike Michalowicz. "Things You DON'T Need To Launch Your Business". CNBC. 
  20. ^ Christopher Steiner. "How To Take Your Business To The Next Level". Forbes Magazine. 
  21. ^ Max Chafkin. "How to Sell Your Business and Gaga Sells Gadgets". Inc. Magazine. 
  22. ^ James Park. "Where to Get Inspired". Entrepreneur Magazine. 
  23. ^ G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Vitón. "Don't Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste - The best entrepreneurs know a recession is an opportunity to reinvent themselves, their businesses, and sometimes even their industry". BusinessWeek. 
  24. ^ Erin Schultz. "A Redbox Blockerbuster". Riverhead News-Review. 
  25. ^ Megan Erickson. "Easy Money Can Kill A Small Business". CNN Money. 
  26. ^ "Genius Resources and Products for Entrepreneurs". Entrepreneur Magazine. 
  27. ^ David Port. "Become a Follow-Up Fanatic". Entrepreneur Magazine. 
  28. ^ Walter O'Brien. "Television show films episode in Lebanon Borough, gives restaurant a 'reality' check". myCentralnj. 
  29. ^ Tehani Schneider. "Morris entrepreneur shares his secrets in 'Toilet Paper'". Daily Record. 
  30. ^ "Customer service pays off for New Jersey alumnus". Virginia Tech Magazine. 
  31. ^ SBA New Jersey, SBA Honors Small business Week Winners, page 8,
  32. ^ "Birthing of Giants Program". Inc. Magazine. 
  33. ^ Executive Profile, Business Week,
  34. ^ Michael Michalowicz (March 31, 2005). "Data Forensics: In Search of the Smoking Gun". 
  35. ^ Thomson Financial Mergers & Acquisitions (March 2, 2006). "Protiviti Inc Acquires PG Lewis & Associates LLC". 
  36. ^ "About Us, Success is doing what you love". 
  37. ^ Obsidian Launch Website (Copyright 2008). "Obsidian Launch, Partnering Criteria". 

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