37: Surge: How to Spot and Ride Trend Waves

“Being in the right place at the right time isn’t about fate, or worth, or karma, or tiny green Irish men. Luck is about deliberate action. There is no magic bullet to timing the market. We can’t get it perfectly right, but we can improve the odds.”

—Mike Michalowicz, Surge: Time the Marketplace, Ride the Wave of Consumer Demand, and Become Your Industry’s Big Kahuna

I always have a blast talking with Mike Michalowicz—Mike is the author of several business books, one of which—Profit First—completely changed how I handle my expenses and banking. But alas, today we’re talking about his latest book, Surge, on how entrepreneurs can make their own luck by learning to spot trend waves and ride them effectively, and when to “dump” a wave as it’s about to crash upon the shore.

Be sure to also check out the interview Mike did with me on pivoting a business to Profitability.


Mike Michalowicz is the entrepreneur behind three multimillion dollar companies and is the author of Surge: Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan and what BusinessWeek deemed the entrepreneur’s cult classic, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. Mike is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal and the former business makeover specialist on MSNBC. Today Mike travels the world as entrepreneurial advocate. 


  • The SURGE process (a surfing analogy)

  • “You don’t get to make the waves, you just get to ride them.”

  • The biggest mistake most entrepreneurs make when paddling after waves

  • How to effectively spot swells in the distance and find the best set to ride

  • How to avoid becoming a “Bob” – people who go out into the ocean bobbing on their surfboard, never actually riding the waves

  • How to match the pattern and speed and direction of a trend wave

  • When to move from exerting energy to capturing energy

  • What to do when the wave ends; how to spot the crash and pivot, dump the wave

  • The trap of looking too far out

  • How to pick which set to ride when you have multiple ideas or options

  • Why micro-niches are where the best ridable waves are.

  • The buzzword to listen for that indicates an industry is about to fade out or be replaced

  • Handling success: are you prepared?

  • Why the founder of the cronut decided not to scale by franchising his business

  • Why it is pointless to try to outdo the competition

  • “Pursue different, not better.”


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