Michael Lai

Find out what you are most passionate about and try your best to incorporate that into your day-to-day work.


Michael Lai is CEO and co-founder of Sitejabber, a consumer reviews platform that has helped over 100 million consumers discover, connect and review businesses online. Sitejabber was developed in part with a grant from the National Science Foundation as a consumer protection site to help consumers get better information about companies before engaging, donating or making purchases. Michael is a product-focused entrepreneur with a passion for solving meaningful problems with technology. He finds most interesting the challenges of growing companies through innovation and scalable processes, as well as managing remote and distributed teams. He holds a B.S. from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Where did the idea for Sitejabber come from?

Sitejabber arose from the consumer need to make smarter, more informed purchases online. As it becomes easier to buy and sell over the internet, we feel that customer reviews and recommendations will be critical in helping consumers avoid scams and connect with exciting new businesses.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day consists of a quick morning workout, catching up on emails, product development, sales and marketing meetings, and then roadmap planning. I stay productive by reviewing our daily, weekly, and monthly goals at the beginning and end of each day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I work with people who believe in those ideas and whom I trust can make things happen, no matter what it takes.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m excited by the proliferation of products and services that are becoming available online. Consumers have more choices and more access to valuable services than ever before.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I strive to maintain a good work-life balance, making sure I stay healthy and spend adequate time with friends and family.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Find out what you are most passionate about and try your best to incorporate that into your day-to-day work.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Your happiness depends ultimately on the journey and not the final outcome, so just make sure you believe in and enjoy what you’re working on.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I look to see where things are headed in a month and make sure that’s somewhere I want to be. If not, I figure out what I need to change today.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Focus on having an amazing product. Trust your instincts but also listen to your most passionate users.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

At times I find myself getting too comfortable with the status quo. It’s important to challenge yourself and your team whenever the opportunity arises.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A monthly subscription service that allows new parents to receive a new shipment of age-appropriate baby products (toys, clothes, accessories, etc.) each month.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Online subscription to streaming workout videos. It allows me to work out at home whenever I have a break without wasting time going to a gym.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Trello — You can create as many to-do lists as you want and assign due dates to each task to keep you on track.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

War and Peace. I challenge anyone to read it and tell me they don’t have a profoundly deeper understanding of a broad range of people. Invaluable in both business and life.

What is your favorite quote?

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” – Warren Buffet


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