At 6-foot-6 and 12 years old, LJ Abrams pretty much knew he’d play college sports someday. What he didn’t know was that he’d eventually give up a full-ride football scholarship to start his first business.
Or that his first business would fail.
“It worked for about 18 months, and then we kind of crashed and burned when we made bad decisions that 21-year-old founders can sometimes make,” LJ says. “We spent too much cash, we lived too high on the hog, and we essentially burned through all of our operating capital making bad decisions.”
LJ adds: “I think the biggest thing I learned from the failures is what not to do. You learn that aggression is awesome, but stupidity is really bad. You learn that you can’t spend every dime that you make. And you learn that, just because it’s shiny, you don’t have to have it.”
So, what next? With football out of the picture, LJ ended up back in his hometown. Running a furniture store in Huntsville, he learned about managing people and logistics, as well as dealing with all kinds of customers. From there, he became a consultant in sales and media, taking on contract and freelance work.
Then he met four like-minded people at Urban Engine. Together, they became the five cofounders of Morph.
“I feel like we’re the poster child for what Urban Engine really is about – propelling those ideas forward,” LJ says. “Dustin (Poisson) had an idea and then he went and found a group of people who could help him accomplish his goals.”
Originally founded as an events company, Morph quickly pivoted toward being a curated acclimation service for organizations bringing new employees into the Huntsville area. LJ is now onboard full-time as CEO, leading the startup’s business strategy, sales, and marketing.
That entrepreneurial spirit, LJ says, comes directly from his grandfather, Lawrence Jeremiah (the First). And the organizational know-how is a product of his dad, Lawrence Jeremiah (the Second). Together, those different traits add up to LJ, or Lawrence Jeremiah the Third.
“I really learned a lot from my grandfather, because I spent a lot of summers with him when I was really young, before I got into all the travel ball,” LJ says. “I learned a lot of the entrepreneurial spirit from him, and my family says that I am kind of my grandfather reincarnate, but I’ve also learned a lot of ways of operating within the system from my father. So I take both of those, and that’s who I am.”