James Morel, a 38-year-old transplant from the East Coast who prefers action to talk, describes himself as a “purist entrepreneur.”
“I develop ideas,” says Morel, sitting behind a wood desk at his spartan office on Wilshire Boulevard, with views of the Hollywood Hills behind him, “but I also make those ideas happen. A lot of people say they’re visionaries. There are tons of them. But they don’t actually make it happen. I turn the smack talk into reality.”
Morel, who also runs a consulting business for other entrepreneurs, certainly has a track record. From creating successful pasta and post-card businesses and producing a celebrity reality TV show to starting a line of tattoo-removal clinics called Dr. Tattoff, Morel has turned numerous opportunities into full-fledged ventures. Naysayers never deter him.
“I always had a path of confrontation with authority figures,” says Morel. “I’ve always had people tell me, ‘You’re smart, but you don’t conform.’ That never made sense to me. It’s not about proving anyone wrong, but proving it can be done.”
One of Morel’s shining accomplishments is the publication of Pop Smear in the late 1990s, when he turned the concept of a “fanzine” into a glossy, irreverent take on celebrity and society, while also pushing artists and bands who needed the press.
These days, Morel focuses his energies on a new Web site called Lottogopher.com, where people will buy lottery tickets online and create their own office pools. “The idea of going to a gas station to buy lottery tickets seems out of date,” Morel says.
The purist entrepreneur also has other projects in the pipeline, although he’s keeping somewhat mum.
“Let’s just say I’m starting my own school,” he says. Morel smiles and pats a big folder. The preliminary work for the school has been completed, and the idea’s ready to go.