Hello, this is James Gray and thanks for stopping by this site.  I am a data/AI product strategist and part-time writer. My ideas emanate from a deep fusion of strategy, product and data science philosophy. I originally started this blog in 2008 to capture ideas of a journey and passion I never intended.  

As a leader at Microsoft, I saw a need to create a framework for strategically managing your career while also integrating it into your broader life.  Standalone references and ideas existed by nothing that brought these together into a holistic process.  This was the motivation to author a model in 2006 to synthesize my ideas and help members of my team craft a career strategy.

It was something that took on a life of its own and going places I never intended.  I found myself leading workshops, speaking at events and mentoring fellow colleagues all across Microsoft.  Since I was not in HR, my views were unfiltered and my content based on the complete set of personas we live beyond the workplace.  Fellow colleagues valued its authenticity and a strategic method to organizing the complexity of managing a career.

I found I had a skill of connecting with people and inspiring them to change pursue their passions.  That included saving a woman’s life, helping people make transitions inside the company and acting as a sounding board.  I quickly learned that there was nothing I was going to do in life that would be more impactful than this.

I was grateful for the opportunity to practice applying these concepts and best practices over many years with hundreds of colleagues at Microsoft.  Feedback confirmed that the key value proposition was how these concepts were “connected” into holistic model with practical examples to create career plans, enable job transitions and gain knowledge through extended networks. The intended outcome was to architect a path in life and guide daily decisions that aligned with realizing that path.


Knowledge is a vital asset to guiding our decisions and experiencing happiness and fulfillment.  It’s my belief that sharing knowledge and helping others benefit from your experiences to live a better life is a responsibility we all have. It’s one of life’s greatest gifts you will receive.

Time is a finite resource – it’s our ability to process knowledge and optimize decisions that dictates the life we live. None of us have the time to synthesize good ideas and organize them for greater meaning. The aspiration for this site is to share my ideas and those of others to shaping the strategic lens we view day-to-day life.

The “.io” of jamesgray.io is symbolic of the inputs and outputs of the mental model by which we view and react to the world around us.  

Value Prop to an Audience that Values Personal Change

My value proposition is to help people find and activate the best version of themselves.  The process below outlines how I deliver on that.

  1. Knowledge – I write about ideas and experiences that capture methods to shape mental models about how we see ourselves and engage with the world around us. My primary focus is career strategy, although my scope has extended to other strategies for living a successful and fulfilling life. I also read a lot books, blogs and content from amazing writers. These ideas are then organized and referenced to one of the seven concepts of my conceptual model.  I do the hard work of writing and organizing content that is relevant to reshaping your journey.
  2. Self-Awareness – I share content on this site, consult 1:1 and also host workshops from my home in Austin, TX to help people find their best self through readings, exercises and reflection.  My passion is getting people to push the pause button and take stock where they are. Although there is a plentiful source of self-help ideas out there, it’s this first step that is critical to deeply internalizing what these ideas mean to you.  This will set the foundation for consciously outlining how you will allocate your time and go about making decisions moving forward.  
  3. Courage – Through self-awareness and tools that I provide, I help people adjust their mental model to gain the courage they need to take action. This is where your break through the activation energy to pursue your goals and desires.
  4. Action – This is the hard work you do to activate and realize your best self. Ideas and reflection are good, but action is essential.  Most people never get to this point because they did not architect a personal strategy and have the mindset to change. 
  5. Support & Accountability – I provide a community of support and accountability through personal engagement and online collaboration tools to support your journey.  

The Quest

Many years ago I set a visualize goal to capture the essence of my quest.  I am on a journey to fill California Memorial Stadium with 63,000 people who I have connected with and shared the concepts of the conceptual model I authored.  See past stops on my quest and my progress toward achieving this goal. 

The Book?

The question I often received at Microsoft was “when is the book going to be published”?  A few people even offered to help me write it.  Yes, many of the sections are drafted and that is goal I want to achieve in the near future.  In the meantime, there is still a lot to learn and share.

Feedback from Others

See my event page where it captures photos and accolades from people I have been lucky to work and share ideas with.

Professional Profile

See Linkedin for my complete professional profile.

Master of Information and Data Science
School of Information
University of California, Berkeley

Master of Business Administration
Haas School of Business
University of California, Berkeley

Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering
Union College


Unless otherwise noted the ideas and content of this website are the copyright and ownership of James Gray.


The content, views and opinions on this website are those of James Gray and do not necessarily state or reflect those of his current or past employers.


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