James Gray

Hi, I’m James Gray

Since 2006, I have been researching the intersection of life, career and business in a context where people thrive personally and professionally. I was curious about how to manage an amazing career while also thriving in my personal life. As leader, I believed that setting a culture to maximize the fit between the needs of the business and talent could provide competitive leverage. When I did not find a playbook, I became a writer and speaker on the topic of career strategy. I authored the Career Strategy Framework and proved the impact of this model at one of the largest software companies in the world.

It may see odd that someone who leads teams, builds software products and predicts the future would be relevant to demistifying how to master your work life. The framework includes many time-tested strategies from a product and business perspective that are applied to the most important product of your life – you. The concepts of design, experimentation, positioning and competitive strategy are woven through the framework. Given that our work life cannot be completely separated from our personal life, the framework also includes philosophies for living a good life.

My mission is simple – help people save valuable time in becoming a master strategist of their career to experience impact, happiness and a life of few regrets.

Design and Travel Your Unique Career Path

These products encapsulate my ideas that I share freely to help you shape your career direction.

Career Strategy Framework

The Career Strategy Framework is a model and practical playbook to help you design and travel a unique career path at any stage in life. It’s a collection of strategies to manage your career end-to-end.

Read the framework overview that summarizes the what, why and for who.


My blog is a running journal of posts that relate to concepts in the Career Strategy Framework.

These posts provide conscise, directive-style content with podcast audio and references for further self-study.

Book List

My ever-growing book list with links to personal notes provide you with curated references that I recommend to shape your career strategy and life.

Reading books are an effective method to gain perspective and shape how you choose to live life.

Career Strategy Podcast

The Career Strategy Coach podcast is a collection of narrated blog posts and other content that share the key ideas and examples applying the Career Strategy Framework.

Listen to podcast episodes on my site, within a blog post or a variety of podcast platforms.


Since 2006 from my early days at Microsoft, I have been helping people shape their careers. I am the founder of Graymatter Strategy LLC that provides consulting to help people put the ideas of the Career Strategy Framework into practice or support unique career needs. With extensive technology and side-hustle experience, I also help people get their small business up and running.

1:1 Strategy Coaching

One-on-one consulting to help students and professionals design or change their career direction. Assistance includes (but not limited to):

  • leading people through the career framework to produce a personalized career strategy with action plans.
  • providing feedback on written personal plans, transition strategies, reducing friction to your move closer to your architected path.
  • serving as listener and coach to create accountability.
  • assistance designing marketing resources (e.g. resumes, LinkedIn profiles, web sites).

Small Business Strategy and Tech

I believe everybody should have a side-hustle business to control their destiny, develop skills and fuel another income stream.

I can provide consulting to:

  • design a business model based on the Business Model Generation framework and other time-tested competitive strategy
  • design product or service positioning to help clearly communicate your value proposition
  • recommend technology and tools such as content creation, marketing, communication and collaboration to enable your small business

Speaker at a Career Event

I have been a guest speaker at in-person and webcast career events hosted by Microsoft, the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and local communities.

If you have an event where professionals could benefit from a comprehensive and practical career framework, please contact me by email.

See my past events for examples and event feedback.

Team Workshop

I have worked with many teams during my tenure at Microsoft where managers and professionals struggled how to formulate and communicate a career strategy. I have seen how indiviuals can thrive pursuing their direction while managers deliver impact by aligning talent with the needs of the business.

I host small work teams or groups of people (see my Airbnb Experience) at my residence in Austin, TX on the weekends.