JAMES GRAY BIO

James Gray has amassed over three decades of experience across various disciplines in the technology sector. He is most respected for his product management and leadership in software and data science. Over his ten-year career at Microsoft as an IT leader, he built and operated large scale data platforms for major lines of business and led the Enterprise Data Warehouse program. His last assignment was serving as a Principal Data Scientist within an engineering team responsible for optimizing customer engagement channels includes web, chat, and online services. At Phunware, Gray envisioned and built a massive scale knowledge graph that was used to derive mobile insights and power a blockchain-enabled data exchange.

He now serves as Chief Product Officer at Products That Count , a coach and a technologist to help solopreneurs who need product and technology expertise (SideHustleTech.com). 

In 2006, he authored the Career Strategy Framework, a playbook for holistically managing a professional career. Gray gained recognition as a leading career strategist and coach that included leading workshops and speaking events throughout Microsoft. In 2019, he formed Graymatter Strategy LLC in Austin, TX to continue his practice of helping people reach their true career potential through strategy and mindset.

Earlier in his career at Aspen Technology, he built the data model and data integration platform for what was at the time the largest integrated supply chain optimization solution in the world at BP Chemicals. He had roles at AspenTech running a professional services organization and leading enterprise integration products as a product manager.

In the 1990s, Gray gained experience in software, control systems, and enterprise systems at the Research and Technology Center within Chevron. He held various assignments across the upstream, refining, and chemical businesses. Gray led the technology strategy and deployment of advanced safety systems across Chevron including a project assignment in Perth, Australia that developed the software for Chevron’s North West Shelf Project.

He holds a Master of Information and Data Science from the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering from Union College.

Gray has traveled the world and lived in top tech cities including Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin.

See his LinkedIn profile for a full summary of his experience and achievements.

James Gray

ORIGINS STORY – WHY I DO WHAT I DO

In 2007, I was selected as a top 3% candidate for Microsoft’s High Potential Career Development program. While gaining valuable experience in developing my career, I often thought about the potential impact at stake by tapping into the creative talent and spirit of the 97% that did not have the same opportunity. As a leader, I learned that developing talent and aligning it with the needs of the organization had an incredible multiplier effect. I authored a career methodology called the “Career Strategy Framework” after not finding a holistic blueprint for my work and personal life. Over many years, I was allowed to run career workshops and speak at events using this career framework.

As a father of five, one of the most important gifts I can give my children is the perspective and tools to shape their work-life. This includes choosing a career where they can excel and lessons I learned over 30 years of my career and personal life. This wisdom, together with the philosophies of Stoicism, Minimalism, and Essentialism, form the mental model through which I write. It will serve as their guidebook as they navigate their career and life.

The last number of years have tested my resolve – the death of my parents within three weeks of each other, a cross-country relocation, grad school, a divorce, kids that now live in different cities, depression, anxiety, and job loss. What I can confidently say is that these are times that accelerate personal growth and self-awareness. During the struggle, it’s hard to imagine it but it does produce a better version of yourself when you reach the other side. It does not happen overnight but with the right mindset and consistent focus, anything is possible. Each obstacle or setback presents a golden nugget of goodness waiting to be found. It’s there – you just need to have the mindset and spirit to find it.

If you are someone that relates to any of those life’s challenges, then I may be a valuable resource to you. Given my deep experience in the software and data fields, I would be an optimal fit for people in the technology sector. Although I have worked with dentists, lawyers, law enforcement, musicians, and college students!

See the full origins story of why the gift of giving to others unconditionally can be life-changing.

See my testimonials – get a perspective from other people that have attended my workshops, events, and coaching sessions!

I look forward to hearing from you!

– James

COMPETITIES & EXPERIENCES

Product Management

Chief Product Officer (CPO) at Products That Count, Director of Product at Phunware, IT Solution Management at Microsoft, Director of Product Management @ Aspen Technology.

20+ years of experience in building products and driving go-to-market activities to grow market share. 

Leadership

Won multiple awards at Microsoft for people leadership. Managed product management team of 50+ people with indirect responsibility of 200+ engineers. Held consulting P&L roles of 10M+. Deep experience in strategic planning and overseeing execution.

Coaching

Extensive experience running career workshops over 7+ years at Microsoft. Acted as a mentor and coach to hundreds of Microsoft colleagues.

See testimonials for more information.

Data Platforms

While at Phunware, I shaped the evolution of our data platform using cutting edge technology including a 1 billion mobile device knowledge graph and a data exchange for targeted advertising.

At Microsoft, I ran the Enterprise Data Warehouse program and managed a $50M budget for data platforms that ran the company.

Data Science

As a data scientist at Microsoft, I used data to optimize customer support experiences using online experiments. This was an experience to measure the UX at scale and use data to objectively inform the product features we deployed into prod.

I earned a master’s degree in Data Science at UC Berkeley and won the top capstone project at graduation.

IT Operations

As an IT leader at Microsoft, I envisioned, built and operated data analytics platforms that were critical to operations across the company. I also led projects for the partner.microsoft.com platform that managed engagement with Microsoft’s global partner ecosystem.

Through running IT, I gained expertise in mission-critical systems to service a global user base. 

Technology Consulting

At AspenTech, I ran a practice delivering software solutions to manufacturing clients. During this role, I led a team that developed the data platform for the largest chemical supply chain optimization solution.

Deploying products in the field reinforced how to use services to fill gaps in product-market fit and contribute ideas to the product team.

Software Engineering

I have hands-on experience developing software with Python, R, SQL, Java, .NET, HTML and JavaScript.

Experience as a developer has shaped how I articulate product requirements and collaborate with teams that build, test and support my products.

Personality / Behavior Types

Myers-Briggs

ENTJ: Natural leaders and organization builders – conceptualize and theorize readily and translate possibilities into plans to achieve short-term and long-term objectives.

Source: Myers & Briggs Foundation

Extended DISC

C-Style: Analytical, detailed, exact, systematic, cautious, thorough, private, logical.

Source: Extended DISC

Enneagram

Type 3 – The Achiever: effective, competent, adaptable, goal-oriented, ambitious, organized, diplomatic, charming, into performance, and image-conscious.

Source: Discovering Your Personality Type by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

Philosophies and Ideas I believe in

Growth Mindset

Approach life by embracing the will to learn and grow by developing talents and abilities

Stoicism

My favorite ideas and book:

  • Learning to want and love the things we already have
  • Focus on what you can control
  • Negative visualization – all things everywhere are perishable
  • Embracing the reality that our days are numbered

Minimalism

Less is more.

The beauty of simplicity. 

The freedom of having minimal belongings and dependencies.

Personal Motto

“Anything is possible – act on what you can control – focus and persistence turn dreams into results”

My Heroes

I am inspired by the people below as heroes that represent unique philosophies and characteristics. 

Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers

James Bond

James Bond

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss

Marshall Goldsmith

Marshall Goldsmith

Robert Greene

Robert Greene

Tara Brach

Copyright

Unless otherwise noted the ideas and content of this website are the copyright and ownership of Graymatter Strategy LLC.

Disclosure

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.