A lot happened in January.
- Got married to a beautiful woman
- Spent a week in Cabo
- Mostly consistent 4x/week lifting, 2x/week cardio, macro tracking. Took a macro break in Cabo.
- Name change!
- My company made its first dollar in revenue!
- Finished Beyond Code, a free technical interview training course focusing on soft skills. And then trashed it.
- Ambitious Mission has a new mission.
Cabo was awesome. It was a small wedding. The officiant, photographer, videographer, and DJ were all close friends and family, making it feel intimate and special.
The folks at Secrets were awesome. They went out of their way to make sure we had a great stay, making last-minute changes and alterations, and even going so far is to close down a restaurant for our private brunch.
Our suite was updated to the Presidential Suite at the last minute; it was huge: three patio areas, a private swimming area, private jacuzzi, living room, kitchen, dining room, office, multiple bathrooms—the works.
From Browne to Graye
Maggie and I decided to take a new last name together. As I wrote elsewhere:
What's in a name?
This past weekend, Maggie and I celebrated our union with friends and family down in San Jose del Cabo. It marked the beginning of a new chapter in our lives, and the beginning of our new family—of our own little tribe.
Our new tribe will carry a new name. We will no longer be Mase Browne or Maggie Tucker, but Mase and Maggie Graye.
This may sound strange or insensitive to some, but for me it's just another little bit of interesting flavor. My blood brothers and sisters already have many different last names—Browne, Bravo, Hall, Nepal—as do members of my chosen family—Bukantis, Decuir, Johnson, Herem, Bridges, and many more.
Maggie and I have our own reasons for this decision, but made it while also acknowledging our roots. The "Gray" name comes from one of Maggie's favorite childhood books. The "Graye" spelling variation is a nod to my own family name.
We're excited to celebrate this new and admittedly nontraditional future, and thank you for joining us on the journey.
So... now the daunting task of changing all my usernames and legal documents begins!
Beyond Code / CoderBoost
I launched a validation site to test interest in Beyond Code, which was moderate/good. However, after thinking through the growth story, I decided that I'm fundamentally not interested in selling to developers. So, after spending a month putting together both a free and paid course, I trashed the lot.
It's not that I don't like developers. It's that I don't think seasoned developers are easy to market to. The problem with smart people—who know that they're smart—is that they're loathe to ask for help. Their job, as they see it, is to solve problems. In a "build vs buy" scenario, their immediate inclination is to build.
As a developer myself, I love that spirit... but I also don't want to fight it.
One thing I did like about CoderBoost was the social mission. It wasn't just to improve the skills of software developers; it was to create opportunity for working class individuals to move up the economic ladder—especially women and minorities.
In the course of researching working class demographics, I came across some stats about America's small businesses.
Of the 28 million small businesses in the United States:
- Over half of those are owned by people over the age of 50, most whom are looking to sell their businesses as they retire over the next decade, representing a 10 trillion dollar transfer in wealth.
- Over half don't have any kind of online presence—website, advertising.
- Of the approximately 14 million small businesses that will go up for sale in the next decade, only 30% will actually sell. The rest will liquidate or simply close shop, largely due to a lack in transition planning.
- 75% are owned by people who identity as Caucasian.
- Over 60% are owned by men.
Meanwhile, we have a working class in the US that represents over 66% of our labor force, many of whom are struggling simply to earn a living wage. By 2032, the working class will be a minority-majority; over half will be people of color.
So on one hand, we have a huge population of hard-working, underpaid people, and on the other, we have a huge number of undervalued businesses closing shop, their potential value disappearing into the ether due to a lack of qualified, interested people.
That gap is opportunity worth going after.
The mission is simple: create 1,000,000 small business entrepreneurs by 2030.
How? Well... that's a post for another day. But I have an actionable roadmap.
And it begins now.