Dirkje Jansen






Not for Profit


Sep 2019 – May 2022

By Dirkje Jansen

The James Taylor effect

I am stunned awake from my deep slumber by a duality of interruptions. The combination of a stream of blinding autumn sunlight percolating through the curtains and a raging debate on TV – which I would later recognize as the never-ending Brexit discourse – was fragmenting and distorting my sluggish mind. In a BoB – bored of Brexit – disposition, I begin to gather my disorderly thoughts. What happened? Where am I? Was I dreaming?

It is Saturday and the second module of my EMBA just ended the previous day leaving a familiar trail of unprecedented impressions. Slowly I am awakening from my uncorrelated and rather dreamy reverie which seemed to have taken a random walk down “decision-tree” street. I try to recollect the elusive dream.

Woods with road

It went something like this. I seemed trapped in a maze. I was trying to model myself out of the predicament by applying some of my recently acquired skills: applying the decision tree to find my way out. I wondered through the various permutations of the branches, critically weighing the relative cons and pros of each decision. As with most dreams, the solution appeared miraculously from nowhere. Illuminated with flashy neon lights, the path to the right decision literally lit up. And it was elegant.

Fully conscious now and grinning with euphoria, I appreciate the James Taylor effect profoundly kicking in. No future decision will ever be taken without subjecting the options to decision tree test. That’s a fact.

It has been a week jam-packed with back-to-back Analytics lectures. If one might venture to suggest ‘analytics paralysis’ to describe the week, I would be inclined to concur. A marathon of 25 hours of James Taylor in five days beginning with the introduction of analytics and without warning, rapidly escalating, at breakneck speed, into the dense and complex analytical material of decision science. Without the charismatic flare of Prof James Taylor’s delivery, the lectures would have been the equivalent of physically running a marathon each of the five days without training and on bare feet – torturous and unbearable! Prof James Taylor five-days lectures were a tour de force. Demonstrating masterly of subject, he managed to unpack the complex modules into digestible bit-sizes.

Key take-aways from the decision lectures: how they are made and what influences them. As human beings, there are short cuts in our brain, routines if you like, which are invisible to us. Decisions are therefore influenced by who we are (personality), what we just heard (anchoring), what we know and where we are today (status-quo), and what we like our decision to be (confirming evidence). Hence, there are many flaws in decision making. Our personal and professional lives are largely defined by them.

And to what end do these lectures serve? Eric Schmidt amply demonstrates the purpose. In his famous quote of 2010: “There was five Exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilisation through 2003,” he proclaimed, “but that much information is now created every two days, and the pace is increasing.” In this age of data, advanced analytics is critical. One of the preeminent skills to have to survive in an age of Machine Learning, Robotics, and Artificial Intelligence, is the ability to solve-complex problems. Armed with the tools benefited over the five days Analytics, I can now sense the James Taylor effect on me.
AI numbers

To compensate your natural flaws in decision making by effectively using data from the past, to, if possible, even predict the future. That is, in a nutshell, the James Taylor effect.

I am now fully awake and focused.

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