Our data-scientist, or maybe better said data-magician Robbert Teixeira has his roots in beautiful Curacao. In this spotlight he takes us on a journey in his own original way into a story where his "head & heart" embrace each other in a beautiful symbiosis.
17th of June 2010. My mom just turned 50. This was the day I graduated high school and knew it was the end of a chapter in my life. A moment where I had to make a decision to move away from my family, from the nice warm weather, from the pristine turquoise beaches where the Caribbean Sea runs into the perfectly white sand. This place where sometimes my colleagues go on vacation. They tell me they are going for a couple of weeks to Curacao, I tell them to enjoy my home.
Fast forward 10 years, to be more precise, 17th of June 2020, I get a call from the same person that had turned 50 back then when I graduated. Life is different now, I am far away, I’m not 17 anymore (yes, I’m 27) and she just turned 60. But instead of getting the chance of singing happy birthday, I hear that my auntie just passed away. We all know the C-word takes a lot of lives, but whenever it visits your own family it hits hard. The difference is that now I did not have family around me to talk to.
Let’s hit pause and rewind. 3rd of March 2015 I start at this company called Districon. A bit more than 5 years ago – 1936 days from today (the birthyear of my grandfather. Yes, I have a thing for dates and numbers). My first job right after I had finished my Master in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics at Tilburg University. As a 22-year-old I had to learn a lot and Districon provided me the best platform for this learning curve.
But the five years I have been working at Districon provided me with much more than just work experience. Some colleagues slowly became buddies.
Fast forward back to today. My family is far away - 7848 km from where I’m sitting writing this article – I remember opening my laptop to check Microsoft Teams (Covid-19, hence the home office) to reach out to some colleagues. Before I even start typing I get a chat message: “Good morning man, how are you doing?”. My family is not here, but at this company, I met friends.
So, hopefully by now I still have your attention – or totally lost it – either way, let’s proceed with the story.
My experiences: Where there is data there is a supply chain to improve.
5 years is a lot of time for a young professional. To put this into perspective 19.1% of my life I have worked at Districon. And in these 5 years I have made a lot of experiences.
What I like most is working with people that love numbers as much as I do. The Romans picked a date and called it datum, nowadays almost every company gathers these points of information we call data and store them in this candy shop called a database.
My colleagues and I use these data points as input and build logic around it. Then this logic is again translated to improved processes for the clients we work for. I would even risk being arrogant in making the statement that we do a good job. I mean, when I started 5 years ago the analytics team - Districon Solutions, consisted of 10 people. Now we have grown to become a team of 31: It’s heavily implied…
…and also, amazing. This growth has led me to visit different countries, to work with different clients, travel to several cities and gather experiences in new processes. Then I go back to the office with a huge box full of Lego pieces (yes, I’m referring to data) and I get to break the process and rebuild it with my colleagues.
The essence of our job is highlighted every time we optimize a process using data and it becomes clear that without changing anything, but just by combining data and mathematics, the process becomes 5 - 10% more efficient.
The best part of it is being able to work with a team of like-minded people that get my data pun jokes (nuanced version: every week approximately 1 out of my 67 jokes lands properly and we all have a good laugh – let us ignore the other 66).
Vision for the future
Where do we go from now? Yes, the world is changing, becoming more digital, and every company is gathering data. But the truth is that most companies do not even pick the low hanging fruit of this data: visualizing the structural shortcomings to act upon them. Let alone using this data to mathematically optimize their processes. You won’t hear me complaining about that: more puzzles to solve! But most importantly it means there will be a lot of time for me to optimize my (data)jokes.
Which colleague will be in the spotlight next?
Three weeks ago, a new floor was laid where I live. I made an Excel file, contacted some friends to help me. Long story short: my living room became my bedroom, office, and kitchen for 2 weeks. There must have been a more efficient way to do this. I think I should have contacted colleague Ed Slegtenhorst. Legend has it that he doesn’t migrate databases, but legit, physical things. I guess he can explain it better than I can. Ed, take it over from here. They’re all yours now.