Meet the Analyst: James Combrink

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Incline’s tagline  “Driven by Data. Powered by Genius.” encapsulates what’s best about Incline. As well using the latest analytical methods and tools, our analyst team works with our clients to help them grow their businesses. This month we’re meeting James Combrink.

Who are you?

James. Feminist. BLM supporter. Advocate of basic Living Wages within South Africa. The drastic failings in South Africa which foster generational poverty are in dire need of exploration and sharing. In 2020 a Living Wage to afford a basic nutritional intake plus basic expenses is R6,700. This is more than double the minimum wage for the workforce.

What’s your background?

My entire academic background is from UCT – from beginning undergrad in actuarial science and gradually shifting to statistics, culminating in a Masters in Advanced Decision Sciences and Analytics. It was the full year dedicated to a single project in the Masters dissertation which made me finally accept the need to move away from academia.

How long have you worked at Incline?

It’s been over 3 years now. Enjoyable work environment, but as my first job I get the feeling I don’t fully appreciate the culture and corporate (some year) is going to be a shock to the system!

How are you currently helping clients?

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half” – John Watamaker (1838-1922), a marketing pioneer in the USA approached advertising with a scientific methodology. Incline aims to solve this problem with its three specialisations:


  • Media and Marketing – Intelligent advertising, through empirical data and tailored models.
  • Reporting and Automation – Understanding the process flow of projects, and delivering key insights to relevant stakeholders… Automation is one of the more critical tools available – saving analyst time being the obvious advantage, however, the key advantage is human error mitigation.
  • Analytical Consulting – Data oriented solutions, ensuring tailored engagement to a client’s needs as opposed to templated solutions.

What new way of working/insight about data analytics has incline taught you?

Modelling must to be tailored towards the data available. The data will determine the range modelling approaches available. Always start with the basics first.

Any advice for new analysts starting in the field?

Understand the theory, and the expected outcome of a model before jumping in. This enables you, as an analyst, to quickly identify an anomaly and either explain it should it be a facet of the data, or correct it should you have had an oversight in your data understanding.

You can find out more about Incline at our website here and how James helped a bank form a cash displacement strategy here