THE ROLE THAT data will play in defining and transforming industries over the next decade is evident. Whether it’s reinventing the practice of farming or redefining the role of a retailer, data drives the revolution. The stories in Part 1 of this book were chosen because they demonstrate early signs of the data revolution. However, there are countless other industries and businesses that will also lead, be impacted by, or suffer from the data revolution. The purpose of Part 2 is to help prepare anyone, in any business, for the coming revolution.

The science of pattern recognition has been explored for hundreds of years, with the primary goal of optimally extracting patterns from data or situations, and effectively separating one pattern from another. Applications of pattern recognition are found everywhere, whether it’s categorizing disease, predicting outbreaks of disease, identifying individuals (through face or speech recognition), or classifying data. In fact, pattern recognition is so ingrained in many things we do, we often forget that it’s a unique discipline which must be treated as such if we want to really benefit from it.

According to Tren Griffin, a prominent blogger and IT executive, Bruce Dunlevie, a general partner at the venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, once said to him, “Pattern recognition is an essential skill in venture capital.” Griffin elaborates the point Dunlevie was making that “while the ...

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