Chapter 14

Showing Your Data Who’s Boss

In This Chapter

arrow Picking and choosing data

arrow Recycling variables

arrow Consolidating data

A beauty expert told a story about a sought-after makeup artist, whose ability to make people look their best attracts a slew of celebrity clients. She explained that, if this makeup artist spent an hour with a client, 50 minutes was devoted to preparation, carefully cleaning the skin, moisturizing, and taking other steps to lay the groundwork for excellent results. As a data miner, you, too, will devote most of your time to preparation. Your effort will be rewarded, because good data preparation lays the groundwork for excellent data-mining results.

Data preparation takes time and patience. Many people spend much more time than necessary to do their data preparation, or get poor results, because they have never had the patience to devote time to mastering data-mining skills. Poor data preparation skills can cause failure to build an effective predictive model (perhaps while your competitor succeeds) and waste hours, even days, of valuable time on each project.

If you want to become an outstanding data miner, make routine investments of your own time and patience ...

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