What Is Data Mining and Why Do It?
In the first edition of this book, the first sentence of the first chapter began with the words, “Somerville, Massachusetts, home to one of the authors of this book…” and went on to tell of two small businesses in that town and how they had formed learning relationships with their customers. One of those businesses, a hair braider, no longer braids the hair of the little girl. In the years since the first edition, the little girl grew up, and moved away, and no longer wears her hair in cornrows. Her father, one of the authors, moved to nearby Cambridge. But one thing has not changed. The author is still a loyal customer of the Wine Cask, where some of the same people who first introduced him to cheap Algerian reds in 1978 and later to the wine-growing regions of France are now helping him to explore the wines of Italy and Germany.
Decades later, the Wine Cask still has a loyal customer. That loyalty is no accident. The staff learns the tastes of their customers and their price ranges. When asked for advice, the response is based on accumulated knowledge of that customer's tastes and budgets as well as on their knowledge of their stock.
The people at the Wine Cask know a lot about wine. Although that knowledge is one reason to shop there rather than at a big discount liquor store, their intimate knowledge of each customer is what keeps customers coming back. Another wine shop could open across the street and hire a staff of expert oenophiles, ...