Data mining is the current hot topic in high-tech industries, and you can hardly enter a tech conference or join a serious conversation about software without hearing that term—or its partner, data analytics—all around you. The ability to discover new and meaningful information from data seems to have taken over the enterprise mindset, as companies stumble over each other in their rush to offer their customers data analytics and mining.
One of the most common uses of enterprise-related data mining is for retail companies to find out more about you, the consumer. Companies want to learn as much as they can about you to sell more things to you. They want to find out what you like, what you are most likely to buy, who else is like you, when you buy things, and what payment methods you use to buy things. It’s pretty scary stuff at times.
But why let the retail companies have all the fun and advantage? Wouldn’t you want to know the same things about yourself? If you’re like me and have been using email for a number of years, you have probably accumulated thousands to tens of thousands of messages. That’s quite a treasure trove of information about yourself, which, as you might have guessed by now (if you hadn’t already done so just by reading the title of the chapter) we’re going to mine for precious, precious information about you and your emailing habits (Figure 5-1).
So how do we do it? Here’s the plan, and it’s quite straightforward: ...