Data, not software, paves the road to riches
This is an interesting article.
I would also add that data is the only long-term competitive advantage. With any product you want a positive feedback effect; each new sale should increase the value of the product. Amazon do this beautifully with their recommendation engine and on site reviews. Each sale contributes to these tools increases Amazon’s competitive advantage. eBay derive a similar benefit from the reputations of their buyers and sellers.