Over the years I've noticed that the importance of algorithms and data tends to shift back and forth, depending on which at the time is hardest to duplicate (often from a business perspective). This effect seems to be caused by the availability or demand of one side increasing or decreasing, shifting the balance of importance to the other. At one point the world of software was dominated by the proprietary. The organization with the best software (backend, algorithms, etc) was the dominant entity and data (from say, a Web 2.0 perspective) was generally not the focus. This may have partly been the responsibility of a mindset formed during an era with very little storage space and before mass user activity on the Web.
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