Microsoft founder Bill Gates has offered up his annual letter for 2013, focusing on the integral role data and measurement can play in impacting poverty around the globe.

"... In the past year I have been struck again and again by how important measurement is to improving the human condition," Gates said, referencing The Most Powerful Idea in the World, a book by William Rosen that considers the importance of ongoing measurement to the successful development of the steam engine.

"You can achieve amazing progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal-in a feedback loop similar to the one Rosen describes," Gates adds.

The letter provides several examples of effective measurement and its impacts around the world, like increased vaccine coverage for children in Mozambique, the eradication of polio in India and effective teacher evaluation in Eagle County, Colo.

An article from Mashable's Zoe Fox finds 10 key takeaways in this year's missive from Gates:

1. Pick the Right Measures

2. Establish Clear and Concrete Goals

3. Learn from Success Cases

4. Maternal Health Has Improved

5. Accurate Measurements are Crucial

6. Every Case Counts

7. Technology Brings Accountability

8. Feedback Breeds Success

9. We Can Only Move Forward

10. Challenges Are Still Ahead

Photo caption: Margarida Matsinhe with medical staff and patients at a health center in Maputo, Mozambique. Photo credit: Gates Foundation