John “Kanen” Flowers is a tech industry archetype. A self-styled hacker and coder, he worked for Microsoft in the early 1990s before becoming a serial entrepreneur. He created one of the Internet era’s first personalized news sites, a network security company, a company that did computer-generated special effects, and another—this time in Kansas City, not Silicon Valley—that used natural language processing to answer questions through a chatbot-like interface.
That last company flamed out, but Flowers says his interest in NLP didn’t die with it. For his current act, he’s moved to New York City and combined his fascination with NLP with what he calls “an extreme interest in the stock market.” Only this time, he’s not running a tech company. He’s running a hedge fund.