From classical music, to AI, via poker – one man’s remarkable journey

Hugo Langéen has an unusual CV. You may not have heard of him but right now he runs a small trading company called Century Analytics, which specialises in AI based ‘trading solutions’.

Hugo Langéen has straddled music, poker, and finally AI.
Hugo Langéen has straddled music, poker, and finally AI.

In other words, he makes robot IFAs. That’s not all that out there, in fact it sounds like a pretty standard post-Silicon Valley start-up. But what is strange is how he got there, because Hugo Langéen didn’t go to school to learn computer science.

He didn’t even study economics or banking. No, Hugo Langéen went to school to learn to perform on musical instruments.

And he was good. After graduating he found himself playing in the orchestra pit for the Malmö Opera. Unfortunately, being human once Langéen had made his dream job a reality, he suddenly found he needed a new dream. The artist looking for a new art.

While playing on stage, he had also started playing a different tune on his downtime, one at which he was beginning to make a bit of cash. It was poker.

His story was recently taken up by Business Insider Nordic.

Instant gratification

In poker, he found a new project to work on, something to put his impetus to improvement into. “You get instant feedback in poker (when playing online) – and there is no limit to how good you can get. You receive stats on exactly everything,” Langeen said.

This was a pleasant change from music where the feedback could be more nebulous and improvement slow.
“Being a musician is about putting extreme amounts of time into something very specific, and abstract at the same time.”

He found a new calling in poker, moving his play online and eventually going pro.

The next best thing

From there it was just a small hop from the green felt to the red ticker, as he took up day trading on the side as another outlet for the analytic and risk based skills he was learning at the card table.

Century Analytics
Century Analytics was created from the mind of a poker player and musician.

Trading began to push out poker, just like poker pushed out music, and in time he was a full time day trader. The gambler looking to gamble bigger, on the real world performance of stocks and shares not on the turn of a card.

Then came the career change no one can predict and no one can turn down. Langéen became a father. Working from home, he took on the duties of parenting and soon found that can be a full time job as well.

What he needed was an employee, someone he could outsource too. But rather than find a person, Langéen decided to do a God on this and create a helpmate for himself.

Which brings us round to Century Analytics which has got investors on board and is talking with the Swedish regulators about their license to provide Financial Services.

Maths and Music

It is in some ways surprising there isn’t more movement between the music world and poker. To play poker well one needs to have a knack for the kind of mathematical and logical thinking that you find in the kind of person who devotes their lives to creating and analysing the patterns of sound.

Mathematicians (whose demesne overlaps with that of poker players) are often music obsessives. In fact it is a common observation that if you want to put together an orchestra the place to start is the Maths department of your local university or college.

So, yes, Hugo Langéen has an unusual CV. Unusual in its way, but perhaps not completely surprising. There is a certain logic to it, maybe of the kind one of Artificial Intelligences might be able to have predicted.

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