Most high-tech geniuses wait until college to drop out of school and start companies. Hank Asher didn't make it through high school. He also didn't start programming until the 1990s, after running a painting business and, briefly, smuggling drugs.
He created software used for "data fusion," integrating databases and mining them. He started and sold two data companies, Database Technologies and Seisint, and was trying to turn around a third, TLO, when he died. Among his products were AutoTrack, Accurint and Matrix, a data-mining tool used by law enforcement.
Asher also fought against child pornography, and contributed to relief work in Haiti. He was 61.