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Billionaire James Simons: Investing, Mathematics And Life

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

An interview with billionaire quantitative investor and Co-Founder of Renaissance Technologies, James Simons. In this interview James discusses his career in investing and how his work in mathematics helped him create financial models to beat the market. James also talks about his philanthropic efforts to improve the teaching of mathematics in schools.

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Billionaire James Simons: Investing, Mathematics And Life

Video Segments:

0:00 Introduction

0:08 As a child, were you good at mathematics?

1:16 Were you a talented student?

2:14 Did you want to be a mathematician?

4:00 Did you imagine yourself as a professor?

4:36 Are there often moments where all the concepts fall into place?

5:58 Berkeley and Chern

7:24 What was your point of specialisation?

10:40 Was it beauty or the chase you liked?

16:23 Did it feel like a diversion?

17:32 What do you think when your theory gets used?

18:11 Working as a government codebreaker

19:39 Why were you chosen for the job?

20:52 Getting fired

25:01 Going into money management

26:09 Starting with your father’s money

27:28 Why a two year delay in making financial models?

29:31 How complex are these financial models?

31:26 What discipline of mathematics do you use?

32:40 Why did you hire so many people with a PHD?

33:37 What is your employment criteria?

35:01 Why didn’t other mathematicians do it?

38:02 Is it hard to follow a model religiously?

38:44 Not sharing new mathematics models

39:11 Is there something about your personality that made you successful?

40:07 It was more managerial than a mathematical skill

40:52 What are you most proud off?

41:49 Would you trade your business to be the man who cracked the riemann hypothesis?

42:48 Are you a businessman or a mathematician?

45:02 Simons Foundation

45:49 How targeted are you with philanthropy?

47:36 Your philanthropy is the opposite of your business?

48:28 Your attitude to risk?

49:29 The state of mathematics?

53:46 Why the US and not Finland?

55:40 The solution

56:18 Is it not something which will correct itself?

59:28 Do you feel you’re giving something back that gave so much to you?

1:00:17 Do you have a favorite mathematician?


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