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Jim Simons, Ph.D. and founder of Renaissance Capital is arguably the greatest investor of all-time.  Renaissance has compounded at 30% per year since 1988 including 80% returns in 2008 and a 30% return in 2010.  Amazingly, he has done this with a 44% performance fee.  Interviews with Simons are rare, but always interesting and worthwhile.  A brief overview via MIT World (thanks to Paul Kedrosky):

After his retirement in 2009, Simons got “busy as hell” with his third career. The Simons Foundation supports basic math and physics as well as autism research. Simons also wants to improve math at the high school level, by pumping money into teaching jobs so talented people don’t drift to “Google or Goldman Sachs.”

Simons says he is “always doing something new,” and doesn’t like to run with the pack. This approach, which he recommends, “gives you a chance.” Some other parting tips: collaborate with the best people you possibly can; try at problems “for a hell of a long time;” be guided by beauty; and “hope for some good luck.”

He also added some guiding principles:

  • Do something new and don’t run with the pack
  • Collaborate with great people
  • Be guided by beauty.  It’s a beautiful thing to solve problems and do things right.
  • Don’t give up.
  • Hope for some good luck.

He begins speaking at the 11:10 minute mark:

For more from Simons see the following:

Code Breakers

Simons 2009 interview

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