MIB: Hunting the White Whale

How do you get the greatest hedge fund manager in recent history to talk to you?

That was the challenge facing Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman. To write his latest book, “The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution,” he needed a way to convince Jim Simons, founder of Renaissance Technologies, to speak with him. He tells us how he eventually comnvinced Simons to sit with him fo over 10 hours.

Their conversations traces Simons’ career from NSA codebreaker to Chairman at the mathematics department of SUNY Stony Brook (which he built into a national powerhouse) to the rise of Renaissance Technologies.

The crown jewel of the Renaissance hedge fund is the Medallion fund: the returns were eye-popping: from 1989 to 2018, the fund returned 66% per year. Simons soon figured out that the Medallion methodology would only scale so far, and not too long after, returned all of the assets to clients, only allowing Renaissance employees to participate in the fund. It becomes the ultimate talent attraction and retention tool.

Zuckerman is the three-time winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for business journalism, covering big trades, big firms and big personalities.   The book will be released next week on November 5th.

His favorite books can be seen here; A transcript of our conversation will be available here. My full review of “The Man Who Solved the Marketis here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras on Apple iTunesOvercastSpotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Stitcher. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.

Next week, we speak with Nobel Laureate Gene Fama and DFA founder David Booth about their 50 year relationship in the markets, streaming live from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, in a special edition of Masters in Business Live.

 

 

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