Simons remembers getting a call from Peter Brown, a co-CEO of his firm, who told him the market was down 9 percent.
"It is?" Simons remembers asking.
"No, wait a minute," Brown replied. "It's only down 8 percent."
"It is?" Simons asked again.
"No, now it's only down 7 percent," Brown said.
In those few minutes, Simons said the market dropped quickly. It moved so fast, the billionaire hedge fund manager said he didn't have time to react to the first piece of news by the time he was getting the second. His firm, however, cancelled some orders. Thinking that their trades would be broken, many hedge funds stepped away from the market in those moments of tumult.
"We stepped out for one round of up-and-down trades, but we came back," said Simons, explaining that after the specialists stepped back, the market recovered. "It showed the system was pretty robust ... in spite of the exchanges making it more difficult by having conflicting rules."
Future of Renaissance
After Simons said he was stepping down, chatter on the Street suggested that Renaissance had topped and that the firm would close two funds -- Renaissance Institutional Equities and Institutional Futures funds due to underperformance.
However Simons told us that wasn't likely. Then after our interview on Monday Renaissance sent out a letter to investors confirming that both funds would, in fact, remain open.
Read More: Renaissance Will Keep RIEF and RIFF Funds Open
Math For America
One of Jim Simons great passions is the quest to improve math and science eduaction. Because quant funds rely on complex statistical formulas Simons is very aware of America's short comings in these areas. In fact, a large percentage of the mathematicians employed by his fund come from abroad.