‘Third founder’ Ron Wayne pulled out of Apple after 2 weeks; stake would be worth $23 billion today

“In 1976, Ronald Wayne decided to pull out of his friends’ computer company after two weeks, fearing he could be saddled with debts if it failed,” Nick Allen reports for The Telegraph.

“After drawing up the original contract for the firm and designing its logo [‘It was a terrible logo for the modern world and I knew that at the time’], he withdrew his 10 per cent stake and walked away with $1,500 (£975),” Allen reports. “Speaking from his home in a remote desert town near Death Valley, Nevada, the little known ‘third founder’ of electronics giant Apple said he has no regrets.”

“Mr Wayne, 75, relinquished a stake that would now be worth around £15 billion [US$23.07 billion] and lives on a state pension and deals in old stamps and coins to supplement his income,” Allen reports. “Meanwhile, his two former friends Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, joined the ranks of the super-rich. Jobs is still chairman and CEO with a personal fortune estimated at more than £3 billion [US$4.61 billion].”

“He met Jobs while working at Atari in California before drawing up an agreement which gave Jobs and Wozniak each a 45 per cent each of their new Apple computer venture,” Allen reports. “Mr Wayne said Jobs asked him to take 10 per cent so he could be a ‘tiebreaker’ between the other two if necessary. He was chosen because they believed he would be ‘balanced and reasonable.’ But within two weeks Mr Wayne wanted out and decided to give up his share.”

Allen reports, “He has remained in intermittent touch with his two former partners and last saw Jobs five years ago. Mr Wayne said: ‘He had a computer show and invited me. He paid the plane fare and I was VIP, front row. We met Woz and the three of us had lunch. I’m pleased for them. Whatever Steve Jobs has achieved he deserves it. He worked hard for it.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ouch. Ron’s financial advisor’s intitials must have been L.G.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “MCCFR” for the heads up.]

43 Comments

  1. Haha, nice to see that somebody else made a mistake too. I had to decide 9 years ago if I wanna loose 40000 dollars or be a millionaire and guess what…At least I have 3 friends that always remember to thank me for making them millionaires.

  2. Bad decision. I feel sorry for him, but not that sorry. He was worried that he would owe more money cause they needed to borrow. He decided to pull out and force the Steves to borrow even MORE!

    He could have bought shares at any time in the last 25 years and made out like a bandit.

  3. “I wish Steve and Woz would make sure his twilight years are comfortable for him! And they probaly have.” -hotinplaya.

    They do not appear to have done that if he supplements his pension by selling stamps and coins.

  4. He once owned 10% of Apple. Back when 10% was worth $1500. Once Apple went public, his share would have been much less than 10% of the company.

    Woz once owned 45% of Apple. He stayed with the company. Ron Wayne, if he stayed with Apple back then could be worth just over 22.2% of what Woz is worth now. I don’t know what Woz is worth, but I do know that 22.2% of what Woz is worth now is nowhere near 23 billion dollars. It’s probably just enough to be a little more comfortable in his old age.

    Even Steve Jobs, with all the money he’s made elsewhere, is only worth about 4.5 billion dollars. 22.2% of that is only 1 billion dollars.

    The Telegraph sure knows how to embellish a story.

  5. I hate this speculation crap. Time lines play out because of the actions of the participants. If he had stayed on everything we see today would be different – better? worse? Whose to say? But thinking he’d be worth 23 billion is a rapid walk down fantasy lane.

    From the read it sounds like this guy’s life is quite simple and stress-less. You can’t put a price on that reality – just ask SJ

  6. Risk is a hard thing to live with. At the time the whole of Apple was worth $15,000. Wayne was the only one with any real skin in the game. He was early forties, had some assets. The Steves had knowledge and enthusiasm, which they would not lose if the enterprise failed. Wayne would have been on the hook for the money. He sold his contribution way too cheap. OTOH, there are lots of folks with $50,000 (more like todays dollars) to invest. The Steves are very few and far between. Finding the opportunity to run with them is the dream of a lifetime for us drones.

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