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Meet Ron Wayne: The Apple Cofounder Who Sold His 10% Stake In The Company For $800 In 1976

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Jordan Shepherd

When talking about Apple’s history, most people focus on cofounders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, but a third initial investor is often neglected.

Meet Ron Wayne, the man who wrote the original three-man partnership agreement between Jobs, Woz and himself.

Wayne owned ten percent of Apple Computers when the three men founded it, and he contributed the original logo design, as well as original sketches for the first Apple computer.

After a dispute with Jobs just two weeks after founding the company, Wayne sold his shares to the other founding members.

“If you had your choice between Steve Jobs and an ice cube you would nestle up to the ice cube for warmth. It was essentially his way or the highway in many of his business decisions,” Wayne says.

Wayne, now 79, sold his share of the company in 1976 for $800 — a portion of the company that would be worth in the ballpark of $40 billion. Yes, with a “b.”

Despite losing out on the unthinkable fortune, Wayne says he has no regrets.

“I made a decision that allowed me to pursue my interest. I honestly don’t regret walking away at all,” Wayne said.

“I knew the Wozniak design for a personal computer was going to be a successful product. But who could have anticipated it would be what it is today?

“If I had stayed with Apple and accepted the limitations on my philosophy of life I could have well ended up the richest man in the cemetery. I was in my 40s, these kids were whirlwinds. It was like having a tiger by the tail.”

Despite his differences with jobs, Wayne and Wozniak are still close, and Woz even wrote the forward to Wayne’s autobiography.

The man chose a path that did not lead him to a vast fortune, but he chose not to compromise his ideals to be massively rich. Is he a fool, or a commendable man?

Photo courtesy Facebook 

Jordan Shepherd

Jordan Shepherd

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