A lot of people know of Steve Wozniak, one of the cofounders of Apple. Even more recognizable is Steve Jobs, the late cofounder and former CEO of Apple Inc AAPL.
But few know the story of Ronald Wayne, 87, the third cofounder of Apple with Wozniak and Jobs in 1976.
Wayne joined Apple to provide Jobs and Woz with "adult supervision.," according to a report from CNBC. Wayne had experience from Atari, where he met Jobs and Woz.
Jobs and Woz, who were 21 and 25, respectively, at the time, knew they needed someone on the team with business knowledge and Wayne was that guy. Wayne drafted up responsibilities for the early team members and agreed to help Apple for an exchange of 10% of the company. CNBC covered the Wayne/Apple saga in an episode of its original series "The Filthy Rich Guide."
Why Did He Leave? Wayne’s stint at Apple did not last very long. Jobs and Woz were both young and broke, and Wayne saw the pair had nothing to lose. Conversely, Wayne had a house, car and other assets. Wayne was worried that any debts that Apple accrued would end up falling on him, according to the CNBC report.
So, after 12 days with the company, Wayne had his name taken off the contract and sold his 10% stake in Apple back to Woz and Jobs for a measly $800.
Earlier this week, shares of Apple hit $182.86, making the company the first publicly-traded company to reach a $3-trillion market cap. This would make Wayne’s 10% stake worth $300 billion.
For reference, $300 billion would make Wayne one of, if not the, richest men in the world. Elon Musk, Tesla Inc's TSLA CEO, has an estimated net worth just north of $300 billion.
Another Mistake: While Wayne has publicly said that he doesn’t regret his decision to leave Apple, he does say he made one mistake.
For many years, Wayne kept his original contract from Apple. In the early 1990s, Wayne sold that contract for $500. Not bad for a piece of paper, right?
Well, in 2011 that same contract sold for more than $1 million, outlined in the episode of the "Filthy Rich Guide." Despite the money Wayne left on the table, his positive outlook on his past is more than admirable.
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