This man sold 10% stake in Apple now worth over $95 billion for just $800

Ronald Wayne

This man sold shares worth over $95 billion for just $800&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspTwitter

Key Highlights

  • Wayne provided administrative oversight and documentation for the new venture
  • While both Jobs and Wozniak were young and broke, Wayne had assets, including a house.
  • Merely twelve days after he joined the venture, Wayne took himself out of the equation and sold his 10% share back to Jobs and Woz

New Delhi: Imagine you have 10% shares of a company that is just starting out and is not even public yet and you sell it all for just Rs 60,000 only to realise that it values over Rs 7.2 lakh crore now! Sounds insane right? Well, this is not an imagination for someone. Most of you must know the company Apple and its co-founder Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. But, do you know there was another co-founder Ronald Wayne, a retired American electronics industry businessman, who co-founded the tech giant as a partnership with Wozniak and Jobs.

Who is Ronald Wayne?

Wayne provided administrative oversight and documentation for the new venture. According to an episode of CNBC’s “The Filthy Rich Guide, Wayne joined Wozniak and Jobs, who were 21 and 25 at the time, to provide the company with “adult supervision”, in exchange for a 10 per cent stake in the business.

In 1976, he drew up an agreement outlining each man’s responsibilities and made his role with Apple official. Most people might not know that Wayne drew Apple’s first logo, which was used for less than a year before being replaced by the one associated with the company today. After spending just 12 days with Wozniak and Jobs, Wayne had his name taken off the contract and sold his shares back to his co-founders for $800.

Why sell 10% stake for 800$?

Today, owning 10 per cent of Apple sounds like a dream. So, why did Wayne sell his share? The businessman told Business Insider once that during initial days Apple, Jobs had taken out a $15,000 loan so he could buy supplies to fulfil Apple’s first contract. The contract was with a Bay Area computer store called The Byte Shop, which had ordered around 100 computers.

The store was notorious for failing to pay its bills and this worried Wayne. He told the publication he was worried that Apple wouldn’t be able to recoup the money and that any debts incurred by the business would fall on him. His concern was not unnecessary as at that time while both Jobs and Wozniak were young and broke, Wayne had assets, including a house.

He feared the if the deal went south, the financial burden would fall on him. So, twelve days later, he took himself out of the equation and sold his 10% share of the company back to Jobs and Wozniak for $800. A year later, he accepted a final $1,500 to forfeit any potential future claims against the company. His total return out of Apple was $2,300

Loss: Sure! Regret: Nah!

Wayne’s decision to leave the start-up cost him big because today, a 10 per cent stake in Apple would be worth over $95 – $100 billion. Apple share price as of today on Nasdaq is $318. This means that had Wayne kept his stock in the company, he would have been one of the richest people in the world right now. While most of you must think that he must have regretted his decision, the truth is completely different. 

Wayne told BI that he doesn’t regret his decision, mostly because he knows he wouldn’t have thrived at Apple. He was quoted saying, “I would wind up in the documentation department shuffling papers for the next 20 years. He told the daily that he felt out of place at Apple like he was “standing in the shadow of intellectual giants.”

Talking about his 12-day stint with the company, he told Cult of Mac, “I was 40 and these kids were in their 20s. They were whirlwinds — it was like having a tiger by the tail. If I had stayed with Apple I probably would have wound up the richest man in the cemetery.” 

When Apple went public in December 1980, Jobs and Wozniak became instant millionaires. Wayne obviously fared less well financially. However, he got on with his life without complaining. In a chat with Cult of Mac, he said, “The reason I didn’t is very simple,” Wayne said. “Should I make myself sick over the whole thing, in addition to everything else that’s going on? It didn’t make any sense. Just pick yourself up and move on. I didn’t want to waste my tomorrows bemoaning my yesterdays. Does this mean I’m unemotional and don’t feel the pain? Of course not. But I handle it by going on to the next thing. That’s all any of us can do.”

While selling his 10% stake is something that he does not regret, there is one thing he does regret.

Original Apple contract:

Wayne told the Cult of Mac that he regrets not keeping his original Apple contract with him. Actually, Wayne kept his original Apple contract from 1976 for years. However, in the early 90s, he sold it for $500. According to “The Filthy Rich Guide,” in 2011, that contract sold at auction for $1.59 million.

“I had this Apple contract sitting in my filing cabinet, covered in dust and cobwebs, and I thought, ‘What do I need to hold onto that for?’” he was quoted saying.

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