Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are often known as the founding duo of Apple. However, not everyone knows that in fact, when the company was founded, there was also a third co-founder. That’s Ronald Wayne.
On April 1, 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak entered the home of Ronald Wayne, an engineer they had worked with at the Atari game company. Together they founded Apple, signed a partnership contract, in which 90% of the company’s shares were divided equally between Jobs and Wozniak.
Wayne holds the remaining 10% of the shares, acting as a mediator should Jobs and Wozniak ever come into conflict. At that time, Wayne was 40 years old, Jobs was 21 years old and Wozniak was 26 years old. Wayne also designed the first logo for Apple, but it was replaced by the half-eaten apple a year later.
However, just 12 days later, Wayne decided to leave the company even though he thought Apple would achieve great success despite the many challenges it may face. Having suffered a loss in business, falling into poverty for two years, Wayne was concerned about the price he had to pay when the company failed.
In a 2013 interview, Wayne said: “I have a house, a car, money and need to take care of my family.”
After starting the company, Jobs took out a loan of $15,000 to buy supplies needed for his first computer contract with The Byte Shop. But according to Wayne, the company once stole money and that worried him. If the money they borrowed is not repaid, things will go awry.
“I’m not young anymore while the two of them are like hurricanes. I can’t keep up with them,” Wayne said. He then withdrew from the company and sold his shares for $1,500.
According to Inc., after many dilutions and IPOs, Wayne’s initial 10% stake will be equivalent to 2.5% today. With Apple’s market capitalization approaching $3 trillion, Wayne may have owned up to $75 billion and been on the list of the world’s richest billionaires.
Even so, Wayne said he does not regret the decision in the past. “As a software engineer, the last thing I want to do is sit in my office, grappling with paperwork for the next 20 years,” he said.
All Wayne knew at the time of Apple’s founding was that he was teaming up with two inexperienced entrepreneurs to launch a business project in an unknown field.
Moreover, computers are not his favorite field. Wayne’s house doesn’t even have any Apple products. He said he was only passionate about slot machines and thought he would never pursue this hobby if he worked at Apple.
“I made the decision that I thought was the best with the information available to me at the time. I didn’t feel cheated or cheated in any way,” Wayne said.
Steve Jobs at that time was not the successful Steve Jobs of many years later, but just a young man with big ambitions. What if Wayne risked his bets and the company failed at the age of 40?
Although many people expressed regret at the fortune that Wayne could have owned if he still held shares in Apple, Wayne believes he made the right decision and decades later still has no regrets.