Not many people know, but there was actually three founders of Apple computers, which was established on April 1st 1976. There was the famous Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak but then there was Ronald Wayne. Ronald bailed out early on the businesses start up and gave up his 10% stake in apple for $800. Had he kept his stakes it would be worth $35 billion today.
Ronald Wayne who is now 78 and living in semi-retirement in Pahrump, Nevada, tells CNBC he first met Steve Jobs while working as a chief draughtsman for Atari in the 1970’s. Wayne was 42 at the time and was brought on as ‘adult supervision’ to apple computer. An idea originally hatched during their time at the home brew computer club. Wayne drafted Apple computers original incorporation of documents and wrote the manual for Apple 1 computer and even designed the first Apple logo.
Wayne says Jobs, though often viewed as a great public speaker, was socially awkward and manipulative “if you had a 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 high way”. Also even though Jobs appeared to be a cool, calm operator, in his 20s he was unsure that Apple would work. He took Ron aside as he panicked about whether his computer dreams would work, or if he would end up a broke failure. ‘He asked me if he should go ahead with the Apple enterprise because there were a lot of things he wanted to do… I said, “Go ahead do the Apple thing… But it is a risk in that when you have made a lot of money, don’t forgot what you wanted the money for.”
Wayne’s decision to leave Apple came when he was poached by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a model-builder to create industrial facilities. He spent two years building a fusion nuclear reaction plant model, but again disaster struck. ‘I would be still with them today, but when they offered me a job and asked where I had got my university degree that was the end because I didn’t have a college education.’ Wayne ended up at Thor Electronics in 1982, where he took on the role of chief designer before he retired in 1999. He says his proudest achievement of his career was designing a cable box for the Navy Seals which helped them to communicate much more effectively with a communications box in a war zone.
Despite the ups and downs he has had and the fact that he would now be a multi billionaire, Ronald Wayne stands by the decision he made his decision to sell his stake!