Ronald Wayne : The unluckiest Apple employee in the world

Ronald Wayne, the “adult supervisor” entrusted to settle any disputes between youngsters Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, received 10% of the computer company he helped found. Just a few weeks later, he sold that stake for $800, according to his memoir, “Adventures Of An Apple Founder.”

Ronald Wayne claims he does not regret his decision to leave Apple

Ronald Wayne claims he does not regret his decision to leave Apple

  • Street value of that 10% stake today: $35 billion
  • Ronald Wayne was one of the original founders of Apple
  • Ronald Wayne left Apple because he found Steve Jobs difficult to work with

When Apple was incorporated on April 2, 1976, Wayne was named alongside Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as one of three founders, with a 10 percent stake in the company. However, just 12 days after Apple started up — Wayne threw in the towel and sold his shares for just $800.

Ronald Wayne is the man who won the lottery but lost the ticket. He’s Cupertino’s version of Stuart Sutcliffe or Pete Best, the musicians who played with The Beatles but left before the band made it big. Unlike Wozniak and Jobs, who became multimillionaires at a young age, Wayne’s finances have been “in a hole for the last 40 years.”

Wayne says he wouldn’t change his decision to leave Apple

Now he’s selling his Apple archive — which includes original proofs of the Apple-1 manual he created and unused designs for a proposed Apple II case, among other documents — in a Christie’s auction. Expected to go for between $30,000 and $50,000, the archive will give its new owner a tangible piece of Apple’s early existence. Wayne drew the first Apple logo, wrote the three men’s original partnership agreement, , but his name is virtually unknown.

“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.”