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Regrets, we've all got a few. The family member's birthday you forgot. The hangover after you stayed for 'one more pint' that became five. The dodgy tattoo you got on holiday in Kavos.
But as bad as any you might have, I doubt they compared to the regrets of 82-year-old Ronald Wayne, the co-founder of Apple who sold his shares in the company for $800 before it became the multi-billion dollar company it is today.
Wayne knew Steve Jobs from working at Atari before he, Jobs, and Steve Wozniak founded the company, which was then known as Apple Computer in 1976.
Steve Jobs, left, chairman of Apple Computers, John Sculley, centre, president and CEO, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, pictured in 1984. Credit: PA Images
Older than the other two, they got him involved due to his experience. Wayne provided crucial advice at the beginning of the company, drawing the first Apple logo, writing the three men's original partnership agreement, and writing the manual for the company's first computer, the Apple I.
He received a ten percent stake in Apple, with Jobs and Wozniak wanting him to take the stake so he could be a 'tiebreaker' when the two of them couldn't agree on a decision. They felt he was 'balanced and reasonable'. But Wayne relinquished his equity for $800 less than two weeks after the company was first formed on April 1, 1976.
Later that year, the company developed a business plan and converted the partnership into a corporation. In its first year of operations, Apple's sales reached $174,000. The next year sales rose to $2.7 million, in 1978 to $7.8 million, and in 1980 to $117 million. However, Wayne never saw any of this because, after leaving Apple, he accepted $1,500 for forfeiting any claims against the company.
Nevertheless, he claims to have no regrets in the decision he made, saying it was the best decision for him at the time. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Wayne said: "I felt the enterprise would be successful but at the same time there could be bumps along the way and I just couldn't risk it.
"I had already had a rather unfortunate business experience before. I was getting too old and those two were whirlwinds. It was like having a tiger by the tail and I couldn't keep up with these guys.
"Would I like to be rich? Everybody would like to be rich but I couldn't keep up the pace. I would have been wealthy, but I would have been the richest man in the cemetery."
Although Jobs wanted Wayne to return to the company, he resisted and instead chose to work as an engineer at various electronics companies, earning a fraction of what he could have made at Apple. Weirdly, he never even owned an Apple product until 2011, when he was given an iPad.
Wayne has since spoken out about his former partner, Jobs, saying that, although he was great public speaker, he was socially awkward and manipulative in person.
In 2013, he told the Daily Mail: "If you had your 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 highway in many of his business decisions.
"He was focused and had a determined attitude. If he had some place he wanted to be, the last place you wanted to be was between him and it, because you would have a footprint on your forehead!"
Even though he was no longer part of the business, Wayne retained the original Apple company agreement. It was signed in 1976 by Jobs, Wozniak and himself, and was sold in the early Nineties for $500. In one last kick in the face, the contract was later sold at auction in 2011 for $1.6 million.
He now says selling the contract for such a small price is his only Apple regret. But, I've got to be honest, mate, a ten percent stake in the company would set you back around $63 billion nowadays. So I don't believe you.
Wayne is now retired and living in a Pahrump, Nevada mobile home park selling stamps and rare coins. The man's living the fucking dream.
Featured image credit: Facebook / Ron Wayne
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