Ronald Wayne’s name doesn’t come up very often when discussing the history of Apple. Despite the fact that Wayne was one of the three co-founders of Apple, and wrote the manual for the Apple 1, Wayne left Apple after just 12 days, cashing in his 10% stake in the company for just $800 (which would be worth several billion dollars today).
I didn’t separate myself from Apple because of any lack of enthusiasm for the concept of computer products. Aside from any immediate apprehension in regard to financial risks, I left because I didn’t feel that this new enterprise would be the working environment that I saw for myself, essentially for the rest of my days.
I had every belief would be successful but I didn’t know when, what I’d have to give up or sacrifice to get there, or how long it would take to achieve that success.
Interestingly, Wayne believes that he didn’t really lose out on billions of dollars – he says the experience was character-building, and also notes that the media frequently mischaracterizes his decision to surrender his stake in the company.
To counter much that has been written in the press about me as of late, I didn’t lose out on billions of dollars.
That’s a long stretch between 1976 and 2012. Apple went through a lot of hard times and many thought Apple would simply go out of business at various times in its maturity. I perhaps lost tens of millions of dollars. And quite honestly, between just you and me, it was character building.
If I had known it would make 300 people millionaires in only four years, I would have stayed those four years. And then I still would have walked away. Steve and Steve had their project. They wanted to change the world in their way. I wanted to change the world in my own.
Wayne is currently promoting his new book, Insolence of Office – a book which he claims is “enough to justify my existence on this planet.” For more insight on Ronald Wayne, check out TheNextWeb‘s interview, as well as Engadget‘s Two days in the desert with Apple’s lost founder, Ron Wayne