Showing The Daily Telegraph’s penchant for headlines over facts, Nick Allen highlights the story of Ronald Wayne, Apple’s original non-Steve partner. Wayne took a 10-percent stake in Apple, worth $1,500 in 1976. Two weeks later, Wayne had second thoughts and worried about liability as Apple took out loans to build computers for an order.
Mr Wayne, 75, relinquished a stake that would now be worth around £15 billion ($23-billion) and lives on a state pension and deals in old stamps and coins to supplement his income.
The math is faulty. Wayne’s 10-percent stake (Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak each had 45-percent) would have been diluted as Apple sold shares to investors, went public, and stock split. Wayne’s response to The Daily Telegraph:
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.
When was the last time Wayne saw the two Steves? Five years ago:
He had a computer show and invited me. He paid the plane fare and I was VIP, front row. We met Woz and the three of us had lunch. I’m pleased for them. Whatever Steve Jobs has achieved he deserves it. He worked hard for it.
Nice touch. Does Wayne deserve more?