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Ronald Wayne, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple on April 1, 1976. Wayne had previously met Jobs while working at Atari. During Apple’s early days, Wayne provided administrative oversight. However, he sold his 10% stake in the company for $800 less than two weeks later and received an additional $1,500 a year afterward to relinquish any future claims. Adjusted for inflation, this sum is approximately $11,000 in today’s money.
One of the main reasons Wayne decided to sell his shares was his concern about potential liabilities. While all three founders bore equal responsibility for the company’s debts, Wayne was the only one with significant assets that could be seized by creditors.
Had Wayne retained his 10% share in Apple, he would be worth billions today. Yet, in interviews, he has expressed that he harbors no regrets. He believes he made the best decision based on the information available to him at the time. After parting ways with Apple, Wayne returned to Atari and eventually retired to a mobile home park in Pahrump, Nevada. There, he pursues a hobby of selling stamps and rare coins.
Interestingly, the first Apple product Wayne ever owned was not one of the company’s early inventions but an iPad 2, which was gifted to him.