Ronald Wayne – he could have been one of the richest men in the world

It is true: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were the founders of Apple Computer.

But there was a secret 3rd founder, too. And his name is Ronald Wayne. He was a 10% owner of Apple.

He even designed Apple Computer’s first logo – check it out:

Apple Computer first logo

Yet:

Just 2 weeks after founding Apple Computer, Ronald Wayne was forced to sell all his Apple stock holdings.

Why?

At the time of Apple’s founding, the 3 founders formed a partnership, not a corporation.

This became an immediate issue. Because Ronald Wayne’s failing business (a slot machine company) presented a legal problem. Legally, all members of a partnership are personally responsible for any debts incurred by any partner.

So:

In order to protect Apple from Wayne’s failing business debts, he was forced to sell his holdings. He relinquished his equity for just $800. And he never reinvested back into Apple Computer.

Here is the fascinating part. If Ronald Wayne would have remained a 10% stockholder, he would be worth tens of billions of dollars today.

Instead, Wayne retired to a mobile home park in Pahrump, Nevada. Ironically, he never purchased an Apple product. (Allegedly, he was given an iPad 2 at the Update Conference in Brighton, England in 2011.)

This terrific documentary about the Macintosh Computer features a seldom seen video of Ronald Wayne – about 2 minutes in: