Selling a little too soon

A cautionary tale about being too cautious:

[Ron] Wayne, 76, was present at the birth of cool April 1, 1976: Co-founder, along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, of Apple Computer Inc., Wayne designed the company’s original logo, wrote the manual for the Apple I computer and drafted the fledgling company’s partnership agreement.

That agreement gave him a 10 percent stake in Apple, which would be worth more than $22 billion today if Wayne had held onto it.

But he didn’t.

Afraid that Jobs’ wild spending and Wozniak’s recurrent “flights of fancy” would cause Apple to flop, Wayne said, he bailed out after 12 days. Terrified to be the only one of the three founders with assets creditors could seize, he agreed to take $800 for his shares.

via Jobs, Wozniak and Wayne: Apple’s third co-founder sold out early, but says he doesn’t second-guess himself – chicagotribune.com.

HT: Joe Carter

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Dan Kempin

    An interesting reflection in hindsight, but how many companies like this fail for every wild success like Apple? Considering that he was the only partner with assets and the odds were against them, it was a prudent decision. Who could know?

    Still, I love stories like this. Kind of like the guy who decides to quit playing the lottery only to see his numbers come up the next day, or the guy who folds a garbage hand in poker to see it turn into four of a kind on the board. Still good decisions, but wow.

  • Dan Kempin

    An interesting reflection in hindsight, but how many companies like this fail for every wild success like Apple? Considering that he was the only partner with assets and the odds were against them, it was a prudent decision. Who could know?

    Still, I love stories like this. Kind of like the guy who decides to quit playing the lottery only to see his numbers come up the next day, or the guy who folds a garbage hand in poker to see it turn into four of a kind on the board. Still good decisions, but wow.

  • Joe

    The problem was not his assets, his problem was that they chose the wrong form for their business. The should have formed a corporation (or an LLC if they were recognized LLC’s at the time) from the start, then his personal assets would not have mattered and he could have stayed in the company and gotten very wealthy too. His own conclusion that he is not fit to be in business is easily confirmed – not because he got out, but because he did not understand how to stay in and avert the risk.

  • Joe

    The problem was not his assets, his problem was that they chose the wrong form for their business. The should have formed a corporation (or an LLC if they were recognized LLC’s at the time) from the start, then his personal assets would not have mattered and he could have stayed in the company and gotten very wealthy too. His own conclusion that he is not fit to be in business is easily confirmed – not because he got out, but because he did not understand how to stay in and avert the risk.


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