Ronald Wayne Biography
Ronald Wayne (Ronald Gerald Wayne) is a retired American electronics industry worker. Wayne co-founded Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) as a partnership with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, providing administrative oversight and documentation for the new venture.
Twelve days later, Wayne sold his 10% share of the new company back to Jobs and Wozniak for US$800, and one year later accepted a final US$1,500 to forfeit any potential future claims against the newly legally incorporated Apple, totaling $2,300.
Ronald Wayne Career
Wayne trained as a technical draftsman at the School of Industrial Art in New York. In 1956, aged 22, Wayne moved to California. In 1971, he started his first business, a company selling slot machines. The company failed, with Ronald Wayne reflecting in 2014 that, “I discovered very quickly that I had no business being in business. I was far better working in engineering.”
Ronald Wayne Apple
In 1976, Wayne built the internal corporate documentation systems at the three-year-old Atari, where he met coworkers Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. To help settle one of their typical intense discussions about the design of computers and the future of the industry, he invited the two to his home to facilitate and advise them.
In the ensuing two hour conversation about technology and business, Jobs proposed the founding of a computer company led by him and Wozniak.
Those two would each hold a 45% stake so that Ronald Wayne could receive a 10% stake to act as a tie-breaker in their decisions.
As the venture’s self-described “adult in the room” at age 41, he wrote a partnership agreement and the three founded Apple Computer on April 1, 1976. Wayne illustrated the first Apple logo, and wrote the Apple I manual.
Ronald Wayne’s business attitude was already risk-averse due to his experience five years prior with the “very traumatic” failure of his slot machine business, the debt of which he had spent one year voluntarily repaying. Jobs secured a US$15,000 line of credit to buy product materials for Apple’s first order which had been placed by The Byte Shop, whose reputation as a notoriously slow paying vendor gave Wayne great concern for his future.
Legally, all members of a partnership are personally responsible for any debts incurred by any partner; unlike Wozniak and Jobs, then 21 and 25, Wayne had personal assets that potential creditors could possibly seize.
Furthermore, Wayne’s passion was in original product engineering and in slot machines, and not in the documentation systems he assumed Jobs and Wozniak probably wanted him to do indefinitely at Apple. Believing he was “standing in the shadow of giants” of product design talent and avoiding financial risk, Wayne quit the company.
Reportedly, “Twelve days after Ronald Wayne wrote the document that formally created Apple, he returned to the registrar’s office and renounced his role in the company”, therefore relinquishing his equity in exchange for US$800 on April 12, 1976.
Ronald has stated in following decades that he does not regret selling his share of the company as he made the “best decision with the information available to me at the time”.
Wayne said he had originally believed that the Apple enterprise “would be successful, but at the same time there would be significant bumps along the way and I 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.”
In retrospect of Apple having become one of the most valuable companies in the world, Wayne assumed that with the stress of having stayed with Apple since its founding, he “probably would have wound up the richest man in the cemetery.”
Wayne summarized, “What can I say? You make a decision based on your understanding of the circumstances, and you live with it.”
Ronald Wayne After Apple
After leaving Apple, Ronald Wayne resisted Jobs’s attempts to get him to return, remaining at Atari until 1978, when he joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and later an electronics company in Salinas, California.
In the late 1970s, he had run a stamp shop in Milpitas, California for a short time, Wayne’s Philatelics. After a number of break-ins, Wayne moved his stamp operations to Nevada. The logo for the business was a wood-cut style design, with a man sitting under an apple tree, with the “Wayne’s Philatelics” name written in a flowing ribbon curved around the tree. This had the same basis as the original logo he designed for Apple Computer.
Steve Jobs approached Wayne again as a business contact for Apple, but Wayne refused to even forward Jobs’s proposal to purchase a friend’s company. Wayne’s principle was that his friend should retain ownership under exclusive license to Apple instead of selling, but Wayne would later express regret for having blocked the contact instead of allowing the decision to be made directly.
In the early 1990s, Wayne sold the original Apple partnership contract paper, signed in 1976 by Wozniak, Jobs, and himself, for US$500. The contract was sold at auction for $1.6 million in 2011. Wayne has stated that he regrets that sale.
Ronald Wayne retired to a mobile home park in Pahrump, Nevada, where he sells stamps and rare coins, and plays penny slots at a casino. He never owned an Apple product until 2011, when he was given an iPad 2 at the Update Conference in Brighton, England. Wayne holds a dozen patents.
In July 2011, Ronald Wayne published a memoir titled Adventures of an Apple Founder. His plan for initial exclusivity on the Apple iBooks store did not materialize. Wayne wrote a socio-economic treatise titled Insolence of Office, released on October 1, 2011 which he describes as this:
…the product of decades of research and observation into the evolution of human governance, and the foundations of the American Constitutional Republic. Through this analysis, the reader is introduced to a complete, yet simplified understanding of the architecture of our Constitution, its foundations, principles, and the essential meaning of its structure all in the context of modern living.
Wayne appeared in the documentary Welcome to Macintosh in 2008, where he describes some of his early experiences with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.
Ronald Wayne Age
Wayne was born on May 17, 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. He is 85 years old as of 2019.
Ronald Wayne Wife
Wayne likes to keep his personal life private hence details about his marriage life, spouse and children is not yet made public. However updates will be made soon.
Ronald Wayne Net Worth
As of 2019, Wayne’s net worth is not yet disclosed. In 2012, he had an estimated net worth of $300 thousand.