Ronald Wayne: The 'lost' Apple co-founder
Retired American electronics industry worker Ronald Wayne turns a year older today. While his name may not be well-known to many, Wayne was actually one of the co-founders of Apple along with the late Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
Retired American electronics industry worker Ronald Wayne turns a year older today. While his name may not be well-known to many, Wayne was actually one of the co-founders of Apple along with the late Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.
Ronald Wayne. Pic/YouTube
It's was Ronald Wayne, who designed Apple's first-ever logo, wrote the three men's original partnership agreement and the manual for the Apple I.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, United States on May 17, 1934, Ronald Wayne trained as a technical draftsman at the School of Industrial Arts in New York. His first business venture after moving to California in 1956 was slot machines but it was not successful.
Before the founding of Apple, Ronald Wayne and Steve Jobs were co-workers at tech firm Atari. After Apple Computer was founded on April 1, 1976, Wayne provided administrative oversight for the new venture.
After receiving 10 per cent stake in Apple, Ronald Wayne left the company. He relinquished his equity for US$800 on April 12, 1976, 12 days after it's founding.
Ronald Wayne's exit from Apple and the partnership was due to personal assets that potential creditors could seize and the failure of the slot machine company that he had begun 5 years prior. Legally, all members of a partnership are personally responsible for any debts incurred by any partner.
A year after leaving Apple, Wayne received $1,500 for his agreement to forfeit any claims against the new company. Venture capitalist Arthur Rock and Mike Markkula helped develop a business plan and convert the partnership to a corporation later.
Apple's sales reached USD 174,000 in its first year of operation. This upward swing continued with the company making USD 2.7 million in 1977, USD 7.8 million in 1978 and USD 117 million in 1980. Apple had reached over a billion dollars in annual sales by 1982 and its value exceeded USD 700 billion in February 2015, making it the most valuable U.S. company by far. Had Wayne kept his 10% stock until then, it would have been worth billions.
Ronald Wayne returned to Atari after leaving Apple and remained there until 1978. He resisted Steve Jobs' attempts to get him to return. Wayne joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and later an electronics company in Salinas, California.
Ronald Wayne sold the original Apple company agreement, signed in 1976 by Jobs, Wozniak and himself, for USD 500, which was later auctioned off for USD 1.6 million in 2011. He also holds a dozen patents.
Wayne retired to a Pahrump, Nevada mobile home park] selling stamps and rare coins in Pahrump. Wayne never owned an Apple product until 2011 when he was given an iPad 2 at a conference in England. He published a memoir titled, Adventures of an Apple Founder, in July 2011 and appeared in the documentary Welcome to Macintosh where he describes some of his experiences with Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Apple Computer. He also holds a dozen patents.
Ronald Wayne has stated that he doesn't regret his decision about leaving Apple, calling it the "best decision with the information available to me at the time". Although he knew that the Apple venture would be a success he felt that the risk wasn't practical due to his rather unfortunate past business experience and advanced age.
Ronald Wayne's Apple Logo
Ronald Wayne is credited with designing Apple's first-ever logo, which was a wood-cut style design, with a man sitting under an apple tree, with the words "Apple Computer Co" written in a flowing ribbon curved around the tree. Wayne retained the design for his stamp shop Wayne's Philatelics.