Three Life Lessons From Apple’s Third Founder

Many people are surprised to find out that high-tech behemoth Apple Inc. has three founders. Everyone knows about famed billionaires the late Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak. But who was the third founder?

Apple’s third founder was a man named Ronald Gerald Wayne. Wayne was born May 17th,1934. He worked, without any particular distinction, in the electronics industry. Wayne co-founded Apple Inc., along with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, both of whom were considerably younger than him. Wayne provided management services for the new company.

Three months after Apple’s inception, Wayne sold his 10% share of the now gigantic $900 billion plus U.S. corporation for a mere $800! Wayne later accepted $1,500 to forfeit any claim against Apple. Today, Wayne’s 10% stake in Apple would be worth about $90 billion!

Here are three life lessons from Wayne:

1. Be Patient

Wayne was clearly impatient with the company he helped found. He was uncertain about its future. Wayne was also reportedly upset by past entrepreneurial failures. Only Wayne knows how much he needed the $800 he initially received from selling his share of Apple. However, it seems likely he could have gotten by without it for awhile. The first lesson, from Wayne, is to be patient. Past failures need not predict our future.

2. Respect the Power of Doing Nothing

Quite often doing nothing is the best course of action. Our culture is obsessed with action; constantly doing things. However, not all action is productive. Not all action gets us closer to where we want to be. Sometimes, we sabotage ourselves with unnecessary action. As Wayne did. Had Wayne simply done nothing, after co-founding Apple, he would be much richer today than Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney combined.

3. Some People Aren’t Cut Out For the Limelight

Wayne had at least one other notable experience with untimely selling. He sold an original Apple contract, he’d created, to an autograph collector for $500. The collector later sold it at auction for $1.6 million. Wayne was apparently plagued by financial problems throughout his adult life. Yet he insists he did not regret his decision to leave Apple.

This is how Wayne explains his decision. “I was 40 and these kids (Jobs and Wozniak) were in their 20s. They were whirlwinds – it was like having a tiger by the tail. If I’d stayed with Apple I probably would have wound up the richest man in the cemetery”.

Perhaps Wayne is correct. Some people (perhaps many people) are happier avoiding the limelight.

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