Meet Ron Wayne, the Patron Saint of Schmucks

Did you ever feel like a schmuck? At your height of schmuckness, you’ve never come close to this guy, Ron Wayne. The LA Times had a great story about this schmuck, er, poor guy.

He was present at the birth of cool on April Fool’s Day, 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% ownership stake in Apple, a position that would be worth about $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 decided to abdicate his role as adult in chief and bailed out after 12 days. Terrified to be the only one of the three founders with assets that creditors could seize, he sold back his shares for $800.

In a place where risk and innovation are part of the accepted equation of change, he became Silicon Valley’s ultimate what-if story — Apple’s iMadeAHugeMistake.

So let this be a lesson to you. OK, I’m not really sure what the lesson is. Don’t be a schmuck.

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