Why the “forgotten founder of Apple” Ronald Wayne walked away
By Shannon Dickinson
Whoever said, “Money is the root of all evil,” apparently has never met Ronald Wayne, one of the co-founders of Apple. Wayne helped found Apple, the computer giant responsible for the creation of Macs and other gadgets that have enjoyed immense success. Today, the company is worth more money than many other computer empires. Currently, Apple is worth nearly $500 billion.
Wayne, known as the “forgotten founder of Apple,” left Apple after only 12 days on the job. He left the company because he didn’t see it as a place he could work for the rest of his life.
“I had every belief [that the company] would be successful but I didn’t know when, what I’d have to give up or sacrifice to get there, or how long it would take to achieve that success,” Wayne said in a Facebook post he published on February 22.
When Wayne left Apple, he was earning $22,000 per year, which equates to $88,000 today. While working as a co-founder of Apple, Wayne also held two other jobs—one at Al Acorn and the other at Atari. Wayne has received a lot of negative press about his leaving Apple so early, but his reasons for leaving Apple are nobler than most people realize.
Wayne says that he did not lose out on billions of dollars by leaving Apple, which Wayne co-founded along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. “If I had known it would make 300 people millionaires in only four years, I would have stayed those four years,” Wayne said. “And then I still would have walked away.”
Wayne had many conversations with Steve Jobs regarding the future of Apple as an enterprise. Jobs and Wozniak had their own vision for changing the world through their affiliation with Apple.
Wayne had his own mission to fulfill, and that mission was much different from Jobs’ and Wozniak’s. Wayne hoped to change the world’s perception of money by writing Insolence of Office, a book he hopes will teach people about the “true nature of money.”
It took roughly 40 years of research to bring the message of this book to fruition. In the end, Wayne accomplished his goals through the publication of his book. “The writing and publication of Insolence is, in itself, enough to justify my existence on this planet,” Wayne said in his post.
It is this type of attitude that has propelled many humble businesspeople to millionaire status. Many company founders that walk away from projects make much more than they could have possibly imagined.
Wayne’s passion for his book has led him to fulfill his dream of teaching people about what money truly means. And though Wayne could have been worth nearly $50 billion today, he followed the path he carved for himself.