Say you owned 10% of Apple (AAPL) and you sold it for $800 in 1976.
What would that stake be worth today?
Try $75 billion.
That is the harsh reality that Ron Wayne, 83, faces every morning when he wakes up, one of the three original founders of the consumer electronics giant.
Ron first met Steve Jobs when he was a sprightly 21-year-old marketing guy at Atari, the inventor of the hugely successful Pong video arcade game. In those days, Steve never took a bath, as he believed they were unhealthy.
Ron dumped his shares when he became convinced that Steve Jobs’ reckless spending was going to drive the nascent start up into the ground and he wanted to protect his assets in a future bankruptcy.
Co-founders Jobs and Steve Wozniak each kept their original 45% ownership. Today Jobs’ widow owns 0.5% ownership is worth $4 billion, while the Woz shares remains undisclosed.
Ron designed the company’s original logo and wrote the manual for the Apple 1 computer, which boasted all of 8,000 bytes of RAM (which is 0.008 megabytes to you non-techies).
Jobs tried on many occasions to get Wayne to return to Apple, to no avail.
Wayne worked at Atari into 1978, and later moved on to Lawrence Livermore Labs.
Today, Ron is living off of a meager monthly Social Security check in a mobile home park in remote Pahrump, Nevada, about as far out in the middle of nowhere as you can get, where he can occasionally be seen playing the penny slots.
He spends his time collecting rare coins and stamps.
Ron has never purchased an Apple product.
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