Who’s Ronald Wayne? Unknown co-founder of Apple

Apple’s path is marked by two names, one of them perhaps of lesser significance, but equally important. We are referring to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, two of the three founders of Apple who are already history of the company. But there was a third one called Ronald Wayne, who was one of the pillars of the company in its beginnings and yet is the most unknown.

How and when was Apple founded

It was 1976 and at that time computers were not half as widespread as they are today and did not even resemble each other in terms of functionality. They were technological products more industrial than anything else and not very accessible to ordinary people. It was in this area that Steve Jobs found a niche market to explore. It was based on the invention that his friend Steve Wozniak had made, turning a series of electronic components into almost an engineering masterpiece, and turning it into a personal computer.

Who’s Ronald Wayne? Unknown co-founder of Apple
Who’s Ronald Wayne? Unknown co-founder of Apple

I don’t know yet 100% if the Apple legend really began in Steve Jobs’ garage, but the truth is that he had little means at the time when he convinced Wozniak that that computer had to be marketed. And so, without a headquarters and without having made a large investment, Apple Computer Inc. was born.

To formalize the company Jobs turned to Ronald Wayne , an engineer 20 years his senior, with whom he developed a good friendship after they had worked together at Atari . He agreed to put money in his own pocket and thus took over 10% of the shares of the company . For practical purposes he became in a way the ‘adult voice’, trying to guide well the first business steps of the inexperienced ‘Steves’. He was in charge of the administrative part, as well as the creation of the first company logo and the instructions for the Apple 1.

Ronald Wayne leaves Apple

Few would imagine that today Apple is forced to beg its customers to buy its products, but the beginnings are not easy and the company had a hard time getting its first customers . In such a complicated technological context, it was very hard to convince anyone that the future lay in having computers at home. With a phone book in hand, Jobs was responsible for calling dozens of individuals and companies every day to offer them the Apple 1.

Ronald Wayne, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

In this climate of uncertainty and helplessness of not achieving the goals, Wayne got tired. He had made a major effort to help Jobs and Wozniak launch Apple, but not only was he wasting money and time, but he also didn’t seem to foresee that the situation would change. With that bitter feeling he addressed Jobs with a phrase that 99% of the time comes before bad news: “We need to talk”.

Wayne argued the reasons for his departure and shortly after that he decided to sell his Apple shares for an amount that is still unknown exactly today, but could be around 800 dollars . This is an amount that today you could not buy even a company computer with, but that at that time was higher amounts considering the zero income that the company was generating.

It should be noted that this march took place only 12 days after the founding of Apple . Obviously this is a short time, but for a person with the status that Ronald Wayne had at that time, it was quite a long time. Of course, he must have seen the future of the company too bleak to have reached that point.

Evolution of Apple

The rest of what happened is history and although we would need many more articles to analyze it, we can tell how Wayne’s business vision was very misguided . It didn’t take long for him to see Apple generate its first income.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak began to reap the rewards of their efforts, managing to sell a good package of Apple 1 units. Word was spreading that there was a small company dedicated to selling personal computers, which together with the intense telephone promotion campaign and presence at industry events, made Apple begin to stand out.

Before long, Apple even had its own employees helping Wozniak assemble and seal the computer boards. Everything was progressing until 1980, only four years after its foundation, the company was already listed on the stock exchange . And the latter did not happen in any way, but became the company with the most capital coming in since Ford did it in 1956.

Obviously Apple was already a large company and was beginning to compete strongly with Microsoft. The rest we already know and that is that today it is one of the most valuable companies in the world and that generates millions of dollars a year. Even in 2018 it became the first Wall Street company to quote billions of dollars.

Where is Ronald Wayne today?

Little or nothing is known about Ronald Wayne today. We do not know if he continued in any way with his friend Steve Jobs, although there are some reports that the genius of sweaters and jeans cut off their relationship completely after feeling betrayed by him. In any case, was never again linked to Apple and has rarely made statements to the media about it.

The few times he has let go of the garment, he has dropped that he does not regret leaving Apple . All this considering that the amount he sold his shares for is nowadays ridiculous and whose value could have increased considerably if he had only waited a few more years. In fact, without taking into account the current amounts, looking only at the year in which Apple went public, Wayne’s shares would have been worth $6 billion . We do not know if Wayne’s words were sincere or not, but anyone would have wondered if it was a good decision or not. In any case, we must admit that it is much easier to talk now with the perspective of time.

In this way Ronald Wayne went down in Apple’s history with more sorrow than glory, leaving only a first logo that was discarded soon after his departure because it was a complex image that has little relation with the minimalism that has always characterized Apple. In any case, despite everything, we cannot forget that he was there in the beginning and therefore he also has an outstanding value and recognition so that today Apple can be what it is.

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