Tag Archives: investing

You too can be unlucky, or frightened

Recently I heard a story that I had to verify. It was about Ronald Wayne, who was one of the early investors in Apple computer.

Ron was an electronics industry worker and knew both Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Unfortunately, he did not have faith in the new start up and sold his shares back for $800 (eight hundred dollars). He is now around 82 years old, retired in Pahrump, NV and has a net worth of about $300,000; which is the median price of a little 2 bedroom, 1 bath cabin in the woods in Manitou Springs, CO. So if he owned a house worth that much it would represent his entire net worth, if it was fully paid off with no mortgage.

So how much did Ronald Wayne give up? The price of Apple stock fluctuates daily, just as any stock would. So rather than subtracting his current net worth from the price of the Apple stock he gave up, let say for round numbers his stock would be worth about $35,000,000,000 (that is $35 billion!).

What’s my point? We all have great ideas. We often see things that appear to be a good idea that others have. Ron Wayne lacked the faith in his own ideas and the ideas of Jobs & Wozniak.

And you might wonder how much money Steve Wozniak is worth; it’s only $100 million. Why do I say only $100 million?  Because I am comparing that to Steve Jobs. However, Wozniak was a far nicer person. As an example, prior the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of Apple stock, Jobs was not willing to grant any stock options to the few people who were the earliest Apple employees, and there were only about 40 or so in 1980.

These people helped create what would soon become a billion dollar company and they would make no money from the planned IPO. So Wozniak sold some of his own shares, inexpensively, to his friends because he thought Jobs was being an (expletive body part). So with fewer shares he made less money than Jobs after the IPO. And this IPO turned out to raise more capital than Ford Motors in 1956.

Also Jobs went on to invest in Pixar Animation, and then founded NEXT after he got fired from Apple. And when he returned to Apple he got an enormous pile of additional stock. At Jobs death his stock was worth about $8 billion, or about 2% of all Apple stock.
What’s my point? Believe in yourself, and after careful deliberations, have confidence in the smart people you know. I doubt Ron Wayne consulted anyone before he sold back his stock.

To your prosperity,