The $22 billion mistake

Quiz time! Fill in the blank:

Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and _____________

Give up? Of course you do.

The answer: Ron Wayne, Apple’s third co-founder and Apple’s version of the Beatles' Pete Best.

Wayne was twenty years older than Jobs and Woz, who frequently butted heads. Wayne received 10% of Apple’s stock to arbitrate the two Steves' (each of whom owned 45%) disputes.

But Wayne quickly quit Apple and surrendered his shares for $800. He has never used an Apple computer and has little wealth or income these days. But he has wisely avoided torturing himself over his $22 billion mistake:

“What can I say? You make a decision based on your understanding of the circumstances, and you live with it,” he said….

Wayne said he doesn’t let himself wonder how things could have been different if he had chosen to stay with Apple.

Missing out on $22 billion could drive a person crazy. But what matters is not events per se but how we respond to events. It’s unhealthy to dwell on past disappointments.

I especially admire Ron Wayne because my wife and I occasionally dwell on the fact that we bought $5,000 worth of Apple stock that would be worth six figures now had we not sold it because we wanted to close the investment account it was in. Wayne lost 220,000 times what we did, but he’s taken it in stride. Good for him!

Posted by James on Friday, June 25, 2010