“If anyone is having a bad day, remember that today in 1976, Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for $800. Now it’s worth $58,065,210,000.00.”
I saw a “meme” with that message posted on social media a few weeks back. It was on the internet, so it had to be true, but just in case I thought I’d look it up to see if it was another rumor or something someone had made up and passed on to make their unsuspecting friends look stupid. It wasn’t.
The statement was pretty accurate. Though the price of Apple stock fluctuates, which can change the equation by literally millions of dollars on any given day, Mr. Wayne’s shares would be worth somewhere close to $60 billion today. Instead, the 80-year old Wayne lives off of his Social Security checks these days in a modest home in a small Nevada town.
When Apple was incorporated on April 2, 1976, Wayne was listed along with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak as the founding partners of the company. But within a couple of weeks, feeling like he was in over his head because he “was standing in the shadow of intellectual giants,” he sold his stake in the company back to the other two partners for what he had paid in.
An article about him last December described Wayne as “the man who won the lottery but lost the ticket.” He was like Stuart Sutcliffe or Pete Best, who were original members of the Beatles but left before the group became famous–and filthy rich. And, according to Wayne, his finances have “been in a hole for the last 40 years.”
Believe it or not, there’s more to his story. Several years back, he sold the original contract that he had drawn up to begin Apple–which was in his attic covered in dust and cobwebs–to an autograph collector for $500. In 2011, that contract sold in an auction for $1.6 million. And, in 2004, his house was broken into and his life savings (in gold coins and cash) was taken. He had to sell his home to recover.
Does he have regrets? Of course. Does he worry about what might have been? Apparently, not much. In that article, he asked, “Should I make myself sick over the whole thing, in addition to everything else that’s going on? It didn’t make any sense. Just pick yourself up and move on. I didn’t want to waste my tomorrows bemoaning my yesterdays.”
I have no idea of Mr. Wayne’s spiritual condition, but I do appreciate his perspective on life. We all could learn something from him about living with the decisions of our past. Because whether we’re a billionaire or living paycheck to paycheck, none of us can afford to waste our tomorrows bemoaning our yesterdays.
God’s grace is sufficient to cover our past mistakes, and His promises for our tomorrow are as true as they’ve ever been. In the mean time, I pray that you’re enjoying the fullness of a life in relationship with Christ today. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.