“It takes courage to know when you ought to be afraid." -James A. Michener-
Many people do not know that in 1971, there was a third partner in the Apple Computer company. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the known founders of Apple had one other partner, Ron Wayne, who Jobs had met while working for Atari
Wayne, a 10% owner, had a short-lived run with Apple. About twelve days. In the book, Steve Jobs , the author describes the resolution.
"Wayne then got cold feet. As Jobs started planning to borrow and spend more money, he recalled the failure of his own company. He didn't want to go through that again.
Jobs and Wozniak had no personal assets, but Wayne, who worried about a global financial Armageddon, kept gold coins hidden in his mattress. Because they'd structured Apple as a simple partnership rather than a corporation, partners would be personally liable for the debts. And Wayne was afraid potential creditors would go after him.
So he returned to the Santa Clara office just eleven days later with a statement of withdrawal. The final document noted that in payment for the 10% of the company he received $800 and shortly afterward $1500 more. Had he stayed on and kept his 10% stake, at the end of 2010, it would have been worth approximately 2.6 billion dollars."
You'd think Wayne would have gone into a great depression when watching the success of a company he was shortly part of. However, he claims to have " no regrets." Wayne said, "They were absolute whirlwinds. I was standing in the shadow of giants. If I stayed at Apple, I would have probably ended up the richest man in the cemetery."
When I first read about Ron Wayne, I thought, "What an idiot!" He backed out because he was scared of creditors coming after his small amount of assets and because he thought Jobs was a madman.
But then as I thought about it, I started to think of it as more honorable. He made a decision to live the life he wanted to. He didn't want to ride the Steve Jobs train. He knew it would have killed him. He didn't care about not becoming a billionaire. He just wanted to make slot machines and be happy.
Knowing who you are and making a decision off that takes more courage than the latter. We all have take different paths. Have the courage to keep moving on yours.