Fear works hard to protect you. And just as it wraps its arms around you, often, it is stabbing you in the back at the same time.

Ronald Wayne knew his partners were geniuses.

While they would do the key aspects necessary for the enterprise to be successful, his job would be the easiest – mostly to provide some needed administrative oversight for the new venture. They signed the papers. It was a done deal. Ronald Wayne had a 10% stake.

But within days of Ronald began to have doubts. Fear set in. Not that his new partners would fail; no, he still felt they would succeed.

So what was the problem?

The problem was that, legally, all three members of the partnership were would be personally responsible for any debts incurred by any partner, and he realized that he was the only one of the three with assets to go after should someone file a suit against the three. Worse still, Ronald had started a business five years earlier, one that had failed and left him responsible for the debt, and he still carrying the ‘mental baggage’ of that failure with him now.

And so, just two weeks after signing the initial business agreement, Ronald Wayne asked his new partners to buy him out, and on April 12, 1976, they did.

Sadly, Ronald Wayne never owned a product produced by the company he co-founded with the two partners, each with the same first name—Steve—until he was gifted an iPad2 in 2011. And speaking of 2011, had Ronald Wayne kept his 10% stock it would have been worth approximately $35 billion dollars in August of that year.

But Ronald Wayne was able to avoid risk.  And he got his investment back. All $800 of it.

In another twist of cruel irony, that contract he created between the three of them? He had discovered it sitting in his filing cabinet, covered in dust and cobwebs, and sold it to an autograph dealer for $500. In 2011, that same contract then sold at auction for $1.6 million.

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