Well, I went to the beach for a vacation last week and, while I was gone, Apple magically became the first American company to reach a market valuation of a trillion dollars.
It’s hard to picture in your head exactly how much a trillion is, but, to help you get your mind around it, here’s an example: If you had one trillion dollars in single dollar bills, and you stacked them up one on top of another, that pile of money would contain a trillion one dollar bills.
To look at it another way, if you went into an Everything’s a Dollar store and spent that much money, you could buy one trillion items.
(Though good luck getting them all into your car! And, also, keep in mind that sales tax on the purchase would be $67.5 billion.)
I’ve been a big believer in Apple and its products since 1984 when I first sat down in front of a Macintosh and began using one. I love the company and the computers and the phones and everything about it; and I’ve used Apple computers exclusively for decades and I have also bought at least one version of just about every other product Apple has ever made.
I’ve always been a big fan of the stock as well. In fact, in the late ’80s and early ’90’s, I owned more Apple stock than Apple founder Steve Jobs. That was true until the late ’90s when Jobs once again surpassed me in the amount of Apple stock owned.
Back then, I would try to work that fact into conversations all the time. Whenever the occasion arose, I would toss into the discussion something like, “You know, I have more Apple stock than Steve Jobs” – hoping people would contest the claim and want to bet me about my statement.
Because, though many people didn’t know it, after Jobs got fired from Apple in 1985, he was so angry that he sold all his Apple stock except for one share – which he kept just so he could go to annual shareholder meetings if he wanted to.
So, yes, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I owned more Apple stock than Steve Jobs, and, if you had two shares at the time, so did you.
Almost everyone is delighted that Apple has now reached the epic trillion dollar mark – stockholders, Apple fan boys, company employees, television commentators, politicians and the like.
But there is one guy in particular who has to be devastated by the new trillion-dollar valuation of the company. I am talking, of course, about Ronald Wayne, the man who made what I refer to as THE GREATEST MISTAKE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
You see, everyone knows that Apple was begun in a garage by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. But what many people don’t realize is that, in the beginning, when the company was just starting out, there was a third guy – Ronald Wayne – who handled the administrative functions of the business, in return for which he got ownership of 10 percent of the company. Since he was older than Jobs and Wozniak – and was the only one of the three who had any real assets to his name – Wayne was worried that lenders would come after his assets if Apple went belly up.
So, in 1976, he sold his 10 percent stake in the company back to the two for $800 and took another job with another company.
Today, his 10 percent stake in Apple would now be worth $100 billion, which would make him the second richest person in the world behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
So, that is quite, quite a tale of woe. The only guy I think who even comes close in that kind of sad story for his life is Pete Best – “the fifth Beatle,” who left the group right before they became the biggest act in the history of the world. But at least Best had the satisfaction of knowing he was pushed out of the group; in Wayne’s case, Jobs and Wozniak were begging him to stay.
In an interview with CNBC last year, Wayne said he didn’t regret his decision one bit. If you find his statement confusing, it’s probably because you aren’t taking into account the fact that it’s a bald face lie.
In December 2010, in my column, I offered a Christmas present to everyone in Greensboro. It was a piece of advice: Buy Apple stock because it was going to be a lot higher in the coming years.
Now, if you missed that boat, don’t worry, because I have some really great news for you today. It is still extremely early in the Apple story, and Apple stock is dirt cheap right now.
The company is just getting started, and the same advice for 2010 applies in 2018. The other day I started looking around my house for all the Apple products I had, and I put them all together in the same spot, just kind of as an experiment. It was somewhat astonishing. I have a MacBook Air, Apple EarPods, two Apple TVs, an IPad 2, an iPad Pro, two iPod Touches, an iPhone 5 and an iPhone 6 (and, in September, I will have an iPhone 11 or whatever the new one is called). I have an Apple watch strapped to my wrist and I buy my movies from iTunes, pay Apple for expanded cloud services, and use Apple music and Apple Pay every day.
I was talking about to someone about the company the other day and he said: “Yeah, Apple is like …the air.”
You know, it’s everything all around us. Trust me – over the next several decades, Apple is going to do nothing but grow and grow and grow. You know how, in science fiction novels and movies set in the future, there’s always one company – Cyberdine or Oasis or Soylent Corp., etc. – that runs absolutely everything in the world? Well, there is going to be one of those companies in real life as well and that company is Apple.
It is not too late. I am telling you. We will all keep buying iPhones every time a new phone comes out no matter what the price. And, soon, we will all get in our Apple cars and put on our Apple VR glasses on the way to play golf using our Apple smart clubs and when we finish we will relax with a nice cold glass of Apple juice.
Aside from all the money you stand to make, there’s another reason to buy Apple stock. Apple knows who owns the stock and who does not. In the future, when they control everything from the government to the banking system to the water supply, you will no doubt be much better off if there is a trail of evidence that shows you are a big supporter of Apple and that you both used the products and bought the stock.
Frankly, either you are for Apple or against them, and, based on the way things are looking now, if I were you, I wouldn’t want to be on record as being against them.