Sitting in his mobile home near Las Vegas, Ron Wayne could be any of the millions of gamblers who failed to find their fortune in the casino city.
However he could have hit a jackpot beyond most people’s wildest dreams.
Ron was one of the founders of Apple, the technology giant behind the iPhone and the iPad.
But while co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, became one of the world’s richest men, Ron decided in 1976 that he wanted to focus on a slot machine business and sold his stake in the fledgling computer company for just £500.
Today, that stake would be worth £14billion.
But despite the astonishing potential fortune he signed away, Ron refuses to let it get him down and freely admits: “I had no business sense.”
“I made a decision that allowed me to pursue my interest,” says the 79-year-old. “I honestly don’t regret walking away at all.”
Ron was instrumental in helping Jobs and partner Steve Wozniak form the now multi-billion-dollar empire.
He sketched models for the first Apple computer, designed the company’s original logo, wrote the manual for the Apple 1 computer, and drafted the firm’s first partnership agreement.
But then he got cold feet. Deciding his partners’ personalities and whirlwind working methods were too risky, he gave up his 10% stake in Apple Computer after just 12 days.
Had he stayed on, he would now be one of the 15 richest people on the planet and possibly the subject of a Hollywood movie like his late former partner Jobs, who is portrayed by Ashton Kutcher in the upcoming film of the same name.
Ron says: “I knew Wozniak’s design for a personal computer was going to be successful, but who could have anticipated it would be what it is today?
“If I had stayed with Apple and accepted the limitations on my philosophy of life I could well have ended up the richest man in the cemetery. My passion was slot machines.
“My handicap was that I didn’t realise I had no business sense. I learned that when I went into business building slot machines.
“Every time I worked as a businessman it has been a flaming disaster.”
Ron insists he is not envious of the vast fortune Jobs left, or his beautiful homes and £85million yacht.
He says: “If you had everything you could possibly want you would be content for 10 minutes.
“I would have liked to have been more successful but can honestly say I have had a more eventful life than many other people in this world.”