Money can’t buy you happiness, though if you have some, you eat better.
It is fairly easy to get rich if you are very stingy. But then, what’s the use?
Having a positive attitude and good health are more than money buys. But you want to figure things out, like life, follow the money. It’s acquisition seems to be modern man's main purpose.
NC History Department is having a staff meeting when a cloud drifts in an open window.
From out of the cloud comes this deep voice, addressing the head of the department,
"Dr Matt Oyos, you are a good man who has made this a better world. I will give you one of three things.
One, you can be fantastically handsome and healthy and your great looks and health - your zest for life - will stay with you until you die at 110.
Or two, you can have great wealth. Take this wish and you will have 100 million dollars tax free in your checking account right now, plus full ownership of five square miles of downtown Dallas.
Or three, you can have incredible intelligence, you will be the smartest man that has ever lived, capable of thoughts no one has had before. What is your choice?"
There was a silence in the room, this kind of thing doesn't happen often. Then slowly all eyes turned towards Dr. Oyos who sat looking up at the cloud, his mouth open. Finally he shook his head, squinted at the cloud and said, "This is probably some prank, but on the chance there's something to it, I'll tell you my choice is clear. I want the smarts. Give me super intelligence."
Suddenly, just as the head of the department finished speaking, just the exact fraction of a second he stopped talking, a flash of lightening shot out of the cloud and hit Dr. Oyos in the head. Everybody screamed. But then there was quiet and the cloud slipped out the window and was gone.
Sitting at the head of the conference table, Dr. Oyos seemed different, enlightened, possessing an energy and presence he didn't have moments before. Obviously he was empowered in a way no one in that room had ever witnessed before. This was the smartest man there ever was. This was a man who could think great thoughts. Everyone looked to him waiting for some enormous words of wisdom. New words, now concepts. The meaning of life even.
Dr Oyos looked around the table slowly and, in a startling moment of clarity, said, "I should have taken the money."
Yea, yea, yea. We’ve heard all that before about the life power of money, cash, mulla, dinero, kip. Its primacy in life. Root of all sins. Provider of all the good stuff.
Well, here are a couple of short stories about money that you might not have heard before. No deep, underlying truths here, I don’t think. Just interesting true stories of winners and losers in life’s play on money.
In 1974 textile tycoons Ozzie and Dan Silna paid about $1 million for the struggling Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association and moved the team to Missouri, where they renamed it the Spirits of St. Louis.
Why did they buy the team? Oddly enough, because they knew the league would be going out of business soon.
The ABA, just seven years old at the time, was in terrible shape: They couldn’t compete with the growing and much more popular National Basketball Association, and ABA teams were losing money or folding altogether. The Silna brothers felt that a merger between the two leagues was probably in the cards, and that some of the more successful ABA teams would become NBA teams, a potentially lucrative opportunity. So they beefed up the Spirits with great young players – Moses Malone and Don Chaney among them – and waited for the league to collapse.
In 1976 it did, and the NBA moved in. One problem: They didn’t want the Spirits. The ABA was down to just six teams by this point (NBA had 18), but the bigger league wanted only four of them – The Denver Rockets (later the Nuggets), the Indiana Pacers, the New York (later New Jersey) Nets, and the San Antonio Spurs. The two they didn’t want: The Kentucky Colonels and the Spirits. Luckily, that didn’t leave the Silnas and the Colonels’ owner powerless: for the merger to go through, every owner had to agree with whatever deal was hammered out. The NBA dealt with the Colonels by offering Brown a $3.3 million “buyout” – and he took it. They offered the same to the Silnas – giving them a $2.3 million profit on their initial investment.
New to pro sports, they turned it down, their million dollar initial investment in the balance.
Also in 1976 at the same time the Silna’s were negotiating with the NBA, Arnold (Ron) Wayne joined with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, fellow workers at Atari computers, to create a new computer company that they called “Apple.” Wayne, the adult of the group, started with 10% ownership of the start-up.
Interesting, isn’t it. Ron Wayne and the Silna brothers – all about the same age – were involved at the very same time in powerful emerging and merging culture-changing businesses. Very Big League… Very Big Money.
Read the articles below to see how things turned out.
Forbes Magazine dated 6 June 2011
From Hoops To Oops?
By Monte Burke
In 1976 Daniel and Ozzie Silna, New Jersey brothers who’d made a small fortune in textiles, owned an American Basketball Association team known as the Spirits of St. Louis. A man named Bob Costas, in his first job as a broadcaster, did the team’s play-by-play on St. Louis radio station KMOX.
In that summer 35 years ago the National Basketball Association, tired of competing with the ABA for players and wary of future litigation, decided to merge with the upstart league. At a meeting in Hyannis, Mass. the NBA agreed to add four ABA franchises: the Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and New York Nets (later to become the New Jersey Nets).
The ABA then offered $3 million each to two other franchises to fold. The Kentucky Colonels took the deal. The Silnas did not. Instead, the brothers and their lawyer, Donald Schupak, stuck with the deal they believed the ABA owners had agreed upon before the meeting: that a team left out of the merger would receive a 1/7 share of the NBA’s “visual media” rights given to each of the former ABA teams that merged with the NBA. The ABA, anxious to tidy up the deal, agreed to the Silnas’ demands.
Here’s the kicker: The deal stated that the Silnas would receive that share of the NBA’s television revenue … in perpetuity.
That wasn’t worth much at first, but thanks to Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and, eventually, Michael Jordan, the NBA exploded in popularity in the 1980s and ’90s. Television-rights fees escalated likewise, doubling since 1997 to $930 million a year in the NBA’s current eight-year deal with ABC/ESPN and TNT.
We estimate the Silnas have pocketed $237 million so far in NBA TV money—and remember, they have no player, employee or arena costs. “We had no concept that it would grow into what it has today,” says Daniel Silna, 66, who declines to provide his own dollar figure. (Brother Ozzie is 78.)
But in the 1990s along came another deal that seemed almost as foolproof. They invested millions with a guy named Bernard Madoff.
“I asked him what the downside was,” Dan Silna recalls saying at what was his only meeting with Madoff. “He looked me straight in the eye and told me that if everything went south at once the most I could lose was 4%.”
South it went, and Silna claims he lost every penny he and his brother invested with Madoff’s firm. He won’t say how much they put in. Irving Picard, the trustee in charge of liquidating the Madoff accounts, insists the Silnas were in fact “net winners” with Madoff. In three lawsuits against the Silnas, Picard is asking for $24 million in “fictitious profits” that the Silnas withdrew from their Madoff accounts between 2002 and 2008 (which is the six-year statute of limitations period). The Silnas have countersued Picard, claiming his calculation is wrong.
The two brothers aren’t crying poor. “Thankfully, we were pretty well diversified,” says Dan. And, of course, they still have the NBA deal, which should yield them around $95 million over the final five years of this TV contract. Dunk that, Bernie.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL October 9, 2011
Ron Wayne, his is the fortune that isn’t
By Jennifer Robison
Apple co-founder Ronald Wayne, in his Pahrump home on Friday, talks about his time with Steve Jobs, who died Wednesday. Wayne, who sold his share of the business for $2,300 in cash two weeks after its 1976 founding, said he never begrudged Jobs his success.
But Pahrump resident Ronald Wayne refuses to dwell on the billions he doesn’t have. In fact, he calls his co-founding of one of the world’s greatest companies a “small part” of his life.
He’d much rather chat about his obsession with slot machines or his new book on monetary policy, but this week that small part of his life has loomed large.
Wayne, now 77, started Apple Computers with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak 35 years ago. Jobs died Wednesday at 56, and Wayne found himself fielding calls from media worldwide.
(As of 2012, Wayne lives in a double wide trailer on the edge of the Nevada desert and drives a 10 years old Chevy Malibu. His principle income? His Social Security check.)
On Friday Wayne reminisced, sharing memories of Jobs and of his own brief but wild ride as fledgling Apple’s “resident adult.”
“It’s not possible to exaggerate Steve’s contributions. He was a giant, not only in the world of tele- communications and computers and tech developpment, but in his influence on sociological development around the world,” Wayne said.
THE NEXT STEVE JOBS?
What lessons can a businessman who was there at the birth of a legend pass on to anyone hoping to follow in the footsteps of Steve Jobs?
Not much chance of that, Wayne said. Jobs was inimitable and irreplaceable.
“I don’t think you could replicate his qualities in anyone else,” Wayne said. “He had certain powerful qualities, but the important fact was, he had them all in one person. He had this unusual ability, as if he were out of a place in time, to stand above the crowd. He could see yesterday, today and what was to come.”
What’s more, Jobs recognized his limitations even as he could spot strengths in others. He knew how to gather people to complement his expertise, and to motivate them in a certain direction.
“It was like playing pieces on a chessboard. He could focus on the vision he had,” Wayne said.
That vision started in 1976, when Wayne partnered with Jobs and Wozniak, who met when they worked for video-game maker Atari.
“Steve had some appreciation for my seniority and skills and abilities, and we got along well together,” Wayne said. “We had long, philosophical conversations on every subject. He was a fun and fascinating person to be with.”
Still, the partners took wildly divergent paths after Apple’s debut. Wayne quit the company within two weeks, taking just $2,300 to cash out his 10 percent ownership.
After Apple, he moved around, working in Las Vegas for now-defunct slot maker TGM Corp., then in California for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where he created model-building facilities. He also was chief engineer for cable and connector maker Thor Electronics in Salinas, Calif.
Wayne holds a dozen patents but says he “never made a dime” on any of them.
Meanwhile, Jobs stuck with Apple until 1985, got fired, then returned in 1996. He developed world- changing technologies, from laptops to smartphones, and amassed the world’s 110th largest personal fortune at more than $8 billion.
Yet Wayne, whose 10 percent share of the company would be worth about $35 billion today, never begrudged Jobs his success. Nor does he look at Apple as the billion-dollar business that got away. He emphatically says he knew even back then that Apple would succeed. He just didn’t want to endure its roller coaster ride to the top. His epiphany came after Jobs established a $15,000 line-of-credit to fulfill a contract with a computer retailer that had a bad rep for not paying its bills.
Jobs and Wozniak were just kids with nothing to lose. Nearly twice their age, Wayne at the time had assets to protect.
“If they live up to their negative reputation, I’m the adult in the room. I’m the obvious target for that $15,000,” he said. “I’m as enamored with money as anyone else, but these kids were whirlwinds. It was like having a tiger by the tail. I had a sense at the back of my mind that if I had stayed with Apple, I would probably have wound up the richest man in the cemetery.”
FUR AND FEATHERS
Wayne, like Jobs, never earned a college degree. He learned engineering on the job. He grew up in Cleveland, enthralled with the illegal slot machines in neighborhood drugstores. He moved to New York City as a teenager, and to Los Angeles in 1956, stopping in Las Vegas on the way.
“Back then, it was a gambling town. It was fun and interesting and much lighter,” he said.
Wayne relocated to Nevada in 2004, settling in Pahrump because it’s quiet. He rarely makes it into Las Vegas.
“You can sleep at night in Pahrump, and there’s nothing I could do in Las Vegas that I couldn’t do in Pahrump.”
Things haven’t stayed quiet, though. It’s been “fur and feathers” since Wednesday. He has fielded calls from media across the world.
“That’s characteristic. For 30 years, I was the unknown founder of Apple. Once someone found me, that was the end of that,” he said.
The interviewers all ask the same questions: Why did he back out of Apple? Does he regret missing out on the billions his share of the company would be worth today? The tone of the queries, and the tack most of the stories take, bother him.
“I sometimes have to fend off the accusation that I was diddled out of something. It’s totally untrue. There was no antagonism. Nobody diddled me out of anything. They knew exactly why I was backing out. It didn’t take me long to realize I had no business being in business. I’m a better engineer than I am a businessman.”
LOSING A FRIEND
Today, Wayne is semi-retired, offering consulting services to small companies that need product- development help and living a “comfortable life” on an acre and a half of land. He started buying gold when it was worth $200 an ounce, and recently published “Insolence of Office,” a book — available on iTunes — that details “the effects of monetary corruption on our governmental system, and how that corruption bears directly upon the personal lives of each of us.”
It took Wayne 30 years to write his book, which advises investors to put their faith in metals, not in paper currency.
“I actually believe the writing of this book justifies my existence on this planet,” he said. “It is profoundly important not only to businesspeople but to people in their private lives.”
His other piece of advice to businesses, and to people who invest in them?
“Years ago, I had a boss who had been a stockbroker. He told me, ‘In the stock market, a bull can make money, a bear can make money, but a pig can’t make money.’ “
Apple is most assuredly not a pig. The company, which jump-started markets for the tablet computer and smartphone, in August eclipsed Exxon as the world’s most valuable business.
For Wayne, the ultimate sadness is not that he no longer is vested in the company. Rather, it’s the loss of his friend and former partner.
“Unfortunately, the fates are perverse and unkind and unjust. I drew very lucky in my genetic pool, and am sitting here at 77, while we ask what Steve, who was a monumental contributor to human society, could have achieved in the extra 20 years I got out of life,” he said. “It’s profoundly unfair.”