How This Man Earns A Salary From Apple Despite Doing Zero Work

For an industry that's obsessed with massive funding rounds, market valuations, CEO salaries, and founder earnings statements, it might seem insane that one Silicon Valley titan would brag about his $50 a week paycheck, especially when it comes from one of the wealthiest companies in the United States. But that's exactly what Steve Wozniak — the engineer who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976 in a garage — did in a 2020 interview on "Guy Kawasaki's Remarkable People" podcast, saying that he's "still an Apple employee — the only person who's received a paycheck every week since we started the company."

"It's small, but it's out of loyalty, because what could I do that's more important in my life?" he said in the interview. "Nobody's going to fire me. And I really do have strong feelings always for Apple." But those strong feelings haven't always been positive ones. "The Woz" wasn't a big fan of the Apple Watch when it launched, lamenting that the company had gone into the "jewelry market," per The Guardian. When it came to the release of the iPhone X, he was less than impressed, telling CNBC in an interview, "It hasn't been like, 'Oh my gosh, it's the greatest thing in the world.'" And, although he did later clarify his comments, according to CNET, he said that Apple should be broken up into smaller units.

Money obsessions were more Steve Jobs' style

Wozniak said that money was something he never thought much about, but that his partner, Steve Jobs, was obsessed with power and money. "Steve wanted to be important, and he had zero money," Wozniak said in the "Remarkable People" podcast interview. "So he was always looking for little ways to make a next step in money, [and] he wanted to be that important person in life. And this was his big chance, because now he was founder of a company with big money being put in."

According to Wozniak, as Apple took off, Jobs' personality changed. It was all work and no play. "He got kind of strict," Wozniak said in the podcast interview. Between the changing relationship with Steve Jobs and shifting priorities at Apple that Wozniak thought were moving in the wrong direction, he left the company in 1985, per Cult of Mac. With a fortune in his pocket from the company going public, "The Woz" began pursuing some of his passion projects. Although he continued to draw that $50 (after savings and taxes) weekly paycheck all these years — and an undisclosed amount in stock compensation and other benefits — he said, per Insider, that he could never return to Apple full-time: "The thing is I really can't be inside operations because I'm just too outspoken and honest, and I don't want to give that up."