CLOSE

Will Work For ... Nothing? People Who Declined Their Salaries

With Steve Jobs’ passing, I was reminded of the fact that he, for many years, had been taking a $1 salary from Apple, Inc. Other Silicon Valley tycoons, politicians, and captains of industry followed his lead. Here’s a look at a few other folks who’ve voluntarily shed their own salary.

1. George Washington

George Washington received no salary for his role as Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Money was tight for the fledgling nation, and Washington, the fairly well-off Virginia land owner, didn’t need to stress the nearly empty treasury any more than necessary. He did, however, accept the $25,000 annual salary that came with the job of President. He said that to refuse the salary would set an awkward precedent for his successors.

2. Michael Bloomberg

In probably the most obvious “I really don’t need the money” scenario, the Mayor of New York has refused the city salary since he took office in 2002. Bloomberg, whose wealth has been estimated at over $10 billion, doesn’t need the paycheck. He probably receives more in credit card cash back bonuses than the mayor’s salary anyway.

3. Meg Whitman

The new CEO of HP (and former gubernatorial candidate) has opted to receive the fashionable $1 salary from the tech giant. However, read between the lines and you’ll see that Whitman (whose net worth is somewhere in the $1-$2 billion range) has the potential of earning millions in bonuses and the potential for millions more in stock options. At least these payouts are tied to performance, unlike her HP predecessor, Leo Apotheker, who is walking out the door with a $10 million severance check after running the company into the ground. Oh, and he only worked there for 11 months.

4. The Governator

Arnold Schwarzenegger took no salary while governor of California. Some might not see this as a generous gesture since the former bodybuilder’s net worth is probably in the hundreds of millions, but Arnold estimates he probably lost out on $10-$20 million in revenue from missed film projects during the seven years he was governor. More than that, tough though, we the public benefited by not having to be exposed to unmade films like Penultimate Action Hero and Jingle All the Way 3, 4, and 5.

5. Other Tech Guys

Following Jobs’ lead, the following tech company leaders have all taken $1 salaries in the past, but have retained enormous share holdings, and/or earned stock bonuses during the same period: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Jerry Yang and Terry Semel (Yahoo).

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Dave Jones, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
arrow
technology
A Rare Apple Lisa 1 Computer Is Up for Auction on eBay
Dave Jones, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Dave Jones, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

For superfans of vintage Apple products, a working Apple Lisa 1 is the holy grail of collector's items. First released in 1983, the pioneering computer (the first to feature a graphic interface and a mouse) was a commercial failure and only sold 100,000 units, very few of which survived to the present day. But an eBay seller is offering up the super-rare opportunity to own one, as DesignTAXI reports.

The computer in question, selling for more than $55,000 as of January 8, is in mint condition. According to the listing, it has only been turned on a few times.

A Lisa 1 computer
professorinschubert, eBay

As you can see in the video below, everything seems to be in working order.

The seller estimates that there are only 20 to 100 Lisa 1s left in the world. And even for a Lisa 1, this one is a rare machine. Lisa computers, reportedly named after Steve Jobs’s daughter (though there have been some other theories about the name), were the only machines Apple released with its doomed Twiggy disk drives—a faulty format that turned out to be incredibly unreliable, leading to the product’s downfall. Apple then released the Lisa 2 with standard 3.5-inch floppy disk drives, offering customers free upgrades for their Lisa 1 Twiggy drives.

Since most customers jumped at the chance to make their $10,000 computer ($24,700 in today's dollars) run properly, Lisas that still have their original Twiggy drives are incredibly hard to find. The Lisa 1 on sale still has its twin Twiggy drives though, and they work, at least as well as the drives ever worked.

Whether the seller will actually get his $55,000 is questionable. In 2010, a similar Lisa 1 sold for just $15,000. But the model seems to have gained a lot of value since then, since one sold for $50,000 in November 2017.

[h/t DesignTAXI]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
Why Do Honeycrisp Apples Cost So Much?
iStock
iStock

Apples to apples is no longer a valid comparison. As gastronomic writer Sarah Jampel at Food52 has observed, shoppers who prefer a premium fruit experience by opting for Honeycrisp apples can pay up to four times as much as they would for other varieties. When did Granny Smiths become the RC Cola to Honeycrisp’s Coke?

According to Jampel, the answer invokes the old law of supply and demand. There’s plenty of demand for the apple, but prices get engorged when there isn't enough to go around.

The scarcity is a result of the Honeycrisp’s eccentric nature. Introduced commercially in 1991 after being invented by University of Minnesota scientist David Bedford, who cross-pollinated seeds to create a more durable and winter-resistant apple, the Honeycrisp tree demands very specific soil and maintenance requirements. The fruit can ripen at various times, necessitating more frequent harvests; the skin is thin and delicate, so they must be trimmed off by hand. Many of the trees are so delicate they require a trellis [PDF] to support their branches.

All the extra labor means more time and money—the latter of which is passed along to the consumer.

Growers who didn’t anticipate the surging popularity of Honeycrisps were also caught off-guard. As trees can take up to six years to bear enough fruit for commercial purposes, the number of trees currently producing isn’t really proportionate to the level of demand.

That will change as more are planted, although it might be a little while before the Honeycrisp proves to be on the same economic footing as its Red Delicious counterpart. Before you celebrate a cheaper version, remember that growers looking to feed the market might opt to grow the apple in less-than-perfect conditions that could affect its famously crunchy taste. Enjoy it while you can.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios