Dado Banatao(Reflection)

Dado is one of the only two students, after their elementary graduation from Malabbac, Iguig, Cagayan, Philippines, who was able to study in high school. He pursued a degree in electrical engineering at Mapua Institute of Technologies (where he graduated cum laude) after graduating from high school at Ateneo de Tuguegarao.

Dado worked as a trainee pilot at the Philippine Airlines after graduating from college and later as a design engineer at Boeing—he became one of the designers of Boeing 747. He took the opportunity to take up Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University while staying in the US.

Dado worked at various semiconductor companies like National Semiconductor and Intersil after finishing his master’s degree. He is credited for his innovation in the semiconductor industry and is also known as the “Father of the Semi-conductor.” He is the current chairman of the Philippine Development Foundation.

This is to introduce Engr. Diosdado Banatao, who pushes the boundaries of being a Filipino Engineer. He’s a perfect model for many Filipinos to exceed the potential and innovate more for the country’s pride. Develop things from your own resources. Create something from nothing. Respecting status and encourage people to learn and attain knowledge.

“Growing up, we didn’t celebrate birthdays. The way we’d celebrate is we would go to church that day. It was so basic.”

– Diosdado P. Banatao

An inspiration quote Mr. Banatao shared. Growing is just not celebrating birthdays and have a party. Growing is to celebrate God, going to church with your loved ones, the family. Growing up is just a learning to accept and receive God as our mentor, our guide and our father. These value now a day going to church is obsolete, young people are busy with their iphones, ipods, laptops and computer games without even minding to pray or go to church.

The story start from a young kid, a son of a farmer, from a typical barrio here in Philippines, living without technology, no electricity. He just learn math with a bamboo stick, no calculator. He learn things on his own, he develop his self with natural resources. He grew as a mature kid. When he and his classmates finished the 6th grade, they stop studying, they were required by their parents to help them on their farm, but Dado’s case is different, his father allows him to continue studying rather than to help him in farm. His father wants a better life for him, “His job was to put food on the table, my job was to study.” A touching words from his father, that whatever happen, he’s a father, it’s his responsibility and he needs to study for his better future.

He continue his highschool far from them, feeling inferior from his classmates. They live in a city, while he came from a farm. While his friends’ playing basketball, he’s studying. He’s a loner person, detached from trends and games. He just study and study.

When he turn to college, he study engineering. An eagerness to build things, to build any figure. After he graduate, he seek for job here in the Philippines but there’s no luck. So explore, he go to America.

Dado Banatao was born on May 23, 1946 to a rice farmer and housekeeper where he grew up in a little barrio named Malabhac in the farming town of Iguig in Cagayan Valley Province. When he was a kid, Banatao used to walk barefoot to school along the dirt roads. He then went to Ateneo de Tuguegarao and at 15 pursued college education at Mapua Institute of Technology where he graduated cum laude with an Electrical Engineering degree.

Dado was then offered a job after graduation at Meralco but then he turned down the offer after knowing the starting salary. He instead applied as a pilot trainee at Philippine Airlines, which paid much more. Little did he know that a turning point of his career will come when Boeing pirated him as a design engineer and brought him to US.He then enjoyed engineering and later on pursued further studies taking a Masters in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University, which he completed in 1972 to be trained properly on his craft.

In 1984, Banatao and his business partner Francis Siu, founded a high-technology company, Mostron, starting with a capital of half a million US dollars. Mostron was launched as a manufacturer of motherboards. They also have hired Ron Yara of Intel as the companies executive. After he developed a five-chip set, he co-founded Chips and Technologies in 1985. The company developed system logic chip set for IBM’s PC-XT and the PC-AT. In just for 4 months after the company was selling chip sets, the company earned a $12 million profit. In 22 months, the company went into public. In 1989, Banatao launched his third start-up company, S3 Graphics, with Yara in Santa Clara, California. S3 focused on enhancing the graphic capabilities in personal computers by using a graphic accelerator chip. The key to this was, Banatao’s invention of a local bus. The company had an initial public offering of $30 million. In 1996, the company became the leader of the graphic-chips market, beating a strong competitor, Cirrus Logic, Inc.. In the same year, Chips & Technologies was sold to Intel for about $300 million. In 2000, he decided to start-up his own venture capital firm named Tallwood Venture Capitalwith a capital of US$300 million, all of which came from his own pocket. In 2010, Banatao became Ikanos Communications’ CEO after Michael Gulett resigned as the company’s CEO and President.

While at America, living there was so intimidating. Everyone seems smarter that him, so he studies twice as hard as he can. He saw an opportunity, he designed his own better computer. And started a company. But the company failed. Learning from these experience is to boost more as you could. Grow your self, don’t let yourself down, yet start again for better. Succession is not easy come easy go, if you see success, grab it and don’t let it go.

True learning comes from experience, you should stumble down before you can stand out for better. Learning is everywhere, just make things different out of it’s default state.

Truly Dado Banatao has come along way being a veteran entrepreneur and venture capitalist of Silicon Valley. May his successful life story continue to inspire us to pursue our dreams, ambitions and aspirations despite adversities in life. Keep the fire burning. Dream… Believe… Act… Achieve.


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