(STAR) One of a few recognized modern-day Filipino inventors, Diosdado Banatao treaded the rags-to-riches pathway before becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country.

During his younger days in the humble town of Iguig, Cagayan, he would walk the dirty streets barefoot just to attend school.

Now, a personal jet and a Porsche are among his options for travel.

A visionary in the PC industry, Banatao originally considered becoming a pilot. A twist of fate, however, led to a series of fortunate events. He took advantage of his software-designing ability and technical competence, obtaining his master’s in electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford University after graduating cum laude from the Mapua Institute of Technology.

The journey to his multitude of outstanding discoveries unfolded in the course of his training.

After devising his first chip with calculators, he found his big break in computers when he introduced the first single-chip graphical user interface (GUI) accelerator, utilized nowadays by nine out of 10 PC motherboards, which significantly eradicated the conventional green monitors that can only display text.

Another Banatao brainchild was the first Ethernet controller chip that enabled computers to link up and to communicate with one another without the complexity of the big boards of personal computers.

Trekking tougher roads to entrepreneurship over the years while devising his own chip sets, he founded and served as chairman to several private companies like Mostron, Chips and Technologies, Cyras Systems, Marvell Semiconductor, New Moon Software, Stream Machine, the Tallwood Venture Capital and the California’s S3 Inc. which makes high-speed video chips.

Fitting with his humble beginnings, Banatao is best remembered as the one who pioneered and lobbied for PCs to become cheaper, faster and people-friendly. He invented the chip sets that made PCs affordable to millions of people without suffering their quality performance. When the world’s most powerful computer was the IBM 360, his new chip-set design produced 10 times more power at a much lower cost.

Banatao is considered to be one of the most successful entrepreneurs and innovators in Silicon Valley, the melting pot of semi-conductor and computer-related manufacturers and high-tech businesses in the US and the rest of the world. But the Filipinos stand taller in his presence, hands saluting the incredible genius that is Diosdado Banatao whose amazing discoveries became more than just a booming business, but a remarkable feature of a Filipino’s definition of success.

Banatao will be one of the recipients of the 10 Inspiring Technopreneurs awards at the TechnoNegosyo slated on Sept. 14-15 at the World Trade Center on Roxas Boulevard. Headed by presidential consultant for entrepreneurship Jose Concepcion III, Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) will give recognition to selected Filipino technopreneurs for their outstanding accomplishments in the area of technology.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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