Sunday, June 03, 2012

Dado Banatao's Local TV Interview

Dado Banatao was interviewed at the Bottomline with Boy Abunda over ABS-CBN Channel 8 last 2 June (Saturday 11:45 PM). Format is one-on-one interview observed by a live audience mostly students. In between interviews, there would be photos inserted to show the past.

Dado is a Filipino billionaire who made fortune in the IT industry at the Silicon Valley. Son of a Cagayano farmer from Iquig Cagayan, he studied in Ateneo de Tuguegarao, took up Engineering at the Mapua in Manila and eventually went to post college studies at the Stanford University.

The interview was not about the rise from farm to riches nor about his wealth but insights on what he believes in.

The messages I picked up from the interview was wealth provides you with resources which you do not have when you are poor. If not inherited, it is hard earned. The challenge for wealth is it must be spent well. Defining what poor is, he gave a basic and relative definition where rich is having provision for shelter, food and education and the poor the lack of them.

He values trust which he validates and revalidates. When in the company of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in meetings, all of them discussed competitively and aggressively (lagao in local language). He is a believer of science, a fact-based person but still after thorough preparation listens to instinct. As a leader, he is hard, fair and objective and has low tolerance for non-performance (Steve Job is a difficult to deal with). He supports outsourcing as it provides more resources you can learn from. He does not support union as it results in group output undermining individual performance (Silicon Valley has no union.)

Dado walked to school in Iguig in slippers and did not get his 1st pair of oversized shoes until the 4th grade which we used for several school years. He recalled not celebrating birthdays other than attending mass. Today he spends birthday with a simple dinner at home or outside with family. He is not at home attending socials. Dado in his college days watched movies for relaxation, not Filipino but American movies. He declared he did not have a hero model neither does he have a dream. Today he relaxes by flying his plane.

Dado values mistakes as there are great learnings from the situation. Important to him is grounding yourself with market realities then work hard with discipline. While there is a luck element, set it up.

He has established 5 foundations to support the Filipino engineer scholar as a way of pay forwarding. The Filipino talent is strong in software development but lags in hardware creation. Dado is a firm believer of quality education.

The episode Bottomline closed with Boy asking his guests at the panel their impression on the interview. Most students said they were inspired by Dado. A female entrepreneur was more elated saying it is electrifying as there is a genius amidst them.

The host shared an off camera line threw in by his guest, "only the paranoid survives!" That line  tells a lot about the competitive informational technology world. Connect it with what he shared about the value of integrity and keeping it within family, it must be a dog-eat-dog businesss. Yet despite these, Dado Banatao, son of a farmer from Iguig Cagayan suceeded and remained humble.

Two related articles on Dado as posted in the Manila Bulletin and by a fellow blogger who watched the same show are in these links.

Diosdado Banatao is Chairman of PhilDev.

Humanity Captured at the Pipol Interview with Ces Drillon over ANC
• Each time I see a computer, I sense I have a part of me there
• When the kids grew up, I discovered that they treasure some moments which I did not pay attention to. Like watching their basketball or baseball games. I was busy but I knew I can adjust had I know but I could no longer reverse lock. . . . The kids grew up alright, thanks to Babes.
• I’m in heaven when I work.

1 comment:

  1. At the wake of my cousin Leonardo in Manila, one of the persons who paid last respect was his high school classmate at the Ateneo de Tuguegarao, Dado Banatao. Dado was a major enabler of Info Tech at Silicon Valley having created the motherboards, microchips and worked with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
    I took the opportunity to introduce myself fascinated by his success as disclosed in a TV interview of Boy Abunda "Bottomline" way back 2012. I so admired him not because he comes from Iguig, a small town in Cagayan but because of his humility which led me to write a short article about the talk.
    The night of his Manila visit this 13 March 2014, I asked him about the progress of his advocacy to elevate the literacy level of IT in the Philippines. "Not yet at its threshold, challenged but encouraging," he said as I paraphrased.

    The start of the mass cut short our talk but that moment with Dado, was like the closing line he blurted out in his TV talk, "I'm in heaven when working."