Five business lessons from Dado Banatao, the 'Pinoy Bill Gates'

Jovan Cerda (The Philippine Star) - February 28, 2015 - 5:02pm

CEBU CITY, Philippines - How does one succeed in the tech startup industry? We posed this question to Diosdado "Dado" Banatao, a trailblazing entrepreneur who made it big from the sleepy town of Iguig, Cagayan to the bustling tech companies of Silicon Valley.

After earning his electric engineering degree from the Mapua Institute of Technology, Banatao worked as a pilot, before studying a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford University. Known as the "Pinoy Bill Gates," Banatao co-founded three tech companies and one venture capital firm.

Banatao flew over to Cebu on Thursday for the second annual IDEA Global Entrepreneurship Symposium and Workshop, a project between his organization, Philippine Science and Technology Development Foundation Manila, Inc. and the United States Agency for International Development. Through IDEA, engineering students and budding entrepreneurs learn from Silicon Valley technopreneurs tips on how to make it big in the tech industry.

Here's what Banatao has to share to future entrepreneurs who want to be successful in their own fields.

1. Know the ins and outs of the industry you want to be in.

Banatao said "a very high percentage of entrepreneurs went into industry before they started their startups. The experience gathered by being in an industry is a source of confidence. That produces other traits- you don't give up easily if there are a lot of obstacles. You learn the overall and the other aspects of business. If you go into the industry first, inherently you are exposed to the learning knowledge on how companies are built, and you bring that to your startup."

2. Expand your network.

"In industry, naturally you get exposed to seminars, conferences, you go to presentations or your industry events and you meet a lot of people. You meet your competition. You get an understanding of the players in the market. You begin to know the key people in the industry who are going to help you."

3. Find the right mentor.

"Mentorship becomes very personal in nature. There has to be trust. The best ones are those who already have that personal  connections, trust in each other. It's about the respect that he gives you so that he can give you the best advice. When there is respect, the connection is the best."

4. Understand the market needs.

"Whatever interest you have, you have to dissect the market. A product should be designed for that need. An evidence that you hit the right requirement could be exemplified by a customer saying, 'This is exactly what I have been looking for.'"

5. Have a burning desire to make it big.

"Challenges lie everywhere- from starting the product to raising the money. The problem is big and you can divide it to chunks but those chunks contribute to everything. It's a massive amount of problem. It has to be a burning desire because you will really be put to the test. If a person quits, he was really not meant for that. You will have to continue despite worse conditions. Everybody will be successful if it's not easy."

 

BANATAO GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP SYMPOSIUM AND WORKSHOP INDUSTRY INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MAPUA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY PHILIPPINE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION MANILA PINOY BILL GATES SILICON VALLEY STANFORD UNIVERSITY
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