Vinod Dham is an engineer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He is known as ‘Father of the Pentium Chip’ for his contribution to the development of Intel’s Pentium micro-processor He is a mentor, advisor and sits on the boards of companies, including startups funded through his India-based fund Indo-US Venture Partners, where he is the founding managing director.
Vinod Dham’s accomplishment as ‘Pentium Engineer’ and as an Indian-American technology pioneer from Silicon Valley was observed at an exhibition on South Asians in National Museum of Natural History at the storied Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., highlighting Indian-Americans who have helped shape America.
Vinod Dham was born in 1950s, to a Punjabi Hindu Kayastha family. His father was a member of the army civilian department who had moved from Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan to India during the Partition of India. Dham graduated with BE degree in Electrical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering in 1971 at the age of 21. At the age of 25, he left his family in Delhi (India) to study for MS degree in Physics (Solid State) in the US, arriving with just $8 in his pocket. He is married to Sadhana and has two sons. He has three brothers and a sister.
In 1993, Dham was named one of the Top 25 Executives in the US Computer Industry. In 1999; he was named one of the top 100 Most Influential Asian Americans of the decade. In 2000,he was appointed to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by President Bill Clinton. On 1 January, India’s magazine India Today listed Dham among the Global Indian Achievers. Dham said; the survival instinct is the critical factor underlying the success of Indians in Silicon Valley.
Dham was profiled at the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas in 2007, organised by the Ministry of Overseas Affairs of the government of India, a high recognition for Global Indian Luminaries including Amar Bose, Indra Nooyi, Vinod Khosla, Arun Sarin, Lakshmi Mittal.
Dham was profiled by India Abroad among 50 Most Influential Indian Americans.
Scribd profiled Dham amongst great Indians of this Century and contributing today.
Dham was awarded the NRI Achievement Award at the NRI Global Summit in Oct 2009 by the NRI institute, a New Delhi-based nonprofit.NRI Institute has a nearly 30-year history of recognizing Pravasi (non-resident)such as Sam Pitroda,Chairman of India’s National Knowledge Commission,Lord Swaraj Paul,British Parliamentarian and Founder of Caparo Group, and Baron Karan Bilimoria of Cobra Beer.
Dham was profiled among the first and notable Indian American Achievers by the Asian Pacific American Program established HomeSpun:Smithsonian Indian American Heritage Project, which will chronicle the story of immigrants from India and their descendants in America.
On 22 April 2011, Dham was given People Choice Award and Special Jury Award in the category of Science and Technology by Times of India Group’s ‘Light of India Awards’; recognizing Indian achievers abroad.
On 13 November 2014, Dham was honored with ‘Lifetime Accomplishments Award’ by VC Taskforce,a Silicon Valley-based organization boasting 6000 members dedicated to promoting innovation through Venture Community.
- “The best thing that happened to me was joining Intel and the best thing that happened to me was leaving Intel.”
- “Electrons move at the same speed whether at Intel or AMD.”
- “You know, if you are here in Silicon Valley 10 to 15 years and you have not stepped out and done a startup, there’s something wrong with you.”
- “Speed was God for us when we designed Pentium. All we did was to build the fastest BMW or Lamborghini equivalent of a chip, and you were a hero. Now, it’s more like building an efficient Prius or a Nano. It may not go very fast but consumes less power. A total paradigm shift has occurred in the chip industry. It is evident with the ARM chips, being used to build new devices. These chips may not run as fast but they can run your iPad or netbook for weeks. That wasn’t the case in the 80s and 90s.”
- “To stay globally competitive the nation must do better at steering its youth toward engineering careers”. Vinod Dham is among a growing number of technology executives warning that the U.S. faces an Engineer shortage.
- “More and more, Sand Hill Road (a key location for VCs in Silicon Valley) money is moving to India. It’s clear India’s time has come.”
- Dham on cell phones usage and its future: “There is nothing except maybe Excel spreadsheets that you can’t do on a cell phone. You can do mails, SMS, MMS. You can do photo sharing. You can find the nearest restaurant. You can’t do the latter on a laptop. It’s a far richer medium. You will see a lot of big screens in the home and a cell phone won’t compete with that. But the ubiquitous device that you won’t leave home without is the cell phone. In India, when they’re fishing, they call back and say how many pounds of fish they caught and when they will be back. That creates a real-time market with buyers.”