SANTA CLARA, CALIF. -- Entrepreneurs have to squeeze a lot into a day to get ahead, and it's easy to see how Kieth Sorenson does it.
The bespectacled and energetic president and founder of Wall Street darling RasterOps Corp. goes through the day on fast forward.
His public relations agent tells reporters to bring a tape recorder to keep up. She doesn't exaggerate.
While demonstrating the company's video-in-a-window technology, he occasionally freezes a photograph-like frame of Sean Connery and Harrison Ford bantering in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," as the movie plays in one window of a computer monitor behind him.
Since going public at $12 a share in May, RasterOps has seen investor confidence rise with equal haste despite a high-tech slump.
Investors bought the stock as high as $20 a share, although it has recently traded in the mid-teens during a shaky market.
A competitor, Radius Inc., went public earlier this year at $10, but now trades well below that figure.
In the first quarter ended Sept. 30, the company reported a 65 percent sales increase over the comparable period in 1989, to $16.5 million.
Profit vaulted 182 percent to $1.4 million. Analysts project fiscal 1991 sales of $70 million.
The Santa Clara-based company makes photograph-quality color-imaging products for the graphic arts, printing and publishing industries.
Sorenson, 43, said the company has had to control its growth to keep investors confident about upcoming quarters.
"We're in a high-tech industry," he said. "If you grow the same next quarter as this quarter, they think you're dead."
Its products are used to design Time magazine, MacWorld magazine, Newsday, The Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report and USA Today.
Its non-media clients include Boeing Corp., IBM Corp., General Motors Corp. and Polaroid Corp. Product designers use RasterOps technology to design catsup bottle and other product labels.
Thanks to RasterOps, the FBI can take a photo of a 3-year-old missing child and use information from the parents to put together a computer-generated image of what the child might look like five years later.
President Bush reportedly uses the technology for slide presentations, but Sorenson concedes he doesn't know what the president does with it.
Sorenson launched the company in 1987 and aimed at automating graphic designers with its realistic 24-bit color and video-integration products.
The company has targeted the graphic art market rather than the computer-aided design and manufacturing sectors targeted by most of its competitors.
"We think there are more people laying out pages than there are people designing cars," Sorenson said.
With only 5 percent of the graphic design industry automated, he said, the company's market is wide open.
But putting its video-in-window products on Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh computer means competing with Apple's own products.
RasterOps competes by trying to stay ahead of the mammoth computer maker, Sorenson said.
"We would like to be two years ahead of Apple," he said. "But if we are one year ahead of Apple, we'll be satisfied."
The company was the first to branch out to make products for computers made by IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc. and Digital Equipment Corp.
"The Mac was just one heck of an opportunity back in 1987, and we didn't let it pass us up," said Sorenson, one of three founders. "What we say is we're lucky -- lucky meaning prepared in the face of an opportunity."
Sorenson got interested in graphics technology between 1979 and 1987 while working at Ramtek, a Silicon Valley maker of computer-imaging and display systems for minicomputers.
He envisioned graphic designers using similar technology on less powerful personal computers.
Ramtek management disagreed and Sorenson founded RasterOps.
Although he was raised in Minneapolis, Sorenson was born in Los Angeles and attended San Jose State University.
In 1968, after spending a four-year stint working on intelligence-gathering planes for the U.S. Navy, he designed test equipment for United Airlines Inc.
After joining the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1970, he got his first taste of flight simulation and the technology that later became known as multimedia.
The question for many entrepreneurial founders is how long they can stay on top of a fast-growing technology company before getting kicked upstairs and replaced by seasoned corporate money managers.
Some, such as Sun Microsystems founder Scott McNealy, have defied the trend, but a number of Silicon Valley founders have succumbed recently.
Sorenson said he's not going anywhere soon. "The entrepreneurs have managed to hang in here in the $70 million range," he said.