[100 Emerging Women Leaders] From a VC investor to turning author: The story of Shalini Prakash
Shalini Prakash was always fascinated with the world of entrepreneurship.
“Once you’re in the ecosystem and you start following their stories closely, you get to see the good, dark, and ugly side of entrepreneurship. Or anything that looks glamorous from the outside,” Shalini, the author of Clueless at 30, shares with HerStory.
As someone interested in social identity and identity crises, Shalini finds the situation to be extremely prevalent among the younger generation. “I know, I did,” she says.
Hailing from a South Indian family, Shalini came face-to-face with the blueprints for success, beginning with a laid-down path that involved pursuing engineering.
As expected from her, she studied engineering, but in her 20s, questions about what she would do next took precedence.
“In my mid to late 20s, I started thinking that if I did everything right then, why do I feel so lost? Why don’t I have a sense of direction, and why don’t I feel happy?” she recalls.
For Shalini, while her peers and everyone else around her were settled or settling down, as time went on, it was evident that many people were going through similar dilemmas.
This led her to do something she loved: understanding human behaviour, and her debut book, Clueless at 30, is a culmination of her curiosity about the topic. The book chronicles not only her journey but also of those she personally knows and entrepreneurs.
While being a venture capital (VC) investor and an author might seem like two different parallels, Shalini finds similarities in terms of observation. Since she has had a startup of her own, her entrepreneurial journey has shaped the way she thinks. “I think the similarities would largely be around the hustle and the commitment to see things through,” she says.
When it comes to dealing with biases, Shalini takes a leaf out of her book: “As long as you’re not defining certain boundaries for yourself, or having an idealistic avatar of how you need to be when you’re playing certain roles, and tell yourself it’s okay to not be perfect, it’s alright if there are gaps.”
“The world is your oyster,” she advises women. “It’s all about how you’re viewing yourself.”
Edited by Suman Singh