Feb 10, 2024

Vani Kola

Vani Kola is the Founder and Managing Director of Kalaari Capital, one of India’s leading early-stage venture capital firms. She is a proponent for India’s digital opportunity to create next-gen large scale companies, which will scale globally.

Having been a 2x entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, Vani’s investment philosophy is derived from her successful entrepreneurial experiences. This includes recognizing young, first-time entrepreneurs with passion and perseverance. Vani values integrity in interactions as the key to building deep relationships. She enjoys mentoring entrepreneurs and guiding them into becoming seasoned business leaders.

Vani has successfully led more than 30 investments at Kalaari in e-commerce, gaming, digital content, healthcare and more. Some of her successes include: Dream11MyntraCure.fit, and Snapdeal. Vani currently serves on the board of several companies that are redefining the landscape of Indian business.

Over the last decade, Vani has become an influential voice in the country’s vibrant startup ecosystem. She has been profiled in numerous books and has been identified as one of Fortune India’s ‘Most Powerful Women in Business.’ She is also actively involved in supporting various organizations fostering entrepreneurship and women leadership.

Outside of work, Vani practices the Heartfulness meditation and enjoys Ashtanga yoga. She is an avid reader and loves writing and sharing her thoughts. Vani also believes in sustainable living and grows enough organic produce in her garden to meet her family’s needs.

Episode Highlights

  • Introduction: Nitin Bajaj welcomes Vani Kola to The Industry Show.
  • Self-Reflection: Vani talks about turning 60, reflecting on life, and her philosophy of doing one’s best every day.
  • Mission of Kalaari Capital: Vani discusses her venture capital firm, Kalaari Capital, empowering entrepreneurs and enabling entrepreneurship in India.
  • Impact Metrics: Vani shares Kalaari Capital’s investment approach, impact metrics, and success in generating value for investors.
  • Challenges and Opportunities: Vani discusses the challenges of unlocking human potential and the exciting economic revolution in India.
  • Personal Moments: Vani shares pivotal moments in her life, including successes and setbacks in entrepreneurship and personal growth.
  • Dealing with Setbacks: Vani emphasizes the importance of resilience and self-worth in overcoming setbacks.
  • Finding Fun: Vani shares her diverse interests, including reading, gardening, cooking, and observing people, emphasizing the value of meaningful experiences over scripted notions of fun.

Show Transcript

Transcript - Full Episode

Nitin Bajaj: Hey everyone. Welcome to The Industry Show. I’m your host Nitin Bajaj, and joining me today is the one and only Vani Kola. Vani, Welcome on the show.

Vani: I’m very happy to be here and hopefully this is gonna be fun, but also of some value.

Nitin Bajaj: So looking forward to it and knowing you, I know it’ll be both. So let’s start with who is Vani?

Vani: These are the tricky questions because in one form it could take you a lifetime to figure out who am I? I turned 60 this year, so you’re going to. A lot of reflections and thinking. In fact, I’ve been writing about that. So at one level, honestly, I feel I am a no one. In the long run, every footprint gets erased. And I don’t say this despondently, I say this with a sense of purpose that we don’t think too much about our successes. Or be too critical of our failures. So my life philosophy maybe this is years of meditation, but I feel that every day I will try to do my best. And if I do, then that’s a life well lived. And if I can’t win today. I will win someday. And I’ve lived by that philosophy honestly. And it makes life a little easier because your setbacks don’t feel so final, and they aren’t. They shouldn’t be. But I also believe it’s really important to make mindful choices and live life intentionally. Because that’s the only way you can let go of regrets. And living a life of regrets is no fun at all. But I think ultimately we all have a purpose in our existence and everything that we know we have. If we can give also a hand that brings others along to share the summit. Then I think that’s being human. So to me these are some of the sort of guiding principles of my life that may not answer who I am, but these are the things I believe in.

Nitin Bajaj: No, but that’s our beliefs is what makes us, so that is totally you. And again, thanks for sharing that because I think one of the things with life is as you gain the wisdom, the more you share, the more you get back. And so thank you for sharing that Now. Tell us, one of the many things you’ve brought to life and made it flourish is Kalaari capital. So give us a sense for what it is, what is the mission, the vision, and most importantly, as you have thought through a lot of these things, why do this?

Vani: So from a technicality, Kalaari Capital is a early stage technology focused venture capital firm based in India, and we invest in seed and CDC startups. So they’re pretty young. They are largely, many times. At an idea and a formative stage. So I look at the joy of what we do comes from empowering entrepreneurs to build unique solutions that reshape the way Indians live, work, consume, and transact. But Kalaari to me personally, is something much more than that to me. I started Kalaari because I wanted to give back entrepreneurship in some way, and I wanted to do that in India, where it was just beginning. When I started this journey, the entrepreneurship for work was just beginning in India. And look there are many, economic philosophies that the world has seen over time. But I believe that entrepreneurship is a great economic equalizer and also is the engine for growth. And hopefully better equitability to everyone, right? And so in enabling entrepreneurship. I believe we are also serving the society and the larger cause of making life better for everyone. And so to me, entrepreneurship is a rite of passage a, a purposeful existence. And if I could play a small part. In making that happen in for a few people that’s how anything grows. There is a ripple effect. Every action creates a far reaching ripple effect. So our small actions are never that meaningless and they’re also not so meaningful. If you look to create a tsunami, that may or may not happen immediately, but I think if we keep putting out the ripples, they reach far shore. So that’s how I look at the broader purpose of enabling entrepreneurship and why do it at all. And then lastly, at a more personal level, I’m an entrepreneur myself. So building this kind of an institution is simply everyday challenging yourself. When you challenge yourself, whether it’s in the gym or in another kind of a gym, your mental gym it’s fun, right? Because you, when you work against resistance and or overcome the hurdles or whatever it is, it, redefines you. So I think because every day we are dealing with young people with great ideas and something that could have a purpose on how it impacts many people. And, being able to do that every day I truly feel is a privilege.So I feel. Grateful to do this work, to have the opportunity to do this work that I do. I’m enthus every day to get up and see what I get to learn today, and I get to learn from all these bright young people every single day.

Nitin Bajaj: And you have to acknowledge a couple of things. One is, I don’t know if it’s the causation or correlation, you obviously know this is the whole generational shift and entrepreneurship going from, parents saying, don’t do this to. It becoming sexy. Cool. And the in thing in India, from a generational perspective, again, causation, correlation, I don’t know, but that started right around the time you moved back to India, and I know those ripples you have created several hundred of those. So thank you for doing that. Thank you for uplifting an entire generation and entire country. Where this and what you do has become the heart of the ecosystem. So congratulations and kudos to you and 

Vani: Don’t forget, right? You. Course. Not just monetarily we have done that too. But just in terms of the satisfaction and fulfillment.

Nitin Bajaj: absolutely. That’s one thing as you have realized and so have a few of us, is the more you give, the more you get back, and we don’t give because of that. That’s because as you said, it’s a rite of passage and it’s what we do, it’s the right thing to do, but the rewards are so welcome. Give us a sense of the size and scale and I say that more in terms of the impact that Kalaari has been able to create over the years.

Vani: It is a good question, I honestly don’t necessarily think in that framework. Okay. We have invested in about, let’s say 150 companies over the last 15 years. We invest in about 10 companies, eight to 10 companies a year. And some have done phenomenally well and others have not reached the potential they could have. The process has tremendous learnings for, of course, the founders, but also for us. And, we already talked about ripple effects and, the impact in this business is always very far reaching, and so trying to measure that. Of course there are some metrics to how we measure but I think they don’t. Necessarily do a great service to truly understand. The value creation. But in terms of, first and foremost, there’s a simple measure. Everything is an economic engine to think otherwise is juvenile and the, so you get money. You have to create money. No farmer source seed.

Not to get a crop, you got to get a multiplier of a crop. At the simplest example of that, everything has to multiply, okay, for your effort. Otherwise, why would we ever put effort, right? Financially have we generated value? Because that’s one measure, obviously, right? And a lot of things need to work. Your idea needs to work. You have to have, people need to want it. They have to then pay for it, and they’ll only pay for it because they need it. And you generate a profit and hence you create value. And of course, along comes. Employment that you have created. Maybe you know, somebody’s life got better or somebody’s didn’t. I’m thinking in the context of robotics and somebody loses their job, whatever it is, that’s the si cycle of life continues. But you create value and hence for your investment, your seed that you sold into the ground, you get a crop, you get your return. So ultimate suc measure, of course, it doesn’t matter whether the farmer tilled so hard or dint or whatever, if it gets no crop, you go hungry, right? So you gotta get that money back. And we have done that very well. We have made a lot of money for our investors and I think we would belong in the. Upper quartile. Every single fund of us, ours has, probably belongs in upper quartile of the world. And this was important to me because money today is global and money goes where money can be made. And sometimes in India, we have a funny equation when we talk about money. But this is the reality of economics and, and the underlying principle of how everything works, right? Venture capitalist pharma doesn’t matter. So I think we have done very well in making money for our investors, which was important to us. I. Especially because money is a means to an end. It’s not the end itself. I’ve always been very clear, I why I do this. You asked why do I do this? And first answer wasn’t because that, oh, I need to make a lot more money and this business allows me to do it, but I have to make a lot more money in order to be able to do what I like, which is work on new ideas, work with people, and so on, so forth. So by one measure. Of our impact, right? We have been able to bring money globally into India and prove that Indian ideas and Indian entrepreneurs can actually create value for that money, and that you should bring your money back into India because you received the return, right? If you don’t prove that. Everything else is really just, wasted idealism. So there is a hard metric, of course, right? But the hard metric, of course, is not the intrinsic of the value you create. It’s an absolute necessity. And, acknowledging that with what should I say? No excuses or no apologies, I think is important. So we have done that. We have made money for our investors, and I’m grateful for that, for the founders who enabled us to do that, because if we didn’t, my work could stop. I like to continue to do my work, which is how can I coach these founders and seeing them become these phenomenal leaders? And there’s just a deep joy in that. And, seeing the idea come to life and and seeing people overcome things that didn’t work, but rediscover something else, rediscover themselves. So this is just, the creation process is a very very satisfying process and I like being in the heart of that creation process.

Nitin Bajaj: I love that, that drives the why, that drives the impact, the change the transformation. So as you go through these journeys, as you go through the macroeconomic, the micro, the whole spectrum of. Things that you have to go through, not just as an entrepreneur, as an investor, but also as a mentor to an entire generation of entrepreneurs. If you sit back and say, I would love to know, what’s that one big challenge you face?

Vani: People have so much more to who they are or who they can become, and it’s that journey where someone reaches their full potential or someone doesn’t. So the challenge is really around how do you and we are all human. We are all flawed, right? But we have to work through our blind spots. We have to reach deeper into our reserves. And, it’s a race where someone in, somehow gets to the finish and someone doesn’t. There is a mind game to this. Of course there’s a physicality to it, and that’s actually lesser of the problem, but there is a mind game to it, right? And this is true. In sports. This is true in anything. This is true in art, this is true in business. Because at the end of the day, it’s few. It’s creation and human creation. So how to unlock that, that is really the challenge. How to enable that, how to get people to reach deep within themselves because you can’t do it for them. You can only advise or suggest, or enable is even to arrogant word. How can you just support them to find that?

Nitin Bajaj: I think it’s that inspiration. How do you inspire someone to be intrinsically motivated? Because I think that’s where you light the fire and then they understand, and of course they need help, support, guidance, but it’s that intrinsic motivation Once you light that fire or show them that there is a possibility. I think you’ve done. Most of the work, and then they’re ready to do the heavy lifting, seek guidance, and then transition from there. So I really love that and love that you have that challenge because I can’t think of anybody else better than you to light those fires inside of people. Now, on the flip side of challenges come opportunities, I would love to hear what is that most exciting opportunity you’re looking at?


Vani: What am I most excited about? I’ve always been a reader and a thinker. And hence you could call that a little bit of an introvert, although this is a job that looks like someone is an extrovert. But intrinsically, I think I like to read, reflect things. And why I am saying that is, NRU had his twist with Destiny speech at the. Midnight of getting the independence. And he talked about, a nation liberated. But I think that there are moments that just come together that are. factors over many years that somehow collide and collab to reach a certain mass or certain point. So I’m also somebody who loves really reading history and thinking about it. ’cause there’s a lot to. Learn from it about the future. So the genesis of all of this is I think India is at a cusp of a very big economic revolution. It. We can go backwards and look at 1991 and say, this was the seed and these are the ripples, right? Decades of ripples and many things. A layer and a layer and a layer to come here. But when you come here is a very important, pivotal reflective point, right? Lifetime, to be able to experience it, India as a nation has a very high probability to be one of the leading nations of the world. And this moment hasn’t come for India in over a thousand years. And we happen to be here. That’s the big thought, and so if going to call it a 30 trillion economy or whatever it is, and a highly educated, literate population, probably by that time, one of the largest in the world. And that in a world where there is also declining birth rate and declining education to some degree. Is an advantage. But moving into and the challenges of course are moving into a more and more technology driven existence, right? Today we, none of us know what to do without our. Without internet or without our phone, or we five minutes away from our phone, even in the bathroom for God’s sake. So just think about it. It’s a bit ridiculous, but it’s the reality. And maybe we have a bionic arm. Maybe we and society has so much that it could be wonderful, but also a moment where. It’s like a HG Wealth or whatever, one of those doomsday, it could also be very horrible. We don’t know. But but but for India, I think the economic opportunity is a tri with destiny. Okay? We are in that moment, right? And entrepreneurship, building a broader level of equability because what happens when you don’t build equitability for everybody to participate in it? That’s when you have the revolutions, right? It doesn’t matter with whether it was a Russian revolution or the French Revolution or the cultural revolution or whichever it is. You can’t have a society that has two very massive ends that don’t meet in the middle. But today we have a democratic country, so that’s not likely to happen, right? You have strong institutions to create better economic equitability. You have tech. And India has a technology progress that allows you to not only do better for its citizens, but also offer solutions for many challenges of the world and do it at a certain scale that and a certain cost. That I think is important in making that accessible, affordable to a broader world because the problem with the Western civilization is it was only available, accessible, aspirational for a very small segment of the world. Maybe less than 10% of the world could afford that, but but remember whenever there is that wide disparities, like I said, it’s like physics vacuum, it has to equalize in some form or and it’ll a hundred years or 500 years doesn’t matter, but it’ll or five years, the Berlin Wall, just crushing down when that, so I. That we are at a very important moment in history. But the prob but the sad part of that or sometimes not sad, but sometimes the part of it is we don’t recognize it, right? So because we live this. From a horizon, But I think we are living in a very exciting time. And we may have an opportunity to play a interesting role. And I think that’s just you can call it the lucky card, we are here so we should make the best use of it, 

Nitin Bajaj: I so agree with you and Vani as we talk about the present and the future. I wanna take a moment and look back in the rear view mirror and ask you to share two moments in your life. Again, career personal, where one it, things did not work out as you had expected. It was a failure, became a lesson, but in the other one. Where things took off beyond your expectation and imagination and became an astounding success. I’d love for you to share these two moments with us.

Vani: I don’t look at life. With that much review analysis I don’t know if I even recommend that it’s can become a little bit narcissistic also, but I’ll try to answer your question. And they’re not such crystal clear moments. They’re incidents and they were pivotal, but they’re not that crystal clear moments. But I look at it as. There are definitely forks in our road and we may not even know we are in a fork, and this direction takes you in one way and another direction. We don’t know where it would’ve taken you. And we can look at that, looking back right when you were able to see the broader horizon. And I always marvel at that, and we all have that in our lives, right? And I always marvel at that somewhere fairly young, maybe at 13 or 14 or so. Not really being a great math student, in fact, a mediocre, if not a failing student, to suddenly I got inspired by a teacher who took a specific interest in me and showed a lot of kindness, and more importantly, inspired to say, look, you have the potential. Why are you wasting it? It. And I just, I don’t know, fell in love with math and did extremely well. And that led me to engineering and that led me to, Silicon Valley and that led me to. Start a company and be a technology person and then become a venture capitalist and all of these things, right? It could have been something else and I wouldn’t have this life, right? So there’s, but it’s just those pivots. And likewise, even to start a company, I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur because who does? Coming from a. Middle class Braman family in India and a woman at that, right? It wasn’t something, a iron ran movement of aspiring all my life to be an, I had no iron ran movements. Okay? I just faltered along and, this window opened. So I stepped through that and that looked good, and then the next thing happened and the next thing happened. So just, life happened. And you took advantage of those opportunities as they came to you, as you understood them. It’s, I think, a bit silly to think at nine I would’ve known I could be a venture capitalist. I didn’t know they existed. So how can I dream that? You so I think the, but the thing though is even becoming an entrepreneur, it was that movement in Silicon Valley and a couple of people, much like my math teacher saying, why don’t you go pursue this idea that are talking about?I’m like, I should pursue it. Can I pursue it? Yeah, you can. I can. Okay. Maybe I can, right? So somebody saying you can, because you haven’t thought about it, opens a, a box that you didn’t know existed, right? So these are all important moments in your life because you are surrounded in that environment, right? But. But trying to be more precise about maybe your question. I think when I started my first company as an entrepreneur, I really didn’t know where it was going to go. It was about just, I got to do this right? And if I look back, how stupid, how naive, how little I knew what I was getting into. It’s astonishing really. But I think it’s. Those things are important because it’s really, sometimes you can’t do things if you aren’t foolish. If you know too much you might not do it. But the scale and scope of transformative effect in a short time. And that’s why I call it. A rite of passage. So I started a company in 97 and with a hundred thousand dollars of my own money, which was like literally everything that I had saved for a decade of working. And, then, by 2000, so not that much time, it became a fairly large company. I sold it for 1.2 billion. That journey I couldn’t have ever scripted. Nobody could have scripted, if you try script young girl from a small family. No one in my family had ever. Woman had gone to professional college. No one in my family had ever started a business. And, just if you think about the improbability of it, right? It was it took a course of its own, but more important than the financial. Element of it. What I, what a human can learn in a short period of time. Going from being nothing but an engineer, perhaps a reasonably good one, not even the best in the world or whatever, but decent, right? Maybe. Top 25% or maybe top 50%, I don’t know, but really not the top 1% I wasn’t but from that and having absolutely no background in business, absolutely none. I didn’t even know how to. Work on an Excel spreadsheet at that time, right? Because they didn’t exist. Microsoft Suite you bought from a CD rom Microsoft Word, then you bought PowerPoint, then you bought an Excel, you didn’t buy things you didn’t need because first all, I remember this costed $300. a lot of money. Back then and you went to Fry Electronics and you bought the CD-Rom and put it into so I didn’t even own in Excel but my point is that from that, in four years to figure things out and become be a CEO, be a leader, have thousand people that are working and we had I think over a hundred Fortune 500 companies as our. The customers. That’s rapid learning. And it’s possible for anyone. It’s not there was something special about me. I don’t think there’s anything special about me except that I don’t like to quit. And when tell me I can’t quit, I’m like, no, I can. And and I. Need to go and show that. That’s a bond trait or something. That stubbornness which I think served me but there are those intrinsics of. Human nature, not some IQ that I have that others don’t have. But those qualities helped me, I think, to persevere. But every day of that journey was accelerated. Learning to get from that point to that point. So that’s one point to what you said. In terms of his setback I think my second company somewhere v equally, even more dramatically, very rapidly. I think there was a fundamental disagreement with the board on how we should grow the business. My board wanted to grow it very aggressively. This was second company I started. Hopefully I was wiser better. But I don’t know if I was, but, and that escalated very quickly into, then, we want you to leave the company as the CEO, which then I did. It was like a less than a week process in terms of blowing out of proportion. But, a bigger, higher purpose and out of every setback, and there is one, that’s why you have that. So important to not let that drag you down into a morass and you become the victim and look, nobody has time for you as a victim. That is the reality. And, maybe one cup of coffee and you can cry with your friend, but 10 cups of coffee and 10 they refuse your invitation. Right? The sooner you can get out of that and look for what happened, but I can be bigger than this and we all are bigger than our setbacks. We can be from our mind if we see that picture. So it rapidly escalated into suddenly me not knowing what to do. From working so hard and you lose your purpose and it’s like an amputation. It’s not like a slow process get used to it. And you sa still have those phantom nerves. You get up in the morning and say, oh, nobody needs me today. So that’s very hard. But I think I use the time. To think about, okay, it’s an opportunity. I haven’t had this opportunity to sit back and say, what do I really want to do? What can I do? Where can I add value? And that led me to this path of coming back to India, which I wouldn’t have done if I was still running my company and doing something else the other, right? The setback I had allowed me to step outside of. My own, mundane existence. We are all living mundane existence, honestly. But these moments allow us to come out of that existence for a moment and look at it from an outer body to say, what should I be doing now? And this notion of could I go to India? And everything I’ve learned, I believe India is in this moment. I a difference? You don’t know, but you’ve got to try. You have never done it before. And as in I’ve never lived in India, worked in India before that time. I lived in India, but when I was growing up I had not lived in India for 20 years by that, 22 years, by that time. But can I come back and do something? It was like a big challenge, right? You’ve gotta be willing to take those big challenges and something else beautiful can open up in your life. I can’t look back today and not be grateful for that disagreement that we had. It was a bit actually silly, but but I’m glad we were silly. That got me into completely different fork, right? And, I really have to be grateful for that. The point is I don’t think in absolutes of, oh, this a such a horrible thing that happened to me. Nothing is so horrible really, because that was the path to get you to discover yourself to be something else.

Nitin Bajaj: Vani. I love this, and I have to acknowledge this, that what you said about setbacks and moments. It’s what we do, what kind of choices we make when those are presented to us, do we say, oh, I’m not worth it. I’m. I am doing something wrong. Or we look at that from that perspective, as you called it, the outer body moment, and say what can I do with this opportunity or this moment? And how can I transition this and make it something different, something bigger, something positive. So it’s not easy. It might seem like the world is falling apart, amputation. I love those examples. And it brings to life the. Pain of that moment, but then it’s also a choice that we get to make. And what we make of it is really what we are all about. So I really love you being vulnerable open and sharing those really difficult and challenging moments. But to see you, just take them and. And make something and help so many others get through those is truly phenomenal. 

Vani: I think one thing that’s very important, I wanna say it, I say this to my kids, I say this to young people. How you feel about anything Can’t be about what the other person says or thinks about you, how you feel about anything. You have to find a way that you deeply reach within yourself. Find that sense of self-worth. Somebody says, you are fired, right? Or You are not good enough, or I can’t give you that funding, or you’ll never make it, or whatever it is, or whatever they tell you. That is positive also. All that matters in the end that makes that difference is what you do with yourself and what you think about yourself. And the more you find that inner connect the more you will do things bigger than you thought you could when you set out, but.

Nitin Bajaj: I agree a hundred percent and thanks for saying that. It brings a lot of structure around these ups and downs that we go through, especially as entrepreneurs. Now I wanna take a step back and talk about what do you do for fun?

Vani: I don’t, do I have fun? I don’t know. My idea of fun may not be other people’s idea of fun. I read a lot that’s fun. And I garden. That’s fun. I like creative process, so I actually do a lot of sort of salvage old things and make something out of it and, those kind of things. That’s a lot of fun for me. The giving something old and discarded a new life of. Beauty and something others can’t imagine it to be. I get a lot of thrill from that and someone says, oh, and oh, this was this thing that I made into something else. And I am an experimental cook. I cook a lot when I feel like it so I, the whole food science process is very fascinating. So you know that, and I don’t know, just to take every day meaningfully walk in nature is fun for me. Discovering a beautiful architecture is fun for me. Learning history is fun for me. Knowing people is fun for me. Just knowing where did they come from and just what you are doing right now, but from all walks of life. In fact, especially from a very different walk of life from me. And I can. Have chai on the roadside with someone and learn about their life and feel like that was worth it. And, someone from no Circle of My Life. Discovering people, what makes people. Is fun. In fact, I rarely sit in an airport lounge. I think it’s great to be incognito and observe people because you have time on your hand and you learn a lot through that process, and, learning new things is fun for me. But, we live in a world where today somehow. The notion of fun is also very scripted as like a reality show and I don’t want my life to be a reality show for somebody else, right? And I think that can also be actually quite stressful. And this judgment of. What defines fun, right? I have sometimes young people that ask me, I’m very much into healthy living. I think about nutrition of everything. Taste of course, but I pay a lot of attention to what goes in from sourcing ingredients. How it’s made, whether it’s my clothes, who was the weaver, what was their life? Why, what, just understanding different things and making meaningful choices. I live in a home that’s completely off grid, but designed by us. I. I like that. These kind of things, right? I, but I sometimes have young people ask, I don’t drink. Most of the time I’m largely tea toler. I’m of course vegetarian and never smoked. There is this notion that unless. You really get trashed. You haven’t had fun, and it gets perpetuated. Like that’s the notion of fun, right? And I urge to say, fe again, don’t be apologetic to what’s fun for you. We don’t, you not have to live somebody else’s life. Live your life boldly, right? And you’ll find kinder souls and this fear of acceptance by someone else can’t give you the life that you are meant. To live. Okay. So I think a lot of things I do are not social media bull, if that’s a word, Instagramable or whatever, right? Yeah. So it’s a very, by most conventional notions of boring life within.

Nitin Bajaj: I truly enjoyed hearing about every single one of them. So maybe I’m also boring in that definition. But what the streak I could pick from there is it’s the curiosity of you wanting to find out the new, the history, the. The reason for some things existence, and then taking that and seeing where it can go from there. I think it’s a curious mind that drives that that fun aspect for you. And I don’t find it boring in any respect. I’d be hard find who, does.

Vani: Tell you a quick story. I took a working class some years ago and I was the only woman in the class. God knows why. I thought I wanted a good working class because I knew nothing. I said, I have to learn something about something I know nothing about. And I barely ever even wielded a screwdriver by that time. And then this guy who was teaching the class said, oh I really don’t think this is a fit for you. I’m like no. I’ll show you. So the dining table we have in our home is something completely handcrafted from just log to table, which took me a year to make. And is really, I. A work of art and gives me a lot of joy. So doing and making things and absorbing yourself into it. So I have not some mean carpentry skills now, which nobody would believe that I would considering. I’m five two in height and reasonably petite. But nonetheless, it’s about doing new things. That’s what is fun for me.

Nitin Bajaj: I love that. Now, onto my favorite part of the show, and you’ve been doing this all along. I would love for you to share a few online life lessons with us.

Vani: Few one line life lessons. I could probably recite every dialogue of Lord of the rings star Trek and star Wars and,  So Sci-fi Isaac Hashimo those who are very foundational reading in my ears. I like to go back and reread things. Also there are many books that I go back and read maybe every decade because they open as you grow, they open different meanings to you. A pretty cliched one, but one that I really use in decision making. Do or do not? No, try. Which of course means simply to me that be intentional and be decisive. That’s what it means to me. Maybe there’s something, this is something I wrote about recently, so it’s in recent memory, so I’ll tell you this. And it came from a particular incident, why I picked this line and wrote about it, but we won’t go into that. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle. You know nothing about be kind. It’s something I try to think about in my conduct every day. And we talked about someone telling you can’t do this or that, right? And maybe as a woman I hear a little bit more of that and get a higher share of that than maybe others who knows. But like everybody else. There’s a age where you’re a big fan of Ayn Rand. I was also At 14, 15 or something like that. She has this line that I’ve always remembered and it has helped me. The question isn’t who’s going to let me, but who’s going to stop me? And then another one, Invictus always my pickup line when I’m down. I’m the master of my fate captain of my soul. Loved it both in the poem, but also how Nelson Mandela applied that to his 30 years of incarceration. And, overcame every possible human setbacks to what he did, of course to humanity. But anyway, there are many, but some of these are really life philosophies and you keep going back to them when you are happy, when you are not happy, and you got to find these things that bring you meaning.

Nitin Bajaj: Vani. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it. This has been an absolute gem and several lessons in there personally, even for me. So thank you for making the time. I. Really appreciate what you do, not just for some entrepreneurs, but for an entire generation, for an entire country, and you’ve really led from the front of showing that we can make in India for the rest of the world, and that transformation is here to stay. Thank you. 

Vani: Thank you, Nitin. Was a lot of fun. Probably a very long session, but I had fun with it. And thank you for having me here.


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