CEO of the popular Bollywood news portal shares her learnings at NMIMS Navi Mumbai’s online TEDx Talks
Nandini Shenoy’s career is the stuff of Bollywood dreams.
An alumnus of the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, Shenoy launched Pinkvilla in 2007 after quitting her job at Microsoft. Over the years, Pinkvilla has become one of the top entertainment portals in India, with a digital reach of over 40 million.
At NMIMS Navi Mumbai’s online TEDx Talks on March 31, Shenoy, the founder and CEO of Pinkvilla, looked back at her success story, which wasn’t without its share of highs and lows.
Here’s her advice for those who want to launch their own portal someday:
-- According to the Global Dreams Index Survey conducted by luxury skincare brand SK-II, half of the women in the world have given up on their dreams. I’m glad I belong in the other half.
-- Nothing is ever perfect. I did not wait to plan every single detail, and that taught me to combat any challenges we faced on the way. I built my website and people came. We built a community not just from India but around the world by coming up with new ideas and ways to cover stories.
-- Growing up, I could not imagine my life without Bollywood, even though I had no idea how it would fit into my work. After losing my father at 15, the real world hit me, and I did software engineering instead. After moving to New Jersey for my studies, I joined Microsoft in Seattle. But I was cut off from my fantasy -- Bollywood.
-- Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, my favourite film, taught me to be brave and courageous. I soon realised that I wanted to spread the Bollywood charm all around the world. I never went to journalism school or wrote content, but I took a leap of faith. I knew how to create a website, so I bought a domain name called Pinkvilla and started working on it.
-- For the first 2-3 years, I barely got any sleep as I would come home from my job at Microsoft and work on Pinkvilla. One day, a user uploaded an exclusive picture of an actress (Sonam Kapoor), which was picked up by major publications in India who linked back to our website. While we got millions of readers overnight, our website crashed as it was not built for such overwhelming traffic. It was a transformative moment and I decided to quit my job to do Pinkvilla full-time.
-- What looks like a hurdle might actually be an opportunity if you choose to act on it. Being in Seattle was a handicap as I could not attend parties in Mumbai like other reporters. But I used the time difference to my advantage. When their editors were asleep, I had my team in Mumbai sending me stories that I would edit during the day, and they would go online before anyone in India even woke up.
-- With time, we started interviewing bigger actors. My childhood dream was realised when I got to interview Shah Rukh Khan in his own living room and chat about the empire he had created.
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