From Bombay to Bay Area
In October 2017, Google handed over the reins to its waning AndroidTV segment into the hands of Mrs. Shalini Govil Pai, appointing her as the General Manager of the subdivision and relieving her from the designation of senior director of YouTube. By the end of 2018, AndroidTVs registered an impressive 10% market share growth despite facing extremely stiff competition from established leaders like Roku and Amazon.
Shalini’s illustrious professional journey, involving her role as a technical director at Pixar and extensive experience in the field of media distribution at Google, is a specimen of a career exhibiting romance between talent and passion. Consistently aware of the future challenges and the current developments in the media and graphics industry, her intuitiveness and zeal have enabled her to lead a life that she envisioned as a student. She earned her prominence in the field of Computer Graphics and later switched to the distribution aspect of film making.
The inheritance of artistic temperament from her mother and scientific disposition from her father, amalgamated with her affinity towards Bollywood, cemented her aspirations to be a computer graphics (CG) designer. The flare to pursue such a career was kindled when her father introduced to her a Silicon Graphics machine, a rarity in those times that could render basic objects in color. The machine, that was primarily intended to aid her father in research work, induced her to strive arduously to achieve her ambitions. Being naturally good in math and science, she got admitted herself to IIT Bombay in CS branch for obtaining a coding background. Nonetheless, her road to working in the CG industry wasn’t without potholes as she earned the distinction of being the only female student in her department, thus posing a fair share of academic problems in her initial days all thanks to the stark gender ratio of those times. The Internet was still a thing of the future, mobile phones were yet to make an appearance and Computer Science was still an emerging field of study.
After completion of her B.Tech., she was enrolled for masters at Pennsylvania State University, on the recommendation of one of her professors. It was on the dint of sheer grit and enthusiasm that after nudging several people at Pixar, she was inducted and later instated as the technical director. Her decision to work with Pixar came at the kairotic moment as Pixar soon released its highly acclaimed first full-length CG feature blockbuster Toy Story that was soon followed by another blockbuster A Bug’s Life. Both the films garnered tremendous critical and technical acclaim and Shalini’s stupendous finesse in contributing to such modeling projects earned her a reputed profile in the Valley. To assist new learners, she also authored two successive books on CG that gradually became the standard textbooks in universities.
In 1999 she redirected her efforts towards entrepreneurship and experienced several up and downs. In 2006 she became a part of Google and gradually rose up to the position of Senior Director in YouTube. Her decision to become an employee of Google was intuitive to the changing film distribution landscape in the world and the emergence of the Internet as the popular medium for exchanging media. Having worked for content creation she found it appropriate to avert her focus towards content distribution. She was the lead product manager for ChromeCast for three years before being assigned to YouTube in 2010. Her responsibilities included defining the technical and business strategies for monetization of the videos on the platform. Despite YouTube still being in a comparatively nascent stage at the time of her joining, she contributed to developing it into the phenomenon we know it as today.
IIT Bombay has always had the fortunate legacy of producing eminent role models as alumni, gracing the institute, and Mrs. Shalini is a very prominent inclusion to that. Appreciating her adroitness and the relentless efforts complementing it, she was presented with the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award the previous year at IIT Bombay. Not only has she inspired strong woman emancipation but she is also an exemplar of hard work. We wish her the very best in all her future endeavors.