You know how when you talk to someone you can instantly feel strong resonance? I felt that with Shakti. He gave time and attention to young people before anyone else validated them.
He was kind and full of energy. He was helpful to me when I was getting started. He generously introduced people in the Indian builder ecosystem to each other, like this message he sent me a few weeks back.
He was on a mission to democratize access to opportunities, especially for Indians in tier 2 and 3 cities.
Out of the conversations I’ve had with him, a particular one in March stood out to me where we discussed his vision and values. Immediately after the conversation, I spoke to a few people about the ideas we discussed.
Shakti might be gone, but his ideas, values, and energy should persist.
One of Shakti’s core beliefs was that ordinary seeming people are capable of incredible things if they are given the opportunity. The internet seems like an open place filled with opportunities. But if you aren’t plugged into particular parts of the internet, you don’t see any of those opportunities.
He was building Devfolio to be a portal for young builders to get opportunities they didn’t know existed. Or if they knew existed, didn’t know they were capable of. Participate in hackathons, build your profile, meet other builders, and access opportunities that your social graph doesn’t let you. He lead ETHIndia, which helped many young builders, including the founders of Instadapp.
There are many talented, energetic builders who languish in the Indian system. A particular culture around parenting, schooling, and marriage can sometimes restrain free thinking, entrepreneurial energy. This is definitely changing in some parts of India. But Shakti deeply cared about people in parts of India where this culture hasn’t changed.
Can’t you just say FU and pursue whatever you want? No, you can’t. While Shakti was idealistic, he had a practical and empathetic way of working with people. Young people don’t want to disappoint their parents or alienate their friends. Shakti worked with many young people to help them pursue their dreams while still empathizing with some of the restrictions they might have.
I admire his honesty and generosity. Thanks Shakti. You will be missed.