Modelry - A Random Walk through Internet Real Estate: Building A Vision for ActiveRain

Building A Vision for ActiveRain

Sunrise Over Mt FujiThank you to everyone in the community for the wonderful feedback on my blog post on what we are doing here at ActiveRain to improve the stability of our techology and Greg's Nino's great interview with me as CEO of ActiveRain.  You have all made me feel incredibly welcome.  Your words of encouragement via comments, blog posts, FaceBook, Twitter, email and, yes, voicemail and phone have been overwhelming and heart warming.  Thank you.

A number of people (Missy, Jon, Jim, Ron, and Alexandra to name a few) have been asking, "OK, we understand what you are doing for ActiveRain right now.  But where are you going?  What is your vision?" or "We understand that technology stability is job #1, 2, and 3, but what are jobs 4 and 5?"  These are great and natural questions.

At this point, I would just answer saying that technology is my focus BUT jobs 4 and 5 are to listen and learn.

It would be foolish for me to walk into ActiveRain (or any other company) and proclaim that I have any or all the answers, and that I have a bold and different vision for the future.   I have also learned that the community, our customers, and our team here at ActiveRain know A LOT more than I do and more than I will about the core of ActiveRain. 

SO, the near future is really ALL about listening closely and learning as much as I can.

What I am doing to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible?  Here's a sample of what I am up to:

  1. I speak to 2-3 members of the community every day about what does ActiveRain mean to our customers, what does ActiveRain do well, and what we can do better.  I am trying to talk to a good sampling of customers ranging from our long-time members to new RainMakers to customers thinking about cancelling.  I am making great friends along the way.
  2. I am on our customer service phone queues.  Today I spoke with Cheryl Kitsch in Katy, Texas.  Cheryl had copied some pictures from the Houston MLS (HAR) into her blog.  She had then deleted some table HTML from the blog post which then caused apparent chaos on the rest of her blog.  We went back and forth looking for a fix (I am no HTML guru).  We ended up deleting the post with the pictures and her blog when back to normal.
  3. I am on our sales queues.  I will randomly pick up the phone to either speak to members calling in to upgrade to a RainMaker subscription and I will call out to new members to speak to them about RainMaker.  Like Sharon Harkness and her technology coordinator Melinda Branch from Champaign, IL.
  4. We are launching our first customer survey.  In the five year history of ActiveRain, tomorrow Tuesday May 17 represents our first customer survey.  Click here to take the survey.  It will be emailed out to all members who have registered for ActiveRain.  We will keep everyone posted on what we learn.
  5. I am meeting as many customers as I can.  I will be at RainCamp in Dallas and plan to attend others in the future as well.  I like to watch our customers use our products.  I will be doing some other things in the community which I am keeping under my hat for now.
  6. I launched a Collage Competition for the month of May on ActiveRain.  Some have questioned the Collage Competition as silly, but here's my thinking.  There are many things in life and business that can be counted and analyzed.  But what ActiveRain means to our community and members is FAR better visualized.  My goal is to really understand what the "promise" of ActiveRain is to our community.  Below are some examples that have already been posted and submitted (randomly picked).  They are amazing and really help me get my hands around the true meaning of ActiveRain and WHY we are different from WordPress and the rest of personality-less blogging platforms.  If there is one thing I have learned, ActiveRain has A LOT of personality.  I am extremely proud of all of the collages that have been submitted.  Please keep them coming.  Two more weeks!
  7. I am using ActiveRain A LOT - the great, the good, the bad, the ugly.  I am reading ActiveRain as much as I can.  I am blogging as much as I can (and saving often).  I am attending all of Steven Graham's seminars on ActiveRain.  I am uploading pictures and having many of the challenges others have.  

At some point in the future, I will be able to talk openly and coherently about the future direction of ActiveRain.  But not today.  The company and community are amazing.   Just like the technology, I need to build a strong foundation here on ActiveRain for myself before I can credibily think about the future.

As always, I would love to hear from you via email, phone (206 470 2908), telegraph, Twitter, Skype, pony express, mail... what other ways can we be in touch?


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Nikesh Parekh

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Comment balloon 30 commentsNikesh Parekh • May 17 2011 02:53AM


Do you know what I find amazing about ActiveRain, Nikesh? That even though it's 200k and growing - it's maintained its feeling of community. It's totally human and I think that's part of the secret AR's success! Even with some of the glitches that have been going on - people here stick together like glue! I love it - I'm proud to be a part! :)

Posted by Emily Read over 9 years ago

I encourage you to keep trying to improve on the performance of the site. As long as the problem is recognized that is progress.

Posted by Jon Quist, Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996 (REALTY EXECUTIVES ARIZONA TERRITORY) over 9 years ago

And p.s. you're doing a fantastic job!!

Posted by Emily Read over 9 years ago

OK I was enthused and about to suggest your post Nikesh until I noticed my photo isn't on your wall. I'm sure it was an oversight... here, let me help:

Mike Mayer, Nikesh's FAVORITE RainMaker

On a serious note, thanks for the update. Your efforts and apparent commitment are remarkable and demonstrate professionalism. You have my full support.

Don't hesitate to keep me on speed dial. Oh, and there's plenty more of those photos if you need extras! 

Posted by Mike Mayer (Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC) over 9 years ago

Thanks for  update, Niki - I appreciate all the efforts and really love what Active Rain brings to my career and social network.  I'm looking forward to hearing more about the short term strategies and longer-term vision of AR, too (I'm rather new to AR, so I know I'll be here for a while!).

Cheers - and have a great week!

Posted by Karen Hawkins, MBA - Langley & Surrey, BC (Royal Pro Real Estate Network) over 9 years ago

Thx for the update.  Yes, often to create a good and meaningful vision, it takes time.  Observe and listen, and then think and you'll get there w/ your team.  Make sure it's a shared vision.

After you get past jobs 1,2,3, in terms of improvements, here's what I'd love to see - these are minor enhancements:

1.  More functionality on our stats - allow us to sort which posts have most views.  this will help us improve

2.  On social blog (which I no longer use since it's so cumberson), add the ability to comment at the end of the post (without having to scroll back up & open the post.

3.  Create a leader board with top called shots - it will get more people involved in suggesting.  (unless you don't want any more suggestions)  Maybe a bonus of 500 pts for every 100 called shots or something.

4.  A way to report spam posts and spam profiles.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago

Debbie * #4 is EASY with the SUGGEST button on the SPAM blog...button turns from YELLOW to GREY and it has been acknowledged to AR as SPAM  * I am viligant in this as it keeps the BLOG roll ROLLING!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 9 years ago

I had no idea what the Collage was about until someone included me in it, and told me about it. Now I know.

I look forward to meeting you next week at Raincamp.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) over 9 years ago

This is wonderful, Nikesh.  It's great to know that AR will always be moving forward.  I took the survey, and would like to say that my #1 wish is for a more robust editor.  Switching to HTML is cumbersome.  Otherwise, very happy here.

Posted by Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador and Business Coach (Century 21 Real Estate) over 9 years ago

We truly appreciate your efforts to move this platform forward. We love AR and look forward to understanding more of your plans for the future after you take care of the present!

Posted by Dick and Dixie Sells, Realtors, Tampa Bay Florida Homes For Sale (Sells Real Estate, LLC) over 9 years ago

I think it's great you are taking the time to be so visable and keeping us all informed. It's just wonderful! I've submitted my survey, hope it helps!

Posted by Elisa Uribe Realtor #01427070, Opening the Doors to California Homes -East Bay (Golden Gate Sotheby's International) over 9 years ago


Thanks for being visible and proactive.  All the best, A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 9 years ago

Dear Niki -

I love Item #6 on your list and with comments #1/3 and #12.

I am in your corner for the long haul.  I love AR and everything terrific about it.

Have a happy day -

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) over 9 years ago

I took the survey, by the way great idea, but now I was trying to link it to help spread the word and the link doesn’t’ work! Thanks for care to know what I think!  p.s.s I didn't get the email.

Posted by Aida Pinto, Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196 (Independent Real Estate Broker) over 9 years ago

Love that you take the time to get our input and feedback.  Love the collages too.  I personally would appreciate the ability to sort out bookmarked posts by date or author inliew of most recent comment. 

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) over 9 years ago

I love the ActiveRain community. But I would like an easier way to search through my own posts (past) without having to go to Google.

Posted by Toni Weidman, 20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL (Sailwinds Realty) over 9 years ago


I tried the link a couple of times and it does not work. Is the survey over, or it is just a fluke?

Posted by Vadim Zolotarevskiy (FunCoast Realty & Management, LLC) over 9 years ago

I filled out the survey and I want the points. Where are they?

Posted by Patti Lyles, DIVORCE, SHORT SALE, FORECLOSURE SPECIALIST (Century 21 Showcase, REALTORS®) over 9 years ago

I did the surevey as well!  Thanks for all you do!

Posted by Brenda, Ron, Lee Cunningham & Tara Keator, Realtors, Homes for Sale - Phoenix Metro (West USA Realty) over 9 years ago

Niki ~ Thanks for all you do and all that will be accomplished ~ To be involved in the community is quite a task in itself ~ The survey is done, good luck to the review board ~

Is there some way to make ALL of Active Rain compatible with smart phones? 

Posted by Karen Baker, Professional Help with Rapid Responses... (Sunset Beach and Beyond Realty) over 9 years ago

Thanks to you all and we are loving the feedback.  Bonus points will be awarded on Friday as we want to give everyone ample time to submit the survey. 

Posted by Kerrie La Guardia, Let it Rain! (ActiveRain, Community Manager) over 9 years ago


Per your post:

"As always, I would love to hear from you via email, phone (206 470 2908), telegraph, Twitter, Skype, pony express, mail... what other ways can we be in touch?"

Please visit with Steven or someone.. or I can send you a tutorial on formatting your signature that will be at the end of your posts ... providing links to your email, telegraph .. :)  , Twitter, Skype, pony express... :),  etc.. (tongue in cheek here.. but providing info at the bottom of your post, on how to connect with you would be helpful)

so that when you invite others to be in touch... there will be a way.  I do not know how to connect with you on twitter or facebook. etc...............  please provide links.. :)


Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 9 years ago
We had 1800 survey responses. We will start awarding points on Friday. It will take several days as we will be doing this by hand.
Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Suplari, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Thanks for the update on the points, Nikesh.  I went searching to see if I had missed something since the points didn't appear, but your comment gave me the answer I was looking for!

And I REALLY like that you spelled "cancelling" with two l's instead of one.  I do that, too.

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, C.O.O., Winslow Homes (Winslow Homes) over 9 years ago

I think your survey period is over, as to points, but I was happy to participate after I found out about it.  Great idea!

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 9 years ago

You just got my reponse today.

How did I miss seeing this before?

That's a mystery for you.


Welcome to Active RAIN, Niki.

Posted by Jim Hale, Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website (ACTIONAGENTS.NET) over 9 years ago

The survey is a great idea.  I just completed it and hope that our input will be helpful.

Posted by Gary Coles (International Referrals), Latin America Real Estate (Venture Realty International) over 9 years ago

Did the survey.
Hope it gives you a good look under the hood of AR.

I just like to see your here and that I can leave you a comment.

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk, Property Management & Sales Experts 951-217-6745 (Property Management & Sales at REALTY WORKS TEMECULA, CA 92590 (951) 217-6745) over 9 years ago

I am an original AR member, where is the survey. Thanks for the info. Were we emailed? Love Active Rain but got left out of this one.

Posted by Carol Barron Cross, Sunflower Homes & Equestrian LLC (SUNFLOWER HOMES & EQUESTRIAN LLC) about 9 years ago

Hi Carol,

Thanks for your support.  We will be doing another survey in the near future.  The original survey was done in May 2011.


Posted by Nikesh Parekh, Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor (Suplari, Inc.) about 9 years ago