An Interview With Activerain CEO Nikesh Parekh (Niki)

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP 0524642

Wouldn't it be nice to get to know a little more about new AR CEO Nikesh Parekh? Anytime a company has new direction, management and oversight people, including me, tend to ask questions, become concerned and even uncomfortable. Change is inevitable and AR is a business.

Everyone deserves the opportunity to be understood, welcomed and heard. Yesterday evening Niki gave me a rang and discussed some of his thoughts about how he hopes to make Activerain a better place as the days and months pass.

My suggestion to him was to allow the members of AR to get to know who he is. Niki welcomed the idea and went as far to suggest I give him a list of questions that he'd gladly answer. So here we go...



1.  Did you cry when you saw the movie E.T.? Do you believe extraterrestrials have visited our planet?

"No.  I was 9 years old in 1982 when ET came out.  I was more scared than anything else (not cool for a 9 year old boy to admit).  The scenes with government infiltrating Elliot's house to kidnap ET haunt me today.
I do believe in extraterrestrials.  The universe is too big and too amazing for other life not to exist.  Did they visit our planet?  I like to think so.  Believing in the impossible makes life a lot more interesting."

2. What scares you?
"Falling.  I had a really bad dream when I was little about an infinite fall (like falling into a black hole).  I still remember the dream pretty vividly." 

3. What's the most embarrassing thing you've ever witnessed?

"Here's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me: When I was ten, I played left field for my Little League baseball team in Pittsfield, MA.  Imagine our uniforms: bright red Tank Shop uniforms, bleached white pants, red stirrups, black Mizuno cleats - I was stylish.  We headed into the dug-out.  I took my seat on the bench.  Little did I know, the previous team had left a humungous wad of Big League Chew bubble gum on the bench.   I sat right in it.  It wouldn't come off.  It was our turn to take the field.  I had to go out to left field with this massive wad of bubblegum spread across my butt.  I was right next to the fan bleachers.  A bunch of "fans" yelled out to me, "Hey Now Bubblegum Butt!"   I lived through the game, but it was painful."   

4. Do you eat fast food? If so, what's your favorite?

"Absolutely.  I am vegetarian.  My wife, kids, and I love Taco Bell.  Three soft tacos, beans no meat, fresco style.  The best $3 meal on the planet."

5. Have you ever been in a fist fight?

"Yes.  I was cub scout and an rabid fan of professional wrestling when I was growing up (Jimmy Superfly Snuka, anyone?) We got into lots of fights. Boys will be boys. 
Since I just told you one embarrassing story, here is another one related to fighting.  When I was in kindergarten at Williams School in Pittsfield, MA, I was picked on and beaten up by two bullies who were twin girls in like second or third grade.  I am not sure why this sticks out in my mind."

6. If you could pick one sport to be a stud at, which would it be and why?

"Sport I currently play: Volleyball.  I love volleyball have played pretty competitively (back in the day). 
Sport I wished I played: Jai alai  Why?  I am not exactly sure.  It seems like fast and semi-dangerous sport.  I am more thinking about the bar conversations when you tell people you are professional Jai alai player.  I bet that never gets old."

7. You've heard about Activerain addiction. Can you see yourself becoming an addict as well?

"You should ask my wife.  It's 11pm and I am still on ActiveRain.  Have you seen your husband recently?  My wife and I generally have our laptops out and the TV on (We love television and have no problem admitting it.  Don't tell our kids).  She has been amused or befuddled by the amount of time I am spending on ActiveRain in the community either blogging, draft blogging, commenting, or talking to her about other people's comments.   We are always toting a digital camera, since we have kids.  Recently, I have started taking random pictures and videos, because "they will look good on my blog."  Someday.  I don't know how many others on ActiveRain have a folder of full of pictures that are just waiting for a blog to accompany them."

8. Besides work & family what are you most passionate about?

"Again, this may sound odd.  I am very active with my college fraternity Sigma Chi.  Other than my wife and kids, many of the great things in my life have been somehow related to the friendships I have developed through my college fraternity.  Advice from my fraternity brothers encouraged me to go to India after college to work in urban slums and try to save the world.  My first jobs and adventures in Seattle came from fraternity referral.  My fraternity brothers coached me on my business school applications.  Some of my most memorable trips around the world have been with my fraternity brothers (remind me to tell you about the great jewelry con in Jaipur over beers in Dallas).  I am on the alumni board and house corporation for our fraternity.  My goal is to just give back a little bit to the organization which has meant so much and given so much to me." 

Posted by


Greg Nino
, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555 

RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)




The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  






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Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time

Niki, I guess this is your official welcome the the site!!

May 13, 2011 12:55 AM #41
1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Nino, You "done good". 
The real scoop!    A little laughter right now is needed and you brought it.

May 13, 2011 01:09 AM #42
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

I still don't know if this was a real interview or one of your oh, so funny pranks - hard to tell when it comes to you Mr. Nino, but I did laugh out loud........once again.

May 13, 2011 01:38 AM #43
Aaron Seekford
Arlington Realty, Inc. - Arlington, VA
Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116

Great interview, Greg. But where are the hardball questions like, why isn't this post featured, or that post? DEFINITELY JUST KIDDING. Loved the questions!

May 13, 2011 01:51 AM #44
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Greg, nice positive way to highlight the "new guy" and a very enjoyable read!  Looking forward to seeing and hearing more of Niki as times goes by.

May 13, 2011 01:54 AM #45
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

For the record,

I chose not to ask Niki questions that I knew he didn't want to answer. I'm also not interested in beating a dead horse about Jon, pricing of AR, purposed changes and such. A lighter side of the new guy in charge is something you rarely get to see. I'll let you guyz blog about the what if's for the next 6 months. :-) As if you guyz weren't going to ask those questions in the comment section anyways!



May 13, 2011 02:43 AM #46
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

And now we know the rest of the story!

Oh the things we learn from your high brow posts my friend!

May 13, 2011 03:43 AM #47
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Good job, Nino!  Niki seems like a fun guy.

MGM Grand in Reno used to have a hai alai court and tournaments.  They had big name players that we had never heard of - probably because we had never heard of hai alai.

@Bob - these guys were not very big - you would be very intimidating on a hai alai court.  :)

May 13, 2011 03:46 AM #48
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Hi Greg - thanks for this post - and entertaining questions. It will be interesting to see the future and structure of AR.

May 13, 2011 03:57 AM #49
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Cool answers to many questions Greg. Thanks for doing that. How can you not well up in tears with the little guy E.T. who you thought had died? Hmmm.... lack of empathy? I see now why people were fired in a flash with little remorse. The government infiltrating Elliot's house reminded me of Market Leader storming the offices of ActiveRain in a hostile takeover. I love Jai Alai too. Super fast game with like a hard croquet ball whizzing by your ears and off the front and back walls. I love that game. ActiveRain addiction shows some hope for this guy.... <smile>

May 13, 2011 04:11 AM #50
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Um. NOt sure that I can continue on AR due to the Taco Bell thing. I have my limits.

May 13, 2011 05:05 AM #51
Billie Hillier - North Las Vegas, NV
Savvy Home Realty Solutions

Fun! Good fun post to wrap up the week with.

May 13, 2011 05:25 AM #52
Jenny Kotulak
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage - Oakville, ON
Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate

Great job Greg but I'm also curious about what direction AR is going in.  Bring on the goodies.  Maybe a task bar that has font colour?  A pop up with announcements from staff so we don't have to go digging or finding out stuff in other member's posts.

Does Niki have his own blog?  I will have to go check him out to see if he has introduced himself to all. 

May 13, 2011 06:57 AM #53
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Greg ~ thanks for the interview.  I think I know Niki like a brother now!

May 13, 2011 07:25 AM #54
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Niki - There is hope for AR!  Just the fact that you would engage in a dialogue with us is a really good sign. 

Greg - You were right to keep it light.  Even Niki may not know what the investors have in store for AR's future.  We can't hold him to promises he can't control.

May 13, 2011 03:15 PM #55
Christine Hooks
Pino Agency - Pennsville, NJ
Celebrating 25 Years in Real Estate!

I think this is GREAT!  I loved your questions, Greg.

May 13, 2011 03:57 PM #56
Nikesh Parekh
Suplari, Inc. - Seattle, WA
Technology Entrepreneur, Executive, & Investor

I actually did not learn to cry at movies until I met my wife.  She will cry over a really good Pepsi commercial.  Recent movies where I cried that stick out in my head are Toy Story 3, Up In The Air, The Time Traveler's Wife (forced to see it), and the Hurt Locker left a lump in my throat.

For those that want more information, please make sure you check out my Update on the Technology at ActiveRain.  

I wish I could give you or anyone else a six month or one year vision for ActiveRain right now.  My first priority is stabilizing the technology.  After we have a foundation, we can start talking about the long-term.

I am just trying to listen and enjoy as much as I can. 

May 14, 2011 05:15 AM #57
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Thanks, Gail!

May 14, 2011 05:56 AM #58
Barrie Clulow
My Time Is My Own - Uxbridge, ON

Nikesh - I for one am glad that the new Active Rain management has indicated they are listening to the members of the community ..... communities are better built with co-operation, rather than confrontation.

Hopefully there will be a replacement for Nikki Jenson who had recently taken on the challenge of encouraging Canadians. Some great Canadian members seem to have disappeared and now only post occasionally if at all.

Your Canadian contingent may be small in the overall picture but I believe we are well represented based on our comparative populations.

May 15, 2011 07:00 AM #59
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Well Greg, leave it to you to ask the questions no one else would.

May 15, 2011 01:38 PM #60
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Greg Nino

Houston, Texas
Providing Real Estate Advice 7 days a week!
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