Earlier this month, I was honored to be renewed as a Microsoft MVP. This is the third year in a row I have received this award.
Although Microsoft is not specific about criteria, I believe that I receive this award primarily because I've been willing to share whatever knowledge I have with those around me. This community involvement, helps Microsoft to evangelize their products and it happens to be something I enjoy doing.
For me, there are two main benefits of the Microsoft MVP Award.
1. It is recognition that I'm doing some good in the world and that my skills don't suck. I won't pretend that peer recognition is not important to me. I get warm and fuzzy when I earn the respect of someone I respect and this is some pretty nice validation.
2. I get to attend the Microsoft Global MVP Summit. I go to a lot of conferences and each has its strength, but the MVP Summit attracts a high concentration of really smart people. Attendees get to see the next version of Microsoft products and even provide feedback to affect the direction of the development of these projects. But for me, the best part of the conference is the chance to talk face-to-face with authors, speakers, bloggers, and product team members. Many times, I've had the chance to meet someone
The MVP program does provide other benefits - most notably free software, both from Microsoft and from its many partners. But, for the most part, I could receive this through my work or my user group anyway.
As with most awards, many others helped me to earn this one. The volunteers at the Great Lakes Area .NET User Group (GANG); the speakers who traveled to Detroit for GANG; the conference organizers and user group leaders who invited me to speak at their events; and INETA, Sogeti, and Telerik, who helped by financially supporting my travels, making it possible for me to speak far from home; and everyone who agreed to appear on my TV show.
Recently, a well-respected member of the Developer Community started a debate on Twitter, questioning the value of receiving an MVP award. I cannot speak for him, but the advantages I listed above are enough incentive for me to fill out a brief form every spring.
The best part of this deal is that I'm rewarded for doing what I love and what I would be doing anyway.