What being an MVP is to me.

I want to dispel a few belief’s and right a few wrongs I feel exists in the MVP community.

I’ve used this image before in a similar post about community.

Disclaimer: These are my views and experiences and if it offends you, then you need to change the type of MVP you are cos you’ve lost the true meaning behind it.

Now that all contributions have been submitted by MVP’s across the globe and are locked in, I felt that some reflection was necessary.

I’ve been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional since 2013. I lost it in 2014 and regained it in 2015 and have managed to maintain it since. For those who do not know what an MVP is, have a read here. I’ve been involved in the Microsoft community for just over 10 years now and before becoming an MVP, not once did I go out there and purposely do things to become an MVP.

Over the last 15 years, the program has gone through quite a few changes. The products have changed, qualifications/submissions for the program have been adjusted to accommodate the change in “Microsoft Champions”. No longer is the award given to just technically savvy people. If you evangelize about technology and are involved in the community, then you are considered as someone that contributes to the betterment of said technology.

So, as the title of this article says: What does it mean to me. Let’s jump into that.

  1. Honour — Microsoft has chosen me to represent the MVP brand. That’s one of 3770 MVP’s worldwide. One of 491 Office Servers and Services MVP’s.
  2. Privilege — To share an ecosystem and a lot of the times, an extended family with so many bright, enthusiastic individuals, willing to share their knowledge and experiences.
  3. Knowledge — Having access to information while Microsoft is building out their ideas, being part of that bubble where we are pulled into the fold.
  4. Influence — Working with Microsoft to better their products based on our real world experiences makes me feel part of the solution.
  5. Inclusion — It does not matter what race, creed, class or sexual preference we are, there’s a global acceptance within the MVP community.

One would think that with the items above, being an MVP is a euphoria of sensations. A Microsoft Holy land of sorts, and for the most part, it is. But, we have some bad apples and I would like to address these now:

  1. You are an MVP because of your contributions to the community. Keep it that way. Don’t go dropping your engagement or running of a community because you think you no longer have to do it.
  2. Your MVP is not a badge you get to throw around like a wrestler that just won a WWE belt. Be humble.
  3. You are now not more than you were before you got awarded as an MVP. The badge does not give you super powers where you are always right.
  4. Now that you are an MVP, you need to watch what you say and how you say it, as it affects all of us.
  5. Your company did not get the MVP, you did. So do not go associating your MVP with your company as if your company is the reason that you are an MVP. Yes, companies will gravitate towards you because you are an MVP; That’s a bi-product which makes you marketable.
  6. Promoting your company now that you are an MVP, as being part of organising an event because you are involved in it, is utter bullshit.
  7. Promoting your company through your MVP network makes you no longer about community, but about money. That’s not why you got awarded.
  8. Stop with all the “Look at me, the MVP and what I did today” social media rubbish. You can post but for heaven’s sake, make it about the event or whatever you are part of.
  9. You do not get to look down at other people who are not MVP’s. You are not elite/special/chosen.
  10. When running an event or a community, your company should be the furthest thing from being known. You do not have the right to stick your company, on a banner alongside your name, and MVP logo to promote the event.
  11. You represent all of us. So drop the attitude/arrogance/ego. We have to engage with the same customer that you just ruined the experience for.
  12. Tweets, Facebook status updates and LinkedIn updates are not an activity so please do not list them.
  13. AND lastly, you do not know everything, admit when you do not have the answer. Bullshitting your way through is amateur.

In closing, a few things to take away:

  • For non-MVP’s reading this post. There is no tick box, these are no hoops you need to jump through, a magical path to follow to become an MVP. If you asking the question of “How do I become an MVP”, its the wrong question. If you are not enthusiastic and passionate about continuous learning and sharing your experiences with the community, the MVP program is not for you. Microsoft awards you for the person you are, not because you see it as a notch on your belt.
  • For the MVP’s reading this post. We are the sum of all parts. Once you become an MVP, know that you are part of a global community. If you need us, we are there. BUT do not ever mess with the ethos of the program. You answer to your peers and we are extremely vigilant about the integrity of the program.
  • For the Microsoft people reading this, including the CPM’s. We need you to make sure that the essence of the program is upheld to the highest standards. We understand that certain things fall through the cracks and we support you but remember, we do this because we love what we do, not because we have to.

I love being an MVP, I’ve met amazing people and have built close friendships with people across the globe. I do what I do because I find personal value in helping people achieve more, and I get to do that through something that I love, Technology.

To the MVP’s that I’ve had the privilege of engaging with; you are my mentors, my custodians of good, my sounding board, my experts. I value your thought leadership and your view of the world that I occupy space in.

To Microsoft. Thank you for what you do for us (The MVP Community). We are not the easiest bunch of people. We have opinions, like this post I wrote but we are passionate about your company and we believe that the world is an exciting place because you are in it. Well you have my vote anyway.

Be cool my ninja’s.

Azure and Office Servers MVP | Speaker | Blogger | Podcaster | Evangelist