Tag Archives: Award

What does it take to get a Microsoft MVP?

As many of you know, I received a Microsoft MVP award this year for C#. I’ve been asked a few times what makes an MVP — despite there being several pieces of information available to answer that question, I thought I’d answer it quickly myself.

There is no set formula for gaining an MVP. Some do it by participating in online communities such as forums, newsgroups, and other such public stomping grounds for technological communication. Some people do it by writing books, printed magazine articles, blog posts, or online articles. Some folks have obtained their MVP by simply participating in local community events, helping out in whatever way is necessary to make user groups, code camps, MSDN events, and the like go off without a hitch.

By participating in communities, I mean that you answer questions clearly, honestly, and completely — not simply respond to every post hoping to get a post count high enough to get noticed. You have to actually earn some respect in the community for having answers — not for posting useless information.

The same can go for blogs. Simply pointing to other sites or blog posts from yours — effectively becoming a technology aggregator — doesn’t work either. Have some original content. One method that is quite useful is to combine your community participation with your blogging. Instead of simply answering a question in a forum, try to write a coherent blog post about the issue, and then point the user in the forum to your blog post. Now, the question and the answer are made available to everyone in the forums as well as on your blog!

Another good idea is to take that same topic, and then use your solution as the topic for a user group meeting. Many user group meetings in smaller towns are in great need of speakers — either at the meetings themselves, or at Code Camps. Help them out by sharing what you’ve learned with the local community. Furthermore, find out who the Microsoft Developer Evangelists are in your area and see if there is anything they need help with at upcoming events. Being valuable to Microsoft is the whole point of the “V” in MVP. Helping your developer evangelists definitely adds value and will help get you on the radar screen if you persist for a good deal of time.

As you can see, you can solidify yourself as a subject matter expert quickly by studying one area and using that same information in blogs, forums, and user groups. It wouldn’t hurt to expand on those topics by contacting online article sites or even printed mags to see if they have an interest in your topic. As you can guess, a little effort can go a long way.

I don’t really know how I received mine other than some of the ways that I described. I wrote four books on .NET topics, participated in local and regional events, communicated with regional directors, developer evangelists, and community champions to find out what was needed to drive participation locally. I blogged, answered a few forum posts, and worked with Microsoft Learning to develop the new generation of certification exams and supporting eLearning workshops. Find your own mix and figure out what works for you, and what doesn’t. Don’t rely on the company you work for to get you there. MVP is an individual award and it depends on YOUR commitment and reputation , not the reputation or commitment of the company you work for — in many instances, that’s a plus for you!

This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights. The content of this site are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer’s view in anyway. In addition, my thoughts and opinions often change, and as a weblog is intended to provide a semi-permanent point in time snapshot you should not consider out of date posts to reflect my current thoughts and opinions.

MVP Award

I just got an email today stating that I was awarded a Microsoft MVP award. This is an honor. In the past, this award was mainly given to the folks who posted a ton of replies to forums and newsgroups (whether the responses were right or wrong). Microsoft has made a shift to try to reward people who do a lot of local work too. I’ve been highly involved with the local code camps, user groups and the like. I’m very excited to receive this award and I look forward to continuing participation in the year ahead.

Award for Customer Excellence Nomination

Today I received a very strange email from Microsoft. It claimed I was nominated for an “Award for Customer Excellence”. I’m not particularly sure what work I did that this award would be for, but here’s what the email said:

Dear Tobin Titus,

Thank you for being a great contributor to
Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.

You have been nominated to receive the Award
for Customer Excellence. This award recognizes
your extraordinary contribution to the Visual
Studio 2005 product and will be shipped to you
without charge. Please click the following
link to arrange shipment of your award:

ACE Code: xxxx-xxx-xxxx-xxxx

Should you have any questions about this award,
please contact xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxx.xxx .

All the best,

S. Somasegar
Corporate Vice President,
Microsoft Developer Division

The accompanying site had this award that was to be sent to me if I filled in my personal information.

Ace Award

Ace Award

Does anyone know what this is supposed to be for and if its legit?

Selected for Microsoft Workshop

Today, I received a request from Microsoft and I must say that I am deeply honored. I cannot provide the details just yet other than to say it is to review the content of a workshop. I cannot wait to get started!

While I’m on the topic of Microsoft and content, I wanted to say just how impressed I am with their attitude in the last few years. Many years ago, you could at least make a somewhat convincing argument that Microsoft was a detached organism with a drive and mission much like a honey-bee. They were committed to their task and very efficient at what they did, but if you got in their way or tried to alter their course, they could sting you.

Today, Microsoft has a much friendlier faC’ade. They solicit advice from the community through structured beta programs. They glean information from online groups such as forums and newsgroups. They solicit the help of professionals and reward them for their help with the MVP program. You can drill directly into the psyche of the development teams by viewing their blog, posting comments, or contacting these guys directly. Microsoft is willing to accept your feedback. But much more importantly, the teams at Microsoft attribute value to what you have to say. You can tell that this is an initiative coming straight from the top. You can tell that the employees are following suit.

Microsoft, you’ve done something right. With all of the complaints that get ballied about, and noise that you hear when you clumsily attempt to protect your intellectual property, I wanted to make sure you got your dues when they are deserved. It is here that I start my stand-up-clap-fade-in and hope I can get a few folks to join me in a here-here.