07/30/2010 UPDATE: Lastest News about the project is here.
NEW: Project Criteria and Submission Here
I was again awarded the ‘Most Valuable Professional’ (MVP) designation from Microsoft for my community activities, especially for my contributions with the SQL Server and .NET communities. One of the benefits of being a MVP is that on occasion, a special opportunity is made available by Microsoft.
This year, I have been provided with a few subscriptions for MSDN Ultimate to give out as I see fit. For those unaware, a MSDN Ultimate subscription allows the subscriber to download and own full featured versions of Visual Studio Ultimate, as well as most any Microsoft software. The license is for development use, and is not transferable. And it has a retail value of approximately $12,000.
A couple of years ago, when I had a similar opportunity, I struggled with what to do. It seemed too much to just hand out to friends. I asked myself why I would give someone $12,000 if they were not deserving or contributing anything in return. I then considered offering the subscriptions as raffle items at user group meetings. But that caused me some concern, for there would be no certainty that the winner would value the product or put it to good use. Or perhaps the winner would be inclined to attempt to sell or barter the subscription. (I had on a previous occasion been contacted by the winner of a similar product who had no use for it and was attempting to get some value from the prize.) That would not coincide with what I considered in the interest of the larger software development community. And I just didn’t like the possibility of knowing that such a valuable ‘gift’ would be not be put to societal gain.
So, I gave out the subscriptions to folks that committed to volunteering at least 100 hours to develop software projects for several non-profits. On one project, there were excellent benefits from a group of folks learning to work together as a distributed development team. We all learned quite a bit. Other non-profits gained excellent software at no cost.
This year, I will be seeking proposals from unemployed (or under-employed) developers that would use the tools to improve their skills with .NET, SQL Server, and Windows 7 Phone. The proposals should be for a project for a non-profit -either a new project or an upgrade to an existing project. In addition to the Microsoft MDSN Ultimate subscription, Pluralsight will provide a three month subscription to the training content available in their On-Demand!™ .NET Training Library, O'Reilly Press will provide three (3) books of the winner's choice, APress will provide three books(3) of the winner's choice, ComponentOne will provide Studio Enterprise components and tools, DevExpress will provide a one year subscription for DXperience Enterprise w/CodeRush, RedGate will provide a license for ANTS Performance Profiler, and Quest Software will provide a a license for Toad® for SQL Server.
The idea is to provide the recipient access to all of the tools needed to improve his/her skills, an opportunity to gain practical experience, the potential to earn a recommendation and/or referral –and to positively contribute to society as a form of 'give-back'. No free lunch, just sweat equity –the kind that makes us all feel good for the effort.
I have been joined by a few other MVPs to extend this offer, so we will be selecting at least one recipient and project each month for the rest of this year. Participating MVPs:
Full details how to qualify for consideration will be posted here on July 12th. Start thinking about how you might find a qualifying project, or if you know of someone that could benefit from consideration.
Project Criteria and Submission Here