On October 1, I received my email stating that I was again renewed as an MVP. One of the greatest honors I have ever received is the Microsoft MVP Award, certainly it is the greatest professional honor. And while there are some benefits to getting the award, I am not honored because of the benefits. While there are a few benefits that are awesome, the simple fact is that is is more or less a “thank you”. Just as it is nice when someone helps you to say "Thank you," this is what it means to me. *
Is it necessary for me to do what it is I am doing? No. Does my company really care that I write, speak, answer questions in the forum? No. I won't lie and say that it never crosses my mind when I don't feel like doing much. But generally speaking I do what I do out of a sense of duty. Not to get overly spiritual or anything, but I feel led to help others. I really only have one skill set. Designing and coding for SQL...and perhaps writing about that topic (I don't count video games or watching TV as skills :) so as far as helping "normal" people, I am pretty useless. If I ever volunteered for something like Habitat for Humanity, they would end up coming to my house and helping me out, thinking I probably lived in a hovel (I don’t but I rarely fix my own stuff around the house, that is for sure.
One question that is always coming is up is “How do I become an MVP?” Which really is how do you become and MVP, but I was speaking as if I was the person asking, not me (did I say I was a writer?) Microsoft has a page on the MVP site here: http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/gp/mvpbecoming, but my feeling is that the best MVP types meet the following criteria:
- You have a heart to help others
- You will master your technology and keep up with how it continually changes
- You don't mind that the work you do will not always be rewarded with money (sometimes it will be really low paying jobs like writing a book)
I won't lie, it will not be bad for your career, but the opposite cannot be guaranteed. Nor will the time lost with your family (and/or video games) be replaced. To paraphrase a quote a president once said: "Ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community" is how you get there.
To be reasonable, I painted a picture that seems pretty perfect, and that is how I feel about the other MPVs. Me personally I am never quite sure how I get here, but it is a great honor that I definitely do not take lightly.
*Some day I will figure out the logic of us helping out a company the size of Microsoft by doing a good deal of their education and tech support, basically for free. And the fact that the people we help are often our competitors. It works really well, but it still amazes me. For example, I work for the Christian Broadcasting Network, and I have never checked the credentials of people I have helped who might work for the Atheist Broadcasting Network. Can you imagine a Ford mechanic sharing secrets with a Chevy mechanic?