You may think it’s going to be some kind of promotional post, but it’s not.. well, maybe a little. But it’s something that came up as a side-topic of the linkedin discussion here: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6441012490728980480/
My personal relationship with the MVP award is kind of controversial. I only had one, so far, and I got it (as far as I know) because of my contributions to the community forums and because of this blog. And, of course, because another MVP decided to nominate me. Quite frankly, a lot of those forum activities and blog posts were meant to get me there – yes, I did want to see what it really means to be an MVP, what kind of perks you get, etc. And, since it was aligned with my other goal of getting up to date on the Dynamics “technology” (after having spent a few years stuck with the older versions), it all worked out pretty well.
Now, about 9 months later, I am asking myself whether it was worth it, and, also, whether MVP designation is something I’d like to have moving forward, even if I still have 10—11 months before this one expires. So I figured I’d share some of those thoughts.. You may find it interesting. Just keep in mind it’s just my perspective – I’ll try to keep it short.
Basically, I believe it’s wrong to think of the MVP designation as of an award. It’s more like a recognition that something is not quite right with the person since that person is spending his/her spare time trying to figure out the details of a particular Microsoft product.. and not only to figure them out, but, also, to share that newly acquired knowledge with the rest of the community. Why are they doing it? Go figure.. But this is what the MVP-s(already recognized or not yet) are, basically, doing.
Then those folks are awarded an MVP, and what comes with that is the ability to communicate with the same kind of people and/or with Microsoft directly. In other words, one can just keep doing the same they had been doing before they were recognized.. just with an increased efficiency. I can open Slack and ask a question – another MVP will certainly answer. I can (under the NDA, but still) send an email to Microsoft with a question/concern, and somebody from the Microsoft product team will address that question/concern. Simple as that, MVP recognition comes with the ease of access to the knowledge and information that was not there before.
If you think there is anything else to it(as in, more “tangible”), just consider.. There are no direct monetary awards. In theory, MVP-s might have some extra value for their employers because of the added reputational benefits, but, on the other hand, with all the MVP-related activities.. are those folks going to be as focused on their immediate job-related activities? Well, who knows.. So that does not necessarily mean an increase in the salary. There are some minor perks like MSDN subscriptions, Azure credits, etc. They are not life-changing, though they may be useful every now and then.
And if you do come to the conclusion that MVP is not so much an award but, rather, a recognition/diagnosis of some special kind of insanity, you may have to ask yourself if you want to be like that moving forward. That’s certainly an interesting life-style, but you have to keep pushing the bar higher and higher all the time, and all you have is your curiosity, passion, and, hopefully, time.
Do you have enough of that?
Actually, I am starting to think that somebody who is a two-three-X times MVP deserves a special recognition and a special treatment. That’s a person who probably spent countless hours contributing to the Microsoft community in some way.. So they were recognized as MVP-s, but they did not stop, they did not slow down, they just kept pushing. And yes, even though MVP is a recognition/diagnosis of insanity, but it’s also a way for Microsoft to say thank you to those strange people who may not have all the answers, but who are curious and passionate enough to keep looking for those answers and to keep sharing them.
So, if you want to join those ranks, think twice You’ll have to let some of that insanity into yourself. Because, even if what I wrote above sounds a bit idealistic, that seems to be the kind of mindset that will, more likely than not, get you an MVP recognition down the road as long as you stay in that mindset long enough. And that’s, probably, the only mindset that will allow you to be re-awarded after that. All other motivations – I think they just wear off, sooner or later.