Thanks Qixing for inviting me to be a guest blogger at the designer blog. By the way of introduction, my name is Sasha Krsmanovic and I am the MVP Lead for Canadian MVPs. Qixing asked me to publish a few posts here in order to introduce the MVP Award Program to Canadian Designers. She thought you guys may be interested, so here I go....
There are, of course, exact definitions of what the MVP Award Program is, you can find them on the official Microsoft MVP Website. In a nutshell, here is how I think about it. Think of very few community members who are absolute community super heroes –those who dedicate their own time and technical expertise to the community. Personally, I think this is quite unusual, especially in the IT field; where people generally keep their IT skills “to themselves as their knowledge IS the only competitive advantage for the next job, contract etc. But not these guys. They are in the community after their day jobs, helping people to accomplish their goals – all of that for free, and on their own time. You can find this type of behaviour in virtually any online or offline community – newsgroups, forums, user groups, blogs, YouTube – you name it – they are there.
They do this for the benefit of the community and don’t expect any type of compensation. This is where Microsoft steps in and awards these individuals, who help Microsoft product oriented online/offline communities, with an MVP award. Think of it as the “Oscars” – it is an award given to exceptional individuals for the achievements they had in the past year. They don’t have any obligations to Microsoft whatsoever and are encouraged to freely share their expert opinions in their respective communities. Often times, they are our biggest critics – they are very passionate about Microsoft products and want to see them improve. Needless to say, this feedback is very appreciated and welcomed. One interesting statistic – before Visual Studio 2005 was shipped and was in beta stage, we had 10 significant internal and community RFCs (requests for change). Seven of those ten came from MVPs.
I think this should do for the first post. In addition, check out the Channel 8 podcast on beginnings of MVP Program, from my US counterparts Ed Hickey and Brian Boston. In the next guest blogger post I will go a bit more in depth about MVP program benefits, interactions with product team, and finally the changes we made to accommodate designers as well. Feel free to drop me a note any time if you want something else covered.