Canadian MVP Lead, Sasha Krsmanovic concludes his two part blog post today, with a discussion of MVP Global Summit and other MVP benefits.
In my previous guest blog entry I touched on some “MVP Program Basics”. In this guest post, I try to answer the question every blog reader looks for in a blog entry – “what’s in it for me?”. Speaking to such a wide range of IT Pros and developers who read this blog, it’s difficult to answer this question. The answer that I can offer is what’s in it for MVPs who are already part of the program…
I promised to cover some of the MVP Program ‘benefits’ and Microsoft product group (PG) interaction in my last entry. Well, these two are kind of tied together. The ability to talk to a developer who developed a specific feature on i.e. SQL Server or Exchange Server is generally seen as a great benefit by MVPs. When answering IT Pro questions, on forums or on stage, it is useful to have a connection to the right people. If an immediate answer is not available, we can generally connect the MVPs and the product group to help find a correct answer. We do this through private newsgroups, monthly live meetings, conference calls and chats – whatever is best suited for particular MVP / PG combo, which is kind of neat.
However, according to most of the MVPs I talk to, the biggest benefit is the ability to connect to other MVPs. The MVP Program facilitates this in a number of ways, both online (private newsgroups, Live meetings) and offline (i.e. Local, country specific MVP Open Days, MVP Summit). MVP Summit is the highlight of the year for me. MVPs come from all over the world to meet with the Product Groups face to face. I already mentioned MVPs are sometimes our biggest critics – and this really comes out during these meetings. A lot, if not all, of MVPs have new ideas on how to make the products better. During MVP Global Summit we get a chance to discuss many of those ideas. This could potentially be your chance to make a change in the next Microsoft product.
On that same note, the MVP Summit is not the only place MVPs get to influence Microsoft products. MVPs are involved in pre-alpha, alpha and beta/CTP releases (depending on how much free time they have!). So, throughout the year they give us feedback on what they think needs to be changed. As MVPs spend a lot of time in the community, they know very well what the community thinks about certain features of the ‘current release’ and they are the main voice of the community back to the product group.
Some MVPs say having a dedicated person – MVP Lead – handling the relationship between them and Microsoft is a pretty big benefit as well. On that note, and if you are more of a “podcast type”, here are the Channel 9 podcasts from my peers in the US (Part 2 & Part 3), discussing where MVPs can be found and what are some of the other benefits of MVP Program (website, public profile, award kit, etc). You are also welcome to check out IT Pro MVP Canada Insider here at the TechNet blog, or to check out a Channel 9 podcast with our Canadian MVP Charlie Russel or Lee Benjamin who is chairman of the largest Exchange User Group in the world.
Canadian MVP Lead