The following post is by NestorPortillo, director of Community and Online Support at Microsoft.
In the last two months I’ve had the opportunity to attend many of the MVP Open Days around the world, as well as TechEd Brazil. What I saw in every visit is the strong community that MVPs are building among themselves. MVPs are key community leaders in our technical communities; however they are also part of a local MVP community and the MVP global community. And over the years, my personal connection to this community continues to grow with my understanding of its richness and variety.
During my visits I saw some interesting scenarios:
- MVPs finally meeting in person after years of interactions in the forums
- MVPs from the same city meeting and, by the end of Open Day, planning some local community activities together
- MVPs helping local subsidiaries to shape major activities in order to ensure successful events
- MVPs delivering presentations to other MVPs
- MVPs challenging me about the program benefits, technology gaps and soccer.
If I were to try and describe all my experiences I would need much more space than this blog, because each one has a great story.
I’d like to highlight some experiences from my recent trips, though. One of the most memorable was being able to deliver in person 10-Year Commemorative Award rings to two MVPs in Brazil! This was a special moment for me because I started as an MVP lead (relationship manager) in Brazil. My successor was also able to attend the event. During the presentation I thought to myself that these two MVPs have more stories to share than me and the two leads that followed me, because they had been around through all of us. To make the moment unforgettable, their current Brazilian lead surprised all of us with a collage of pictures he had prepared showcasing these two veteran MVPs. The presentation was great fun—he asked the entire MVP audience what the photos had in common and it took us five or six pictures before we realized it was a tribute to these two MVPs. I was pleased to be there and be part of this recognition.
During the Argentinean MVP Open day, I met a new generation of MVPs. Their passion, drive and challenge to the status quo clearly define them and it is really great to see how technology is the glue that facilitates the interaction between them and the old guard. I think technology always will be generation-and profession-agnostic.
I also had the opportunity to attend the MVP Open Day in Japan. Years ago, the first time I met MVPs in Japan, they asked me what I was looking forward to doing after the Open Day and I answered that I wanted to visit the Tokyo Tower and try to have a ride on the Shinkansen (high speed train). They were surprised and asked me, why Tokyo tower? I said because my super hero Ultraman always saves the Tokyo Tower from big monsters that attack earth. During my recent trip a Japanese MVP saw a little Ultraman that always travel with me and it brought up memories for both of us about this super hero and my first visit to Japan.
This year has been a special one for traveling to various global regions because the program is celebrating 10 years as a formal award in China, Brazil, Argentina, Japan and, I believe, Australia (maybe some veteran MVPs from the region can set me straight). I was thinking about all our veteran MVPs because many of them had the opportunity to be a witness to and part of several product launches and major program transitions. Imagine the opportunity to see the evolution of MS-Dos 6.1 to Windows 7; MS Office 4 to MS Office 2010, SQL 6.5 to SQL 2008, etc. I want to take this opportunity to express on behalf of Microsoft and the MVP Award our gratitude to veteran and new MVPs for their time, knowledge shared and feedback provided to our product groups, regional offices and the MVP Award team.
I really enjoyed each interaction and I’m looking forward to seeing and chatting again with many MVPs in February during the MVP Global Summit.
Nestor oversees community influencers, social media and the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award strategy for Microsoft Corp.’s global Customer Service and Support organization. You can find him on twitter at @nportillo