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Guest Blogger: MVP Award Program - What is it all about? (Part 1 of 2)

Guest Blogger: MVP Award Program - What is it all about? (Part 1 of 2)

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Hello Canadian Developers,

By the way of introduction, my name is Sasha Krsmanovic and I am the MVP Lead for Canadian MVPs. Your developer advisors asked me to publish a few posts here in order to introduce the MVP Award Program to Canadian Developers. You have seen some of these individuals ‘spotlighted’ at this blog, too, so here I come to demystify what the MVP Award program is all about. It is likely to take longer than one post, so please stay tuned..... 
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 (yes, you may be one of them) - 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 community heroes. You may be one of them. By reading this blog, you are a part of that community. You are investing time after work reading up on hottest developer topics, trying to stay on top of new technologies. This may in turn result in your next career step. This is in fact so important to you, that you don’t only pursue only one venue, but you are attending user group meetings, product launches,  newsgroups, forums, blogs etc. In all those communities you will find MVPs, helping people to accomplish their goals - all of that for free, and on their own time. If you are thinking you are one of these individuals, you should definitely contact me.
MVPs do all this work 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, some quotes from current MVPs etc. Feel free to drop me a note any time if you want something else covered.

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