The Art of Becoming an MVP

Reprinted from the newsletter printed at TechEd India 2005, the article titled - "The Art of Becoming an MVP":

Are you a technology enthusiast who takes pride in nurturing and inspiring fellow technologists to learn and grow to keep apace with the changing technological trends? Are you pondering over the question…
“What does it take to be a Microsoft MVP?”
While surfing we came across a line that inspired us to take a shot at the art of becoming an MVP - “I've always been concerned about the whole MVP thing, there seems to be a lot of mixed messages out there and I haven't seen anyone clear it up….”
Here's our unofficial attempt to clear the air!
Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) are the true Rock Stars in today's tech-savvy world; credible, technology experts from around the world who inspire others to learn and grow through active technical community participation.
Every quarter, a new set of MVPs are announced. The MVP nomination is an ongoing process with four cycles annually. If you want to become an MVP, here is our list of DOs and DON'Ts. They might work, they might not, but here's an attempt:
DO interact in the community in more than one way (web logging in itself doesn't get you in, you should also be
involved in the newsgroups or Forums or something)
DO think of new ways to fill in the gaps Microsoft leaves in the community. If you have a crazy idea... try it out! You
never know when you'll be mentioned in the next executive keynote.
DO be consistent with your community work. You can't help out 4 or 5 people a year and expect to be an MVP.
DO look out for your community members, and encourage others (especially young people).
DO advise. Advice from MVPs is independent and truthful, and can either criticize or praise Microsoft when
appropriate. There is a right way and a sloppy way. One has to be professional and show respect for all ideas and opinions.
DO take extra time to understand Microsoft's position on decisions, and speak respectfully on those issues.
DO have an opinion on things going on in the tech world. Take some time to establish yourself as an authority in a
subject area, and then expand your reach into other areas.
DO be genuine in your desire to help others. MVPs do what they do because they enjoy helping people, and would mostly do so, irrespective of the recognition from Microsoft. The community culture is aimed towards the betterment of society. If that's not the center of your personal culture, you'll never be seriously considered.
DO evaluate your communication skills constantly. The better you can relate Microsoft's message to others, the
more Microsoft will interact with you.
DON'T be rude, vulgar, or disrespectful in your communication with other community members. Give them the respect they deserve as a person. (This works well in life, too) Swearing, while OK during coding sessions and
casual conversation, should NEVER be used in communication that will be read by many. It is uncouth and
represents an extreme lack of control and judgment.
DON'T stop following these rules after you become an MVP. The honor is re-awarded yearly, and lots of people
slack off and get dropped. As my daddy always said, "I brought you into this world, I can take you out."
DON'T be elitist just because you've been in the industry for a while. In this industry, you can be relevant one day, irrelevant the next.
DON'T think as a MVP, Microsoft only wants people who talk good about their products. Microsoft cares more
about feedback on how to improve their products, how their product lacked capabilities, and how it could be more userfriendly.
But in order to do that, one has to be knowledgeable about the product itself, about the competition, and have a
great deal of experience with users to know what they like and what they do not like. Here is a quote from a MVP who works on Linux (yes, you heard it right) as well:
“I was named a Security MVP in October 2003 in spite of my very long association with UNIX and Open Source (I think I'm the only MVP with "UNIX" in his domain name) and I've been surprised by how much of a non-issue even my open advocacy of open source has been. I've worn my Linux "Tux" pin to nearly every Microsoft event I've been to, and *never* gotten any static.
I don't care about Microsoft.
I don't care about Linux.
I care about *customers*
The latter seems to be what's mattered to Microsoft."
- Steve (http://www.unixwiz.net/blog)

Now if this makes sense, check out
http://www.microsoft.com/india/mvp/ and nominate yourself.
Join in the fun, coz now you know what it takes to become a
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional!

This article draws heavily from a post made by Robert McLaws.
You can catch the entire conversation at:
http://weblogs.asp.net/rmclaws/archive/2005/04/03/396941.aspx

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