Posts filed under ‘MVP’

Microsoft MVP Summit just days away…

Well, I hadn’t planned to blog about this really…as it is my actual day job…but, I have to admit, I’m pretty excited about this.  On March 12th, I get to play host for what I suspect is one of the biggest community parties on the planet! 

Some short background.  In my day job, I’m responsible for the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award program.  The award began in the early 90s to recognize and thank the outstanding online community contributors on CompuServe.  Over the years, it expanded to include both online and offline community contributors to both Microsoft hosted and independent, 3rd party communities focused on Microsoft technologies.  Today, there are just over 3500 MVPs worldwide spanning nearly every Microsoft technology and in nearly 100 countries.  As an example, you can meet some of these experts on the Windows Vista Community page.  You can also search for MVPs here

It’s important to note that MVPs are NOT Microsoft employees.  In fact, I think they would loudly agree with me that they don’t do what they do in communities to help Microsoft, but to help other users.  As independent and highly active community experts on Microsoft technologies they provide amazing insights to Microsoft and more importantly, to millions of users through technical communities around the world.  I’m often asked how “I” can become an MVP and I think what’s important to say to this is that it really isn’t something to be manufactured.  MVPs don’t really try to be MVPs…it’s just who they are – they love to help people with technology.  The least Microsoft can do is reach out, acknowledge, and “Thank” them.  That is the job of my team at Microsoft. 

Now, back to the summit.  Approximately every 12-18 months, Microsoft invites the MVPs to Redmond for the annual MVP summit.  This year, just shy of 1900 MVPs will be joining us, making this by far the largest MVP Summit ever.  Now, I have to admit, I am excited to have Bill Gates keynote and kick things off for us on the 13th, but the real action is the rest of the week where Microsoft product teams will host 533 sessions designed to not only connect the MVPs with one another (a true highlight of the summit), but also with their peers in the product teams.  It’s an amazing site.  With MVPs registered to attend from 88 countries, this will also be the most globally diverse summit in our history. 

So, count on me taking some photos and getting them linked here via flickr.  And if your lucky, no one will catch any video of my annual required turn at karaoke.

Don’t forget to Digg it…

Sean

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March 7, 2007 at 1:55 pm 21 comments

The enthusiasts are coming…the enthusiasts are coming…

The most critical step in developing strong and engaged communities is remembering that it’s your core enthusiasts that enable that community to thrive. Without an active and engaged core, most communities slowly, but surely fall away. Now, this is an area I have a HUGE bias for admittedly as this is my full time job to think about. But I wanted to use this example as part of talking about community development.

If interested, you can read about my day job here: www.microsoft.com/mvp. But the point of this post isn’t about the MVP Award program. It is about the phenomena we call the MVP Summit. Approximately once per year, Microsoft invites this active community core to Redmond. This year, the event will be held March 12th-15th and about 2000 (of 3500) MVPs have told us they are coming. Bill Gates will kick off the event, but ultimately, this is a relationship building event. It’s designed to develop lasting relationships between MVPs and their peers in the product teams and equally importantly, between MVPs and their fellow MVPs. Something special happens when those who almost solely know each other online are suddenly thrust face to face. It’s an amazing experience. I always look forward to this event and will share pictures here following the event to give you a flavor of the festivities. I know several MVPs are reading my blog now, so perhaps they’ll add their perspective as well.

While much of the attention of this blog will be about online communities and social networking, it’s important to consider as you think about your community the kind of relationship you want to have both with the masses of participants and the most active core.

Sean

February 18, 2007 at 4:37 pm 7 comments


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