This Is Your MVP Summit and It Is Ending One Session At A Time


18 Feb This Is Your MVP Summit and It Is Ending One Session At A Time

mvp_fight_clubThis week marks my 4th MVP Summit, having earned the award in April of 2009 and attended every Summit since. I’ve written before about my MVP Summit experiences and how much I really enjoy attending. It’s great to see so many familiar faces and say hello to folks I haven’t seen for months (or longer). We chat so frequently on Twitter with each other than in some ways this almost feels like a Tweetup. The event is amazing and I consider myself lucky to be able to participate.

And I have no idea how many more times I will attend.

Not because I don’t want to attend. I’m just not certain how much longer Microsoft will have the event. I don’t think the MVP program is going away, there will still be those with enough MVP-ness to be recognized as such. The MVP program itself is very valuable to Microsoft.

But consider the following few thoughts.

Microsoft can get feedback from other ways – ways that didn’t exist when the MVP program first started. The Microsoft SQL Server Facebook page has 57,000 likes and the Microsoft page has over 2 million likes. The Microsoft SQL Server Twitter account has over 125,000 followers. That’s a lot of reach through avenues that have only recently come about. If the SQL Server team wants feedback on their data platform they can get feedback, quickly.

The MVP Summit is typically in February. This time of the year doesn’t work well with regards to product release cycles. The MVPs enjoy getting to see new technologies and you simply don’t get a lot of details for a majority of the products that are due to be released in six to nine months. I’ve found that I can get more details information on new product features at events such as TechEd.

I believe that Microsoft can deliver their message to their industry influencers more efficiently. So I’m going to enjoy this ride while it lasts. I’m also going to do my part to make certain that the ride lasts as long as possible for everyone. Here’s a few tips for those of us attending this week.

  1. Pay attention. Close the laptop. Shut off your phone. Microsoft asks us to come here to engage with them, not so you get a four day holiday from your regular work schedule.
  2. Meet with the folks that work on the product teams. Make a connection with them. Give them feedback. Ask them how else you can help them continue to make tools that we all use and need.
  3. Say thank you. Then say it again. Be grateful for what we have, not just here at the Summit but the tools themselves. Go find the person that made the widget that you enjoy using over and over and tell them how much you appreciate their effort. Find your MVP lead and thank them for all their hard work as well.

I’ll be at the Welcome Reception tonight. It’s my favorite part of the week. I enjoy seeing all the smiling faces gathered together, hearing all the different languages spoken, and sharing stories since the last time we met.

I certainly hope that many more MVP Summits are in our collective future, but we all know you can’t predict the future.

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  • Aaron Bertrand

    I disagree that Facebook and twitter eliminate the need for this event. The SQL Server team is not going to make product decisions based on social media activity, polls, number of retweets, etc. The real value of this event over TechEd is that plans are at a stage where our feedback can make a difference.

    • ThomasLaRock

      I think you need to look at the volume of the feedback we are talking about, and how it will be used. While you feel that the MVP event is there for the product teams to make great products I would counter that your view is skewed because you are a SQL MVP. We have great interaction with out product team counterparts (well, except for Connect, I guess, but that’s a different blog post).

      Anyway, most MVP groups don’t have that, and most groups aren’t soliciting feedback to bake into their products. Most of the time the MVPs show up, get told about new things (which may or may not be new by that time), and then they go home. They are not actively engaged in the build cycle to the degree that the SQL MVPs feel engaged.

      • Aaron Bertrand

        Wait, what? There were other MVP groups at the Summit besides SQL Server?

        Of course. (To be fair, your paragraph about social media talked only about the SQL Server group.)

        But there are several purposes to the MVP Summit other than providing and collecting information for a specific product group – not the least of which is thanking and rewarding MVPs of all flavors for their MVP-ness. I also don’t know that you can say with any authority how every other program group isn’t engaged like we are. Did you meet and discuss this with a suitable representative from every single discipline? I don’t have any authoritative knowledge either, but I find it hard to believe that we’re the only group where both sides of the table find value in the annual event.

        I’ve lost count of how many Summits I’ve been to and, even back shortly before and shortly after the whole program was cancelled, there was no discussion about discontinuing the event. And if you think they pour a whole lot of money into the Summit now, and want to cut those costs, consider this: they used to also pay airfare and hotel. That balances out a little bit because there were fewer MVPs then, and yes you could take it as a sign that they’re trying to wind down spending to $0 gradually.

        I choose to see the glass as half full, not half empty. I’ll wait to agree that the sky is falling when the sky is falling.