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.