D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Microsoft’s MVP Program–Evolving, not Dying

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:19 AM

Thomas Larock blogged about the impending uncertainty/doom of the MVP summit; the topic isn’t new, as all of us as MVPs can remember the various glory days of only a few years ago compared to today. For instance…

  2008 2013
$150 MS Store Credit Yup Nope
Keynotes (Ballmer, Toby, etc) Yup Nope
Cross-MVP Group Access Yup Nope
Hotel Location Seattle Bellevue
Session Locations MS Campus Hotel/MS Campus
Prod Group Event Dedicated Day Combined with Attendee Party

Yup, we used to get Steve Ballmer delivering a keynote for us. We’ve also had the guys from Pike’s Place market throw fishes for us. Ray Ozzie delivered a keynote and Q&A I believe as well at one.

We also used to get some nice perks, including $150 credit for the online Microsoft store – shipping was free.

Also, before MVPs got stupid with breaking NDAs, we had more freedom to explore beyond our designated product group. But over time, we couldn’t get into the Silverlight, Windows Phone, SharePoint, and other key product groups unless we were part of them; the ranks were closed.

We used to be housed in Seattle and bussed to Redmond where the majority of our sessions were held (they had a day or so at the Seattle convention centre for registration and such). This change I’m actually really happy with. Bellevue has more to offer than Seattle from a restaurant point of view, and I totally get that logistics wise it’s easier to move people from Bellevue to Redmond if needed.

So when you look at the trend, we’ve been seeing a steady evolution of the MVP Summit and the MVP program itself. But that’s not necessarily meaning we should assume the program is going away. The MVP program is more than the Summit – that’s just one factor. Microsoft has invested in MVPs and they’ve seen the return on that investment through community activity, product feedback, and (let’s be honest) unpaid evangelists. An entire army of product supporters who actively promote and encourage the use of Microsoft products with no payroll cost required. And in exchange for a yearly conference, a free MSDN license, and access to product group events throughout the year? Very good deal!

Because of all that, I don’t think the MVP program will be going away anytime soon. I do think that we’ll see it continue to evolve though as all businesses, not just Microsoft, evaluate the ROI on any investment dollars that are spent in any program.

I totally agree with the tips Thomas gave for attendees:

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.

So don’t worry about the end of the MVP program, just enjoy what it is today.


# re: Microsoft’s MVP Program–Evolving, not Dying

It is deaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad 2/20/2013 11:34 AM | Justice~!

# re: Microsoft’s MVP Program–Evolving, not Dying

Ha! Says the guy who was never *in* the program!

:P 2/20/2013 11:36 AM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: Microsoft’s MVP Program–Evolving, not Dying

That was by choice :), although by the letter of it you are correct. I don't think it changes the smell of the rotting remains of what once was the MVP program!!! Phew!!! 2/20/2013 9:42 PM | Justice

# re: Microsoft’s MVP Program–Evolving, not Dying

So far Microsoft has done many improvements. It will be interesting to see with what new ideas they will come up in the future. 3/11/2013 7:50 AM | Jessica

# re: Microsoft’s MVP Program–Evolving, not Dying

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# re: Microsoft’s MVP Program–Evolving, not Dying

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# re: Microsoft’s MVP Program–Evolving, not Dying

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# re: Microsoft’s MVP Program–Evolving, not Dying

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