Farewell Most Valuable Professional Status

For the last three years, I was honored to receive a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award. This award has given me access to team members iniside of Microsoft, to tools and software and most importantly, to the global community of MVPs. This year, however, I have decided not to apply for renewal as a MVP.

For years, I have traveled around giving talks on development technologies, methodologies and practices at user groups and conferences. It was very gratifying to be recognized for these efforts even once. The fact that the recognition was renewed twice was surprising, to me at least. I have no plans to stop doing what I’ve been doing. I continue to receive positive feedback from receptive audiences, and I enjoy meeting new people at my talks.

I am not disenchanted with the MVP program. It has it’s flaws, but in general, I find it to be a beneficial program for the technology community using Microsoft products. The vast majority of MVPs that I know are intelligent, dedicated, generous people of high character. The few exceptions do not negate the contributions of these fine people.

My decision not to seek renewal springs from my own, internal value barometer. As I contemplated compiling a list of my contributions over the past year, I asked myself why I wanted to be renewed. I realized that the only reasons I had to seek a renewed MVP award was to stroke my ego, and receive free stuff. My ego is stroked by the implied status of the MVP award and as a MVP, I recieve a full MSDN subscription, and free licenses for many tools from third party vendors.

While status and free stuff are nice, they aren’t reason enough for me to continue to pursue a MVP award. The truth is, I haven’t been particularly engaged as a MVP over the past year. I did not attend the MVP summit in 2011. I have not been contributing to, or even reading the insider mailing lists that I’m subscribed to. I haven’t been delivering feedback to my product team in any way.

Given my level of disengagement with the program and my admittedly shallow motivations, I decided it would be disengenuous to re-apply. I may frequently be a f**k-up, but I doubt people that truly know me would accuse me of being a phony.

Thanks to everyone that helped get me into the MVP program. Thank you to everyone at Microsoft that keeps the MVP program running. Thank you to the Visual C# team for valuing what I do. I hope that someone coming up in the community can take my spot in the MVP program and benefit as much as I have from the opportunities that it provides.