I got a nice surprise this Sunday. I have been awarded MVP status in Cloud and Datacenter Management!! I am beyond happy – this is something that I have worked towards for a while, and it feels great! I am humbled to bear the same moniker of same of the legends in our field…I don’t feel like I deserve to be in the same room as some of them, but I will strive to do my best and continue to contribute to the community as best I can.
I was asked what my journey to MVP was like – my experiences, the steps I took, and what I wanted to get out of it. Here’s how it all played out.
It started a couple of years ago – I had (and still have) several MVP friends that I always looked up to. They are pillars of the tech community who willingly share their hard fought knowledge, so I naturally wanted to join their ranks. I was already on the board of the Central Texas Systems Management User Group, so I was already involved in the community to a certain extent, but I knew that I needed to up my game if I was going to qualify.
I started speaking more at user groups – CTSMUG, Austin PowerShell, DFWSMUG, etc… In a previous job at Dell, I had engaged in a lot of customer briefings (200+ in one year!), and had spoken at old school MMS several times, so I was comfortable speaking to large groups. The speaking at the user groups really helped me adjust the tone and detail, though. I found out what the users wanted to hear, how much detail to put in my presentations, and to make sure that every presentation ended with the users walking away with actionable knowledge. I went from speaking once a year to speaking to groups once a month or more. The more I spoke to these groups, the more I wanted to do it again.
At the same time I began to blog more – I always had a WordPress blog, but I was horrible about putting fingers-to-keyboard and actually writing articles. Just as with the speaking engagements, I found that the more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. I would be in the middle of writing an article when suddenly an idea for _another_ article would pop into my head. OneNote became my best friend – handy place to store those ideas/drafts and access them anywhere! I still don’t write as much as I want, but it’s definitely a lot more than it used to be!
MMSMOA. I cannot say enough about this conference. I submitted four session ideas, two of which were accepted. Both of my co-presenters were (still are) MVPs, and it was a wonderful experience. The feel was much closer to old-school MMS – the sessions are small and extremely technical. Managing to get through this conference, and getting excellent speaker evaluations back, is an extreme ego boost. It was at this conference when I heard, for the first time – “Wait, you aren’t an MVP?”. I knew at that point I needed to find out more.
I sent out some emails – to MVPS that would give me solid feedback. The email was simple – “If you think I could be a MVP, please nominate me. If not, let me know what I need to improve!” I specifically sent it to people I knew would smack me down if I deserved it. This was extremely valuable – I got honest responses back (along with some good-natured jabs) that helped me improve my blog posts, speaking engagements, and how to tune my message to a specific area of expertise. In addition I got 3 nominations. I was elated!
The process from there on was straight forward – I was asked to register on the MVP site, and then record my community activities. Keeping a list of those as I did them would have been a life-saver here, so if you are interested in pursuing a MVP, keep track of what you are doing! Specifically – Date, Location, Type of Activity (Blog, Speaking at user group, Speaking at Conference, etc…), description of the activity, and the reach (number of user group members present, page views, etc…). I did this at the start of June, and on October 1st, I got the email that I had been waiting for!