Nov 8, 2016

What did you say you are, an MVP?

(Originally publish on Lixar blog.)

A few years ago, I decided to put myself in a situation where I’d be in contact with more people. Of course, I got a lot of technical questions, but also, and more often than you may think, people ask me about my MVP title. What’s an MVP? What do you need to do to become one? What do you do when you are an MVP? What do you get as an MVP? You can always come see me and ask me; it would be a pleasure to speak with you. However, for those who want to stay in the shadows, or are not sure how to ask, I decided to write a blog post about it.


What is MVP?

MVP_Logo_Preferred_Cyan300_RGB_300ppiIn short, MVPs are Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). For more than twenty years, Microsoft has given that award to technology experts who passionately share their knowledge with the community. There are close to 4,000 MVPs around the globe specializing in approximately seventeen different categories. MVPs share their passion by writing blog posts, articles, and books, answering questions in forums, and giving presentations in community groups and events.

How I Became an MVP

Firstly, I didn’t do anything to become an MVP. I became an MVP because of what I was doing. And that’s how I think it should be approached.

I’ve always read a lot about new technologies and enjoy working on home “pet projects”. I find that the optimal way to learn is by doing whenever possible. Having real struggles with “features” are the best brain push-up you can get. Because things are changing quickly, and because I was playing with a large variety of technologies, I was keeping notes on my work. First, my notes were on a disk; then I put them online. From time to time, when someone would ask me a question at work, I would search through my notes. Although my online notes were public, the URL was purposely not a friendly one. Before long, co-workers started to ask me if they could have the URL to my notes and I knew it was time to take the first real step into the light.

I still remember clearly that talk I had with Dom, an "Eagle" (tech prime) at the office. I was shy but he told me to give it a try; some people were already liking what I was sharing, and after all, I was doing the work for myself anyways so why not share it with others? Since getting out of your comfort zone is a good way to learn, I decided to start my blog. And just to add a level of difficulty, I decided to do it in English since at the time I only knew French.

I started my blog, FrankysNotes.com, and changed all my funny avatars to my photo. Since starting my blog, I publish my reading notes every Monday. And exactly like the saying goes, “build it, and they will come.” The weeks passed and the number of weekly views on my blog grew from dozens to hundreds. Encouraged, I decided to publish the notes from one of my home projects. Immediately the number of views jumped. I was trying to write more, but it was a very long process since I was definitely not fluent in English. However, every time I published a post, I was really proud. Not only had I successfully finished a project and learned something new, I had also written a post that would help others learn too. At the same time, I joined the Canadian Windows Azure Community Experts group and participated in events.

Sharing my passion through presentations, blog posts, and meetups was enough for me to be welcomed into the big MVP family.

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What I’ve Been Up to Since Becoming an MVP

Having been recognized as an MVP didn’t change me. I’m still very nervous before a presentation or publishing a blog post. I continue to code late at night on personal projects. More than ever, I’m excited when after a long battle with a bug, I finally find the way to make everything work.
What is different is that I now have more opportunities. All those friends reaching out to me (and other times it’s me reaching out to them) to ask a quick question or invite me to join them at an event. It’s up to me to embrace those challenges, get out of my comfort zone and continue to share my passion and my journey through the technology I like so much. I’ve started a second blog, in French this time, called CloudenFrancais.com. I’ve also joined the MSDEVMTL (Cloud) community group in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as a co-admin and started a new community in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada called OttCloudTech.

Thank you for reading my blog posts and asking questions. Next time you have the chance, reach out to me, it would be terrific to finally meet you.
See you soon.


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