First of all I'm very humbled, delighted, pleased (much more?) to receive the news yesterday that my MVP (Most Valuable Professional) status is been renewed for 2012. If you are following lot of blogs, then you might have seen this message in few places now. Basically Microsoft got 4 renewal cycles (January, April, July, October) in a year to bring new MVP's on board and renew the existing ones who contribute to the selected community continuously.
Over the years I have heard people asking me, do you need to write a certification, or complete a course, or even do you need to know people in the product team etc.. For those of you who are not aware of the program, MVP award is an industry award provided by Microsoft to the influential people in the community. Microsoft got a full team ( I'll say a complete division) to work with the community, their main role is to identify influential people in the community across various technologies like BizTalk, SharePoint, C#, Azure etc. There are MVP leads in most of the countries (90 according to official page), I believe for smaller ones a single MVP lead look after few countries. My MVP lead is Claire Smyth who looks after UK and Ireland.
Being an MVP is something very special, first of all you get the industry recognition straight away. There are only 4000 MVP's world wide across all Microsoft technologies, that's a tiny number compared to the 100 million people who participate in technology communities (source: http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/gp/aboutmvp). If you want to look at the BizTalk MVP numbers, there are only 32 BizTalk Server MVP's worldwide, may be out of 60k BizTalk developers ( I just made up 60k given there are 12,000 BizTalk customers)
Personally for me the biggest advantage is knowing the top BizTalk talents in the world one to one. It's more than that, most of them are very close friends now.
How does it help BizTalk360?
I have mentioned in the past, the birth of BizTalk360 was primarily driven by a chat over coffee at MVP Global Summit in 2010 with bunch of BizTalk Server MVP's. You can read about the story here.
Apart from that I got couple of solid stories where my MVP status helped us in BizTalk360
Technical Help: BizTalk360 comes in two flavours Enterprise and Standard edition (tied to BizTalk server enterprise and standard editions). How do we identify the edition of BizTalk server? One way to do it is look into the registry setting (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\BizTalk Server\3.0) in the machine where BizTalk server is installed. But reading a registry from a web application can get into all kind of permission issues, also we support remote environment management that means reading remote registry settings (Forget it!! :-)). We approached Microsoft internal product team members and we identified a way to resolve it from the BizTalk database. Unfortunately we won't be able to reveal this in public post, sorry guys :-)
Marketing Help: Couple of emails got us a promotional link in Microsoft BizTalk ISV site http://www.microsoft.com/biztalk/en/us/isv-hardware.aspx?SortField1=ISV&SortField2=All. This is incredible, I send an email to my internal contact MVP contact in Microsoft, asking how we can list BizTalk360 on the ISV website, a week later we were there, this is simply incredible.
Congratulations to all the MVP's who got renewed for 2012, and the new one's coming on board. Thoroughly enjoy your time during your award period, I'll see you all in the next MVP summit 2013.