Harry Brelsford recently asked a few of us fellow MVPs how to become an MVP. He did this because he was asked by someone in the community about how he could become an MVP. We responded and Harry then wrote his article which you can read here.
Harry is Harry – a long time SBSer and very successful business man, so he’s taken his point of view based on that experience. Harry has done a lot to help grow the SBS community over time and many of us look up to him as “The Man” in terms of this. I do however have a few concerns about the way Harry expressed his point of view.
In my mind you don’t seek to become an MVP, you either are or you are not. I said this to Harry before I knew it would be used in a blog post. Let me explain a little more.
To become an MVP is not something you set out to do. It’s something that is born within you. You must have the following traits…
- The desire to help others without expecting thank you’s, appreciation or payment of any kind
- The desire to help your competition even when you know they suck
- The desire to make an ass out of yourself when you make a mistake and are then corrected
- The desire to fly half way around the world at your own expense and spend countless days giving input to future products that might be cancelled without notice
- The desire to forgo large amounts of billing hours so that you can contribute to the greater good of the product
- The desire to beta test products and submit bugs and feature requests that may well be closed as “will not fix” or “closed by design”
- The desire to learn more about products than you ever knew was possible
Why then do I do these things? It’s because…
- I want to make a difference
- I want to help people better understand the products
- I want to help vendors better understand our requirements
- I want to help my competition be better than they are
- I want to help build a better world
- When I respond to peoples questions, I learn more each time
- When I don’t know the answer, I research it to find out and as a result learn even more about the product
You will note however that there is a key difference here between Harry’s point of view and mine. I’ve not sought to outright make money from being an MVP. No – I seek to help people. If opportunities come my way because people see me as a leader then so be it. If they do not then so be it too. I’m not being an MVP in order to make millions of dollars, because I can tell you that it not something you will do. I’ll continue to do the things I do long after Microsoft decide my contributions are no longer worthy of the MVP award. I do these also for other vendors too that do not have MVP style programs because I want to make a difference.
One man can make a difference. I’m not that man, but it won’t stop me from trying.
UPDATE May 21st – Tim Barrett has posted a little more humoures view on this here