MVPs again – what does it mean?

We both just got the MVP renewal emails – although I must admit to having some April Fools fun this morning on Twitter and the MVP newsgroup :-)

It's a privilege being recognized as a top contributor to the SQL Community, not a right. We do what we do and we're recognized. As are several hundred other very worthy, *dedicated* people around the world every year (as SQL Server MVPs).

Dedicated to what though? Dedicated to self-aggrandizement and earning the MVP title again? No – dedicated to the community.

We both often get asked how to become an MVP – what do you have to do? And for how long? Is it worth it?

"Is it worth it?"… wow.

The answer is that if you're asking these questions, especially the last one, you're going about things the wrong way. Being involved in the community is all about being altruistic – the only reward you really get is knowing you've helped people, and their gratitude. Maybe some respect from your peers after a while. It feels good. If you're really into the community and do a bunch of things like running a user group, answering tons of questions on the MSDN forums, have a really good blog – then you'll get nominated for being an MVP. It's not a title that you're awarded and then *become*, it's something you're simply *recognized* as already being. (And yes, we nominate people to become MVPs who are doing great things.)

I find it dismaying that people think that being an MVP confers some degree of elite-ness, or will lead to a higher salary, or more consulting gigs. No – it just shows that you've been heavily involved in the community for quite a while. There's nothing more disheartening to me than seeing people be awarded the MVP status and then stop contributing to the community. Really, was that what it was all about?

It's like the recent spate of people found plagiarizing content (whether deliberately or not) to kickstart their SQL blogs. What does that achieve? Annoy the community and show readers you know how to cut-and-paste. You have to create your *own* content to be recognized as a community contributor. "If you build it, they will come" is a great quote I like to use. If you don't have anything new to say – don't worry about it. Just sit back and lurk. But you'd be surprised as the number of twists and angles on a particular theme that are interesting to a large number of people. Ok – </soapbox>

The SQL Community is one of the best technical communities I know of – very vibrant, lots of interesting and zany characters (many of whom I count as friends), and best of all, a *really* strong sense of being a community and sustaining itself as a community.

I'm proud to be a member of it, as should you be.


8 thoughts on “MVPs again – what does it mean?

  1. I am happy for you. But why are the rest of us subjected to the endless announcements of receiving the award and the tedious humble pie speeches that follow? Ah shucks, I’m just happy to pass it along.

  2. I mostly agree with you. An MVP shows you’re a community person, and it is dismaying to see those people awarded and immediately stop contributing.

    However there are people that use it in their work. It’s a point that helps them get gigs, maybe a bonus, or something else. Hopefully that isn’t the primary benefit to them and they truly enjoy helping others, but I think as the competition for the award grows and more people jump in there with the ideas of grandeur, we are getting more people that want to achieve the award as a measure of their career.

  3. I have also the feeling that many people do not want to *learn* anymore, they don’t have this kind of curiosity about how things works, so they can finally understand what their job consists in; they just want to be certified and awarded. They just want the fame. Anyway…

    Have a nice week end in Boston !

  4. @Bill Because we’re proud to get the award. You’re not subjected to them – you don’t have to read them if you don’t want to… and they are *our* blogs…

  5. I Agree and think that Paul has elegantly put in context the meaning of being an MVP.
    For those who have been honoured with an MVP award, these clearly are individuals who have been instrumental in assisting their communities regularly through various channels, inturn their award helps us to identify the leaders in our communities with extensive experience and knowledge.

    Having sat on the sidelines for some time before getting involved in UK SQL community, It was not until talking with one of our UG MVPs "Tony Rogerson", who was looking for others wanting to be involved @ which time I jumped at the opportunity and have since given a presentation (100+) to our UK SQL Server UG, currently involved in organising a SQL social event for the UG @ which I will be also hosting (this comming week) and voluntering help during the next SQL Bits VI conference.

    I feel I’m now able to give back the community some portion of what I have personally gained during these last 10 years, So now having been bitten by the community Bug I will continue my blogs, tweets, and UG involvement

    Who knows in the future, I may even join the MVP (SQL) ranks .

  6. Very nicely stated, Paul. Well done and spot on.

    The "spirit" of being an MVP can be summed up in just a couple of words…

    "I came, I saw, I served."

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