Microsoft MVP again for 2014! (and what it doesn’t mean)

So here’s how it works, for those who are curious: every year on one of four quarterly intervals, Microsoft chooses a bunch of people to give a shiny award to, some of for the first time, some of them who are backing up from previous awards. Much discussion and analysis goes into who should get these (as far as I understand it), but in a nutshell, this is what it’s all about:

The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award is our way of saying thank you to exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others. It is part of Microsoft’s commitment to supporting and enriching technical communities. Even before the rises of the Internet and social media, people have come together to willingly offer their ideas and best practices in technical communities.

I feel very privileged to have received my fourth award yesterday. As I’ve been confronted by a bunch of MVP misunderstandings lately, I thought I’d pump out a short post on what the award doesn’t mean.

I don’t work for Microsoft

I get this one a lot, particularly when quoted in various places: “Troy Hunt from Microsoft said…”. I’m not “from” Microsoft, they give me a lovely award but I’m not on the payroll (in fact I’ve never received a cent of cold hard cash from them) and indeed I have a “normal” job that is in no way related to Microsoft.

I don’t work for Micro$oft either

Ah, I see what you did there! You took the “s” and you substitute it with a “$” to try and imply that Microsoft is a money-grabbing heartless corporate. Sorry mate, you’re not the first one to do this, it’s been thought of before but it kinda used to work better when Apple wasn’t bigger and Google wasn’t more evil (note: Google may not actually be more evil but man do they close to Eric’s “creepy line” a lot!)

I don’t tell the world I love everything they do

I dislike the Xbox One UX almost as much as I love Azure.

I stopped using Internet Explorer years ago and rarely go back.

I’m ambivalent about the Windows desktop v. Metro paradigms mixed into one (and I can say “Metro” because I don’t work for them and frankly I don’t have a better word!)

The point is independence. There’s not a company line to toe and other than respecting the NDA that all MVPs sign (we often early access to info), frankly I’m free to share my most candid opinions about them.

I’m not Microsoft tech support

It’s great that people want to reach out and ask questions and I do everything I can to answer them over email or Twitter, but I’m also finding the increasing volume is beginning to exceed the time I can allocate for it. There are really good resources for asking questions; Microsoft people on Twitter and Q&A sites like Stack Overflow to name just two. It usually works out better for everyone if a question is asked on SO then just send me a link and I’ll either answer it there or tweet it out. Faster answers that everyone can then use :)

But it does mean…

…that I have an interest and a passion that aligns with Microsoft’s services. I love the development stack of ASP.NET and the SQL bits and I’m over the moon about Azure (no really, check out the Azure tag). It doesn’t preclude me from writing about the stuff that other companies make – its total independence that I’ve never been asked to compromise on and frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Hi, I'm Troy Hunt, I write this blog, create courses for Pluralsight and am a Microsoft Regional Director and MVP who travels the world speaking at events and training technology professionals