This week another MVP summit has started and finished. I spent time with various groups and got the chance to catch up with a number of old friends. For me there was a very different feel to this MVP summit. It is something that I have felt was coming for a while.
Many of the MVPs I spoke to felt that the product groups were not be open with them or telling the MVPs the whole story. Personally I think this is the right thing for the product groups to do. People are now awarded MVP status because they have blogs, twitter too much (more than not at all) and are generally loud mouths in the online world. If I had something secret I wouldn't share it with this group either. During the evenings when MVPs of different technology areas gathered I overheard many conversations between MVPs where they were sharing the things they had learned that day. The point of signing an NDA as an MVP seems most questionable. I would suggest that the MVPs really need to be reminded of the meaning of the NDA.
I have also been doing some _real_ work this week and having meetings with some of the Microsoft product groups. This is the first time that when a Microsoft employee asked if I was here for the MVP summit I cringed as if I felt I didn't want to be associated with the MVP group. MVP status used to be something I was proud of, something that helped differentiate me as a person that adds value. Now I feel that being an MVP associates me with a bunch of Microsoft fan-boys (and some girls) who want to be the first ones to break the news that Microsoft is releasing product XYZ. Of course there are still many MVPs who do the right thing, and understand the business value. Yet I do not get the impression that MVPs overall are perceived to be adding great business value, and in some cases are presenting a hindrance to the progress of Microsoft products.
This is a great challenge going forward and I really hope there are some folks within Microsoft thinking through how to address these issues.