Microsoft MVP Summit 2014

2014 has been a great year, especially for Excel users. There is no exception to the annual Microsoft MVP Summit. One of the most attended Summit’s ever it was packed with great info* and great people. The MVP Global Summit is a time of year when Microsoft invites all of their MVPs to their campus in Redmond, WA, and connect with the product teams at Microsoft and network with other MVPs. Because of the exclusivity, I can’t really talk about the details of what went on, being all behind a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), otherwise the conversation would look like, “we went to NDA, talked about NDA, discussed pros and cons for NDA, suggested NDA, then was shown more NDA.”

Instead I’d like to talk about the MVPs – the heart of the program and Summit. The MVP award has been around for over two decades now and has undergone some extreme changes. There are awardees who have been there since the inception of the program (21 years I believe), like Bob Umlas, Excel magician extraordinaire. Compared to him I’m a relative pup in the program, having been awarded in 2005. There are experts from all over the world in all Microsoft competencies.

The Excel sessions were absolutely awesome, and so were the extracurricular Excel sessions, i.e. going to the Rock Bottom. To have that much geek and intelligence in one spot can be awe-inspiring at times. I was reminded by that stark difference from my friend Jon Acampora of Excel Campus, who attended the Summit for the first time being a newly minted MVP. It really is an experience unlike any other. From the welcome registration, to the showcase, to the deep dive technical and breakout sessions, and of course the MVP networking.

A lot of people ask how to become an MVP. Kari Finn, an MVP Coordinator for Microsoft, did a good job of explaining the program on an early episode of Excel TV. While this is not the be-all/end-all of awards, it’s about community, and being a technical expert and passionate about helping others (and their products/expertise of course). Currently there are just under 4,000 worldwide, and in Excel there are around 120, of which less than 30 attended the Summit. You can even nominate somebody, even yourself. And believe it or not, there are even Xbox MVPs (some of my personal hero’s—after the Excel MVPs of course).

This year’s Summit was the best I’ve been to. It was great seeing the long-time MVPs, as well as the first-timers. I’d be hard-pressed to find a group of nicer people. Looking forward to our awesome community in the coming year!

* Anything behind closed doors won’t be discussed, so don’t ask. Thanks. 🙂

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