So, I’ve been officially renewed as a Microsoft MVP again.


Too often, I’m asked about the MVP program. I’m asked what it is, what it means to get it, and how I was nominated and won.

What is the MVP Program?

The MVP program was designed for individuals that make contributions to technical communities including, but not limited to, blogs, forums, books, user groups, and speaking engagements. Microsoft recognizes these individuals in more than 90 countries.

Over the years, I’ve met some really interesting people through the program. I’ve got a chance to meet developers that build products I work with every day as well as authors that I’ve looked up to throughout the years.

What it means to get it

It’s always exciting to receive the award. This year has been my ninth straight year. Although the award is very flattering, I find it exhilarating to teach others about technology, especially in the Northeastern Pennsylvania region. This area has so much to offer young people and the only way it can continue to grow is by teaching and spreading tech goodness all over. I’m sure other MVPs feel the same way.

How to become nominated

Each year I wonder if I’ve done enough to deserver such honor. Looking back, it’s amazing to see what goes into receiving an award. A few things that you can do to become eligible are:

  • Start a blog or blog more about technology
  • Post to forums (such as or respond to questions on websites like
  • Look for individuals needing help on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media networks
  • Create some sort of goodie like a free application or community-based website. Also consider contributing to open source projects. There are quite a few that can be found at or GitHub.
  • Speak at a user group in your area then visit other nearby user groups providing the same or different talk. There are groups for everything in technology
  • If you can’t find a user group for your technical expertise, start one. Chances are others have the same technical background as you. Remember, a successful user group doesn’t need to have 500 attendees at meetings. It’s a success when it’s attendees are learning something.
  • Write a book (trust me, this one is the most time consuming)

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a champion for yourself. Find an MVP or Microsoft employee and explain how you’re helping the community. If you’re not sure where to begin, these are also great people to talk to. As a user group leader, I know that user groups can always use more help organizing events and assisting with the day-to-day nuances of running a user group.

You can find out more about becoming an MVP by visiting the Microsoft MVP website at If you know someone that you’d like to nominate for the MVP program, check out

Other Organizations with MVP-like Awards

As I said earlier, it’s nice receiving this. But, let’s face it. There are probably more anti-Microsoft-ies than Microsoft-ies in this world. So, let’s assume that you’re not a Microsoft-ie and you’re about to write some “why are you so pro Microsoft blah” type comment. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a community to fit your interests. Here are others (that I know of and is not a complete list):

If there are others I’m missing, let me know and I’ll be sure to add them. I’ll update our user group website to include a more current list as I receive suggestions.

If you’re still looking for additional help, reach out to me on Twitter @jgaylord. I’ll be glad to help provide some advice. Whether its this program by Microsoft or another program by another company, help spread the knowledge of technology. It’s the only way tech can improve in years to come!