As my followers on social media may have seen already, I have been awarded the Microsoft MVP award in the “Cloud and Datacenter Management” category. For this I’m deeply humbled and grateful.
Getting any kind of recognition for work done is of course highly rewarding in itself, but I’d like to take the opportunity to write down my thoughts on the act of giving and receiving recognition for community work.
But first, I’d like to give a huge thank you to my two sponsors Stephen “FoxDeploy” Owen and Stéphane van Gulick who both nominated me for the MVP award.
The involvement in the PowerShell community wasn’t something that I had planned ahead. By accident I got news of the first PowerShell Summit that was going to be held in Amsterdam, and since I was already heavily involved with scripting and PowerShell at work I thought it would be cool to attend. I went to Amsterdam, all by my self, not knowing anyone else there. I wasn’t active on Twitter or the community at all, and my goal was just to learn something new and to grow as a scripter.
But getting to know the people there, and listening to the great sessions, and perhaps more importantly hearing Don Jones call to action for people to get involved triggered something in me. For years I had been taking knowledge from forums and blog posts to further my own knowledge and needs, and I decided there and then to get involved, and to give something back.
So I started a blog (the one you are hopefully reading now) with the aim of writing interesting articles and share code and functions I thought others could benefit from. Since everyone else in the community were already so knowledgeable my plan was to go in heavy with some advanced stuff, and I awaited eagerly all the comments and re-tweets my first blog post would get. I had written a function to automatically create HTML documentation of PowerShell modules, and thought this would be something people would appreciate.
But almost nothing happened. People weren’t sharing it or applauding the genius of it. Hardly anyone even bothered to click the link and visit the blog. I almost gave up there and then.
So I changed strategy. Instead of writing for others, I started writing for my self instead. The blog would be my repository of things I currently work on, and for stuff I might be interested in later. That way I just had to check my blog if I ever needed that one-liner or function again; it was all gathered there.
So what have this got to do with recognizing community contributions? Luckily I didn’t give up after my first blog posts, but it was a close call. I had some comments mainly on twitter, but in my own eyes I was a failure. How many people have been in my shoes and indeed DID give up after the initial few posts without hardly any feedback? It doesn’t take much – a “like” and a share on twitter, a “good job” comment on the blog and you have given the greatest gift you can give anyone doing community work; motivation for keeping on!
And that is what this MVP award means to me the most, someone thought I had done good work – good enough that they wanted to nominate me for it. I’m not going to lie to you, for me personally the nomination felt a hundred times better than the award itself, and gave me a ton of motivation to keep doing what I’m doing. It’s of course also recognition from Microsoft that what I’m doing is important for them, and I’m grateful for the honor, but for me the community is about people first, then corporations and products.
And I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, writing blog posts, speaking at conferences and helping out where I can; because I love it. But there is one thing I’m going to try to be better at – and that is to give recognition to others doing good stuff for the community. And if you are one of those that gave up, start it up again! You are good enough!