This being my freshman year as an MVP, I had a realization that I perhaps should be embarrassed hasn’t happened sooner. The realization comes much like the iconic M&Ms commercial where the M&Ms run into Santa and exclaim, “He does exist!” My personal realization arguably has a greater implication: Microsoft does listen. This is the most important lesson that I received this year attending the MVP Summit.
My hope is that I can convince you that we are empowered to make a difference. Instead of using “Man I hate how this works / doesn’t work!” as cooler conversation, we can use it as true interaction with Microsoft. We as customers to Microsoft need to stop asking the question “Will this work for me?” and instead ask “How can this work for me?”
There are three quick resources that the average developer has access to today that they can use to be heard by the product teams, and by no means should you think twice if you have a concern that you’d like a real response on.
MVPs are members of your community who have a deep relationship with Microsoft and will have connections to their associated product group. Don’t think of them as just a resource for answers, but also as your ambassador for getting your experiences heard. You can find your local MVPs by browsing the directory at:
Evangelists are employees of Microsoft who work to foster and grow communities in their assigned region. They are first-class citizens of Microsoft and are often deeply involved with the product groups. As a result, they will be more than glad to direct your questions or concerns to those who can answer them most expertly. With that said, evangelists are also very busy people (who do amazing things for the community) and might not be able to get you that conversation as quickly as a local MVP. You can find your local evangelist at the following website:
This is one of the resources that I haven’t used enough, but it cannot be understated. Connect is the starting point of the social conversation that happens between Microsoft and the community daily. Connect acts as a portal where you can provide new feedback as well as comment and rate the feedback provided by others. Power is in numbers when it comes to Connect, so the exposure that your feedback can get not only lets you know that you aren’t the only one who wants change, but also lets Microsoft know the same.