Microsoft MVP Summit Checklist

Microsoft MVP Global Summit

In March 2018, I will be heading to my third Microsoft MVP Global Summit. Just like in past years, MVPs from around the world converge on Bellevue, Redmond, and Seattle, Washington for several days of technical sessions and camaraderie on the Microsoft campus.

While the majority of MVPs attending are returnees, a good portion is new to the experience. While I am no expert at attending Summit, I have learned a few things along the way and have also picked up some travel tips. So, I thought I would share this information with all who could benefit from it.

However, instead of having a static list live just on this blog, I have posted the general checklist to GitHub as a Markdown file in its own repository. This way MVPs can print it, fork it, or contribute their ideas back via pull requests.

You can find the list at this repo: MVP Summit Checklist + Tips

I encourage everyone to check it out and submit their ideas. There are people who have been travelling to MVP Summit longer than me and I know there are some great suggestions out there. So, let’s hear them!


Microsoft MVP renewal 2017


On July 1st (Canada Day), I was renewed as a Microsoft MVP in Visual Studio and Development Technologies for 2017-2018. I feel honoured to be recognised by Microsoft with this award. I love giving back to the developer community and this recognition is a nice feeling.

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Tech Conference CFPs: Where To Find Them


CC 2.0 image courtesy eltpics on Flickr

As a Microsoft MVP, my job is to help people with their technical problems. I also advise people who are looking to get started on the road to being an MVP. For some it could be by blogging or by answering forum questions, for others it could be by speaking at technical events.


I have been asked a few times in the last while about how to get started speaking. Being a technical speaker is a great way to share your knowledge, build a name for yourself, travel, and attend conferences for free. You also meet many people who can help you as you move through your career.

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Microsoft MVP renewal 2016


Today I was renewed as a Microsoft MVP in Visual Studio and Development Technologies for another year. I feel truly honoured to be recognised by Microsoft with this award. And since my renewal date is July 1st, this makes Canada Day extra special for me.

This will be my second year as an MVP and I am looking forward to continuing my work with the development community. Thanks to Microsoft for the award and to the Canadian MVP team (Sim & Jo) for their support.

Microsoft MVP Logo

Microsoft MVP in .NET!

MVP Notice

Today I received the best news in that I was selected to be a Microsoft MVP for the .NET Platform. I feel honoured to have my efforts in the developer community recognized by Microsoft. When I started working with developers, it was because I wanted to give back. This award is the icing on the cake.

This congratulatory email made my day, my week, and my month:

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2015 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in .NET technical communities during the past year.

For those that do not know about the award, Microsoft explains it like this in their welcome letter:

The Microsoft MVP Award is an annual award that recognizes exceptional technology community leaders worldwide who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with users and Microsoft.

With fewer than 4,000 awardees worldwide, Microsoft MVPs represent a highly select group of experts. MVPs
share a deep commitment to community and a willingness to help others.

MVPs’ efforts enhance people’s lives and contribute to our industry’s success in many ways. By sharing their knowledge and experiences, and providing objective feedback, they help people solve problems and discover new capabilities every day. MVPs are technology’s best and brightest, and we are honored to welcome Ken as one of them.

To give you an idea of what I have done to earn this award, here is a sample of some of my efforts over the past year:

  • Spoke seven (7) times at various user groups and conferences.
  • Ramped up my participation in the TechNet Wikis and MSDN Forums.
  • Helped facilitate local Azure and IoT camps.
  • Continued my volunteer commitment to my local user group (@CTTDNUG).
  • Wrote over 15 blog posts.
  • Tweeted and re-tweeted tons of times.
  • Completed a technical review of an Azure book.
  • Plus, multiple other activities.

So, thank you to Microsoft for the award and to everyone on the Canadian MVP team for facilitating this process. Special thanks to my two nominators to whom I am especially grateful. (You know who you are.)

Now, onto a new 12-month adventure as a Microsoft MVP!

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MVP Virtual Conference – May 14 & 15, 2015

MVP Virtual Conference 2015

This week, Microsoft is hosting the 2015 MVP Virtual Conference  (MVP V-Conf). It is a free, 2-day online event which will showcase how Microsoft is making sense of the mobile-first, cloud-first world.  The event runs May 14 & 15, 2015 from 8am to 6pm Pacific Time.

There will be 95 sessions broken down into five tracks:

  • IT Pro Track
  • Developer Track
  • Consumer Track
  • LATAM Track (Spanish)
  • Brazil Track (Portuguese)

The conference will be hosted by Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) from the America’s region.  This year’s theme is “The Power of Community” and it is designed to showcase how the community can help people learn and grow their skills. It also demonstrates how MVPs contribute to their local IT community.

A slew of Microsoft MVPs from Canada are also involved as presenters and moderators. Look for sessions from Colin Melia (@colinizer), Andrei Marukovich (@amarukovich), Mark Schramm (@markbschramm), and Atley Hunter (@atleyhunter).

Steven Guggenheimer (@StevenGuggs), Corporate Vice President of the Developer eXperience (DX) group at Microsoft Corp, will deliver the MVP V-Conf keynote address.

Come learn how the best and brightest independent technology experts are using Microsoft products today.

To find more information on the event or to register, visit the MVP V-Conf site.

Expanding your personal network

This post is Day #10 in a series called Personal Branding for Software Developers.

In my last article I talked about speaking at conferences as a way to do social networking without the aid of digital tools. In this one I want to expand on that and touch on the subject of personal networking.

Before social media all networking was done face to face. The advent of the Chamber of Commerce was to help business owners meet other business owners so they could network to develop connections. These people could form friendships through their mutual associations. These personal networks could then be drawn upon when people needed help in various areas.

Business owners still do face-to-face networking although not as much these days. While some groups still put on breakfast meetings or lunches, a lot of people have put their efforts into online communities.

For software developers I still think there is a benefit to having a personal network that you can meet in person. These people can eventually become online friends but the people you meet in person are generally more likely to go the extra mile for you online if they have known you in person first.

One way to meet other developers and to create your in-person network is to attend user group meetings. If you live in a large enough city or close to one you can generally find a user group that deals with your software language or interest. is an excellent resource to find user groups in your area. You can also ramp up your networking by volunteering with a group. As a last resort if you cannot find a group then you can always start one. Taking the lead shows initiative on your resume and it is a guaranteed way to meet all kinds of people since you are the face of the group.

Another way to network in person is to attend IT-related functions in your city. Some business or technology groups will sometimes have technology forums so that local businesses can showcase what they are working on. There might also be conferences going in in your immediate area. If you also have a college or university nearby that offers degrees in IT they are also an excellent resource as they sometimes offer free lectures and functions.

A final way to network with others is to attain an MVP credential from various software companies like Microsoft or Telerik. These companies’ recognize active users in their communities. These could be people who give lectures or who help solve problems on their forums. By being active in this way you are developing a following as someone who knows about the product and who is willing to help. Additional personal networking also occurs as these companies have yearly conferences where all the MVPs attend in person so they can meet and learn about new technologies.

In conclusion you can see that personal networking also plays a part in developing your personal brand. By meeting people in person and then continuing the conversation online you are developing a stable personal network that can be used for years to come.