No, I’m not an MVP.


I ran an April Fool’s post about becoming a Microsoft Natural Keyboard MVP, and things spun a little out of control.  The MVP announcements actually did come out on April 1, so some folks saw the blog post (“I’m Finally a Microsoft MVP!”) and congratulated me without actually reading the article.  I think I caught most of ’em to explain that it was a joke – but not everyone.  I’ve had several comments over the last couple of weeks asking why I wasn’t on the MVP directory, or why it’d taken me so long to get accepted.

No, I’m not an MVP.

And that’s totally and completely okay.

In my How to Start a Blog series, the very first thing I talk about is motivation: are you blogging to make money, to get recognized, or for your career?  I stress over and over that I’m doing it to help people, and to further my career.  If I was doing it for recognition, I would have done a lot of things differently along the way.

How the MVP Process Works: Mysteriously

I’ve heard people complaining that it doesn’t seem to make sense who gets approved for MVP and who doesn’t.  In my case, I was told by a few MVPs that I’d have made it if I hadn’t started blogging at the now-defunct Bacon Bits and Bytes, but I don’t buy that – after all, two other BBnB authors were awarded MVP.  I’ve also been asked if we disbanded BBnB to please the MVP folks, and rest assured that’s not the case either.

I love that the MVP process is a bit of a mystery to outsiders.  If it was as simple as a checklist (write 10 blog posts per month, answer 20 forum questions per week, bench press your body weight) then people would race through the steps just to win it.  Making it mysterious raises the bar a little, and forces everybody to compete a little harder to bring their A-game to their daily work if they want to be awarded MVP.

I wouldn’t do anything differently about the blog entries I choose to write, the presentations I give, the ways I volunteer my time or anything else about my career in order to become an MVP.  I understand why other people do, and why people keep offering their sympathies, but really, I’m not in it for any awards.  Whenever anyone says they’re shocked that I haven’t made MVP yet, I immediately laugh and think of something Jimmy Buffett says between songs on the 1990 CD “Feeding Frenzy”:

“I have never, ever won an award for any music that I’ve written, but I don’t really care when I have fans like Parrotheads.  You’re reward enough.”

Amen.  Fast forward 13 years to 2003, and he won a Country Music Award for “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” – the very first award he’d ever won in his 30-year career.  (Unless you count his bank statement. If I was making $100m per year, I’d frame that and call it my Grammy.)

But Whaddya Know, I Won Something

Last week, SQLBatman posted his first round of SQL Server blogger rankings, and I made the “Masters” section.  Hooah!

My first response was to ask him, “How do I move up higher in this list?”  He replied, “Change your name, because they’re in alphabetical order by last name.”  So I’ve got the paperwork in – I’m about to become Brent Aardvark.

I really like how he organized the list into groups, and not just because I’m in Master.  There’s several of us who just blog, present, and teach for a living, and it’s our job to educate the community.  I wouldn’t want a simple Top 10 list without separating the educators-for-a-living from the people with real jobs.

When you’re looking at his list, stop for a second to think about which ones have day jobs as database administrators, and then look at the quality of their blogs.  These people are doing amazing work, knocking themselves out to help the community.  They’re writing tutorials, giving presentations, volunteering at PASS, *AND* they have day jobs.  That’s awesome.  (Either that or they have the kinds of jobs that don’t require any work, and in that case, that’s awesome for a different reason.)  If a DBA gets to the point where they’re in the Masters group, that makes one hell of a statement – it means they’re putting out as much good content as those of us who put out content for a living.

I applaud SQLBatman for building this list because it encourages everybody to raise their game.  I’m already thinking about how I need to write a “How to Use Google Reader” post and bundle in an OPML file with SQLBatman’s blog rankings.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Great post. I was happy for you when I saw the headline, but then I had an awesome guttural laugh when I got a bit deeper. One of the better April Fool’s posts (though I am one of the rare few who enjoyed Tjay Belt’s over at SSC 😉 )

    Great points about SQLBatman’s list. Agree with his selections. We are actually very fortunate in the SQL community to have folks like you and some of the others in his Masters list (and not on the list) who get paid to put out helpful content, organize communities and point us towards other great content from those who didn’t make the cut.

    I have worked with Oracle before. I have interfaced with other technologies. Either I missed out on finding this in the other technologies out there or it just doesn’t exist. The SQL community is one reason to keep on keeping on. Inspired me to blog a couple amateur posts here and there and it gets me out on the forums to help others. We are all fortunate for the vast SQL community.

  • I think you’re pretty awesome Brent. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

  • I know how you feel Brent, I LOVE technology and SQL Server.
    I do a lot to promote it. Part of it is to help my carrier but the other part of it is I love to educate others and give to them the ability not to have to rely on people like us all the time.
    I get asked often if I have made the MVP list yet, and I always get to reply no. But like you I’m fine with that. I spend most of my time educating locally and not a ton of time posting on the various support forums. There are a lot excellent folks doing that already and I have no desire to become a “me too!” add on. If I don’t have something of value to post I don’t. I was pretty active many years ago 98 through maybe 2002 when, SQL Server was much much smaller and there were more question askers than answer givers.

    Recently I decided to start a blogging effort and was just going to post it up on the Austin PASS chapter board, but I got space over on SQL Server Central so I do it there. It has more exposure and accomplishes the same goal, spread the knowledge around.

    I will say though, if I had to pick someone to add to the MVP list you would be an excellent choice.


  • Thanks, guys!


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