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Emergency Exiting the Microsoft MVP Program – The Silver Lining

Rafa Nadal lost his favorite French Open in 2021 and came back stronger in 2022 to win Aus Open & French Open 2022. But again, had to quit Wimbledon 2022 at the semi-final stage due to injury. Novak Djokovic had an awesome 2021 with three grand slams and 2022 began with him being kicked out of Aus Open. Lost French Open QF and fought back to win Wimbledon 2022 – his grand slam number 21.

What’s up with these fighters? Their life is full of Ups & DOWNs. Their fighting spirit defines them. And when you fight, you win some battles, you lose some – all part of life.

I was removed from the Microsoft MVP and the Regional Director program. I call this Emergency Exit, exiting both the programs at the same time.

Both the programs are prestigious and awarded to tech folks who are passionate about the community. I was awarded MVP in the Data Platform category (formerly SQL Server).

The MVP program has been finding me worth the award since 2007 and as a Regional Director since 2015. I had a good run for the last 15 years. I made so many friends in the SQL Server community, inside and outside Microsoft. And over the last two decades, I contributed in a lot of ways. Thoroughly enjoyed.

But for some reasons unknown to me, the program team felt – my time was over.

Diplomacy is not my style. I love to be straightforward which some folks don’t like. So no qualms at all in accepting that I probably irked a few folks in the program, pretty badly. Mostly, the MVP leads. And therefore, my time was up – Thanks Mr. Bansal, and I was shown the emergency exit.

My community contributions were very good. Each year I bettered and set new benchmarks. From April 1, 2021 until March 30, 2022, I contributed to the community in the following ways:

  • Delivering technical session(s) for Group By, Data Weekender, Israel Data Community, SQL Saturday Los Angeles, Data Ceili, Cloud Data Driver, SQL Day, Data Saturday Malta, Data Saturday Redmond, and many such events organized by my MVP colleagues across the globe. Full details here.
  • Conceptualized and started The SQLServerGeeks Magazine (bi-monthly digital publication)
  • Conceptualized and started The DataPlatformGeeks Magazine (bi-monthly digital publication)
  • Organizing & hosting SQL Server & Azure SQL Virtual Symposium. Here.
  • Multiple SQL Server blog posts. Here.
  • Multiple SQL Server videos. Here.
  • Organizing & hosting webinars under DataPlatformGeeks and SQLServerGeeks. Here.
  • SQL Server Notes by AB. Here.
  • Organizing Data Platform Virtual Summit 2021. Here.

Wasn’t the above good enough? Of course, it was 😊. Probably much more than was required for award renewal. And I am proud of my work.

So what went wrong?

Well, probably this controversy gave them good reasons. If I start questioning the MVP Leads, I am on my way out. I dared to question the bosses and paid a price. But no love lost, I am not mellowing down a bit. I raised my voice and am not mincing a word here. Totally contended.

So, am I going to fight this back? Well, one part of me tells me do so, as I have done good community work for everyone to see. And I hate to go down without a fight – thinking Rafa & Novak 😉 (Hey, Mr. Federer is my fav).

But another part of me tells me to let it go for multiple reasons:

#1 Fifteen years, come on, let it go. All good things come to an end.

#2 If the program does not want me in IN, why bother them?

#3 A lot on my plate already so I have to pick my battles wisely

#4 Better things to do? Yeah, some silver lining (see below)

#5 And most important, DPS 2022 is just around the corner and I need to stay focused, laser-focused.

At this moment, not sure, which way I will go. But either way, it is awesome to enjoy a break and do better things.

So, what is the silver lining here? I will get to spend more time with my son on the tennis court 😊

Havish Bansal & Amit Bansal hitting the courts after the MVP news 😉

Yeah, it is our passion, and my son, Havish, is pursuing it seriously. Not being an MVP is probably a blessing in disguise as I can shift my focus toward my son’s ambitions and also spend more time with my NGO – Mahadevi Foundation with a primary focus on child education. As we say – Whatever happens, happens for good.

A word for Microsoft – I continue to be your advocate and a critique, wherever needed.

A word for the Azure Data Team – You are the best people on earth I have ever worked with. I continue to collaborate with you and am really looking forward to SQL Server 2022.

A word for the MVP Program Team – you lost one of your most active MVPs from India. Introspect a bit and try to be more transparent. Many MVPs have told you that in the past. Anyway, thanks so much for having me for the last fifteen years.

A word for the RD Program Team – hoping one day you will be able to clearly outline the purpose of the program.

A word for the India MVP Lead & the Data Platform MVP Lead – After a few unsuccessful attempts you finally did it. Well done & congratulations.

A word for my current & former MVP friends, and current & former MS FTEs – I cherish your friendship and thanks for the opportunities to collaborate with you.

And to my SQL audience – do not worry – I am not going to abandon you the way the MVP program abandoned me. I will continue a few community activities that bring the most impact. But I cannot promise to be as active as before.

Final words – speak up when it matters, do not tolerate injustice & biased treatment, challenge unfairness, fight for the right cause – do not worry about the consequences – the truth will always prevail, sooner or later.

And play tennis, it is a combative sport and brings out the fighter in you 🙂

PS: Some of my (former) MVP colleagues who were not renewed got the opportunity to send a goodbye note to the Private MVP Distribution Lists they were part of. They were informed beforehand. I wasn’t even given that opportunity, despite spending 15 years in the program. Basic etiquettes. This is EXACTLY the discrimination & preferential treatment I have been highlighting in recent times. Sigh, they shoot the messenger.

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3 Comments

  1. Simi Simi

    Amazing post and irrespective of what you choose to do Amit ,I think the final word what you wrote is important —stand up for yourself and truth ,be fair …
    Way to go

  2. Sunil Agarwal Sunil Agarwal

    Amit, this is quite shocking given your passion, commitment and making a real difference. I always loved the energy with which you drove conferences in India!!

    regards
    Sunil

  3. Ansuman Pani Ansuman Pani

    Amit maybe its for some good . By the way you look younger by the day…Keep up the good work and have fun.

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