My MVP Journey
I started community activities from Calcutta in 2004. I used to organize community meet-ups in my office once a month on Saturdays, or whenever time permitted. Those days I had time 🙂
I had a 20 seater classroom and that was big enough since we had only 7 to 8 people coming into these technical meet ups 🙂 – fellow members and I gave informal technical sessions and it was a very tiny platform where we shared what we knew. I want to mention that I used to arrange tea and samosas for everyone who came in 🙂
Calcutta, as you all know, is not really an IT hub and there were not too many people who would join in. So how did I manage to invite 7 to 8 people? Well, if you know background, I started training and consulting during that time and I used to invite my clients. This went on for a few months but I was not able to pull off more than 15/20 people for these meet-ups. No Facebook, no twitter, it was obviously tough. Yes, there was Orkut that time but I never used it.
Starting 2005, I started traveling extensively to different parts of India for my consulting and training assignments. And wherever I went, I tried to organize technical community meet-ups. Again, I invited my customers. By the virtue of delivering good technical sessions, my customers saw a value in attending these informal learning events. And I delivered sessions on whatever I knew including .NET, SQL, BizTalk, XML, etc. – (yes I was a jack of all at that time and today I don’t know anything except SQL, probably that’s why I am a SQL MCM ;). And I did these small meet-ups at customer locations in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Pune, Trivandrum, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
In 2005, I started working with Microsoft India (as a vendor, and I still work that way) and I thought it would be wonderful to actually organize these meet-ups in Microsoft. After all, I was evangelizing technology using Microsoft products. I got introduced to my dear friend Abhishek Kant who happened to be the MVP program manager in Microsoft India. I didn’t even know about MVP award at that time 😉
Abhishek supported me very proactively to organize events in Microsoft. Parallel, I was marching ahead in my professional career and I got to know more people and vice versa. And I did organize many meet-ups, almost every Saturday (what will a bachelor do on a Saturday when he doesn’t even have a girl friend 🙁 and all my friends had their girlfriends, ‘respectively’). Abhishek probably realized that I might be a good recipient of the Microsoft MVP award. He once said “Amit’s community passion is contagious” 🙂
My events started seeing more people coming in, across India. The response was overwhelming!
I was delighted and very happy when Microsoft US announced that I will travel to TechEd North America in 2007 as a proctor for assisting customers in Hands-On-Labs section. I was offered a full-paid trip to the world’s largest technical conference (if I can say that). Now, TechEd is another story which you can read here:
Back from TechEd, I did not know that another awesome news would be awaiting me. On 1st October 2007, I get an email in my inbox. Here it is:
Awesome and delighted. Thanks to Abhishek, his team, Microsoft India & Microsoft US. It was a wonderful news and of course, a reward!
Rest is history. Since 2007, it has been a roller coaster ride till date with the MVP award and the community. Under SQLServerGeeks.com, which I founded in mid-2010, we have done big events and have seen crowd crossing 250+. Thanks to all the core team members of SQLServerGeeks.com including Sarabpreet Singh, Ahmad Osama, Manohar & Sandip Pani. Of course, thanks to all the authors as well. Now, I don’t want to get started with SQLServerGeeks.com, that’s another journey.
Also, since 2007, I participated in 6 global TechEDs as a speakers. Yet another story!
Got my SQL MCM in 2013. Yet another story!
In this ongoing MVP journey, I have got wonderful support from thousands of SQL community members across India, across Microsoft, friends & family alike.
Change is the only constant in life. Abhishek Kant departs as MVP Program Manager and Biplab Paul takes over.
Sincere thanks to Abhishek Kant, he is not working with MS now. Instead works for Telerik as the Country Manager. (Friends, in life, it is important to remember people who have supported you to grow, Abhishek is one of them)
Another person needs a mention in my MVP journey which is Vinod Kumar, former Technical Evangelist with Microsoft. He currently works as an Architect with Microsoft Technology Center. He supported my efforts well and I am always thankful to him for that.
Biplab Paul, who took over from Abhishek Kant continues to support my SQL community efforts big time and is a great advocate of the program. Not to mention, he has a SQL background too 🙂
Well, the list can just go on and on… there are too many people to thank, everyone to be thanked! But the biggest “Thanks” goes to the SQL community, it is because of them that my efforts are being recognized time and again. So “Thank You SQL Server Community”!
Update July 2022: Microsoft MVP Program removes me from the program. Read more.