This episode sheds light on why people do or should get involved with Excel’s online communities and what has Microsoft’s MVP program achieved. Our special guest for this episode is Kari Finn, Manager of MVP Community at Microsoft.
Being good at a particular technology and operating it within a silo is not good enough now. Community involvement through participation in different blogs and forums online is increasing being seen as a way to develop oneself as an expert. Community involvement also involves sharing one’s expertise to help others out.
Online knowledge sharing can be seen as an extension of one’s passion beyond what one’s job calls for. The element of empowering people on getting around data or using different technologies effectively has a certain appeal to it. It should be noted that these very altruistic tendencies embodies the true spirit of being an MVP.
Some companies tend to discourage resorting to online communities for assistance with technical matters. But they fail to appreciate the tremendous benefits that involvement in online communities can reap, especially for small-scale companies.
Large companies can opt for specialized training modules delivered by Microsoft’s in-house training experts. But for smaller companies, it makes sense to leverage tons of technical tutorials available online from websites like Chandoo.org or MrExcel.com. They should also realize that it is only through active participation in these online communities can they truly unlock the potential.
The MVP program reaches an audience Microsoft itself cannot even touch due to the scale required. This can be as simple as helping someone an issue they are facing in Skype to fixing a bug in someone’s VBA code. And this is exactly what being an MVP is about.
Also, MVP’s frequently reach out to product developers at Microsoft with reports on bugs, errors or problems with user experience. And this is where Kari comes in: she acts as a buffer between folks at Microsoft and MVP’s to maintain the flow of independent advice.
Tell us about your experience with online community involvement in the comments section below. And do not forget to share this with other Excel enthusiasts and experts.
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