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Mark is one of the most prolific and famous of the Microsoft MVPs, having written at least 30 books (Amazon affiliate link) and 300 articles in Windows IT Pro Magazine and others, as well as countless blog articles. Some of Mark’s more popular books involve Windows Server and PC Upgrade and Maintenance.
One that he is especially proud of is Linux for Windows Administrators. Even though it was written in 2002 it is still be useful today in helping Windows admins bridge the gap to understand Linux.
Mark has also been in great demand speaking at conferences, even delivering the keynote addresses.
Mark’s big secret is that when he is teaching: “I get more from them then they do from me.”
Andy is a Serial Entrepreneur who sold Dorian Software to IpSwitch in 2009 and founded RDPSoft in 2013. In the interview Andy and I agreed that being a serial entrepreneur is better than being a lot of other “serial” types.
Taking nothing for granted, Andy constantly picks the brains of really smart people, such as other MVPs, in order to stay sharp.
Andy became a Microsoft MVP via his tools and blog articles. While speaking at industry events, a Microsoft Product Group Manager took notice and nominated him to be a Microsoft MVP.
As a result of Dale Murphy’s performance on and off the baseball field, winning back to back MVP awards in 1982 and 1983 I have been a fan of his since my early childhood.
The more I researched Dale for this book the more I was impressed with him and his efforts to make the world a better place. I was especially impressed with his humility and how he took some tough constructive feedback right after winning his first MVP award.
Dale’s efforts have continued long after his baseball career ended. Concerned with bad behavior in kids’ leagues and worried that many kids would follow some of the poor examples and take harmful performance enhancing drugs, Dale wrote a book about youth sports and founded the I Won’t Cheat foundation.
Hal has collected thank you notes from garbage collection personnel as well as heads of state and everyone in between as he answers their questions online.
Hal got started one day when he had trouble getting the Outlook client to download email, so he went to the Microsoft News groups (now Answers.com) looking for help. While he couldn’t find any answers for his issue, he did see others pleading for help that he was able to provide. He soon got hooked on answering questions, and in early 1997 was nominated as an MVP.
Jessica advocates answering forum questions as a means of self-improvement, emphasizing how looking at the problems of different people inspires thinking about things in a different way.
Ms. Moss also gives back in a variety of ways: volunteering at United Way, Meals on Wheels, painting school walls (not graffiti!), and her University of Virginia alumni group.
As one who knows something about Business Intelligence and SQL Server, and having heard Jessica speak on the topic I can heartily recommend her books:
Michael helped a hospital in St. Louis more accurately determine if someone is suffering sepsis simply by mining the data from the notes in the Electronic Health Records.
Michael focuses on Cognitive Services (machine learning/artificial intelligence), and authored a book titled Microsoft Azure Machine Learning Studio (for the Non-Data Scientist) in the style of the “Complete Idiot’s Guide” or “For Dummies” books (I look forward to giving that a read someday). This is in addition to his eight previously published books on web development.
Brian Desmond holds a singular distinction by being the only MVP that I know of who earned his MVP recognition while he was still in high school.
Brian has spoken at many conferences, among them the Directory Experts Conference, The Experts Conference, and Tech-Ed (now MS Ignite). He has also written two books. the fourth and fifth editions of a book on Active Directory. These, extremely detailed books have helped many an administrator learn how to run AD and save their jobs. However, despite his success as a speaker and an author, his main passion – and contribution – continues to be answering questions on the forums.
Claiming to have the “the word ‘sucker’ stamped on [her] forehead,” Kathy’s business card reads, “Serial Volunteer.” She gets a thrill out of “breaking the code” and finding hidden features and bugs to help people work around their problems.
On three occasions she delivered 30 presentations in 21 days across Phoenix at various user groups. She has also written or co-authored at least four books. Kathy underwent six knee surgeries in five years, but the encouragement she received from her fellow MVPs kept her going and did not slow her down.
To those that complain they lack the time, Kathy says “Do it!” and points out that there are questions on many social media platforms that go unanswered. Go help someone, she advises, noting: “It’s addicting.”
I have been a big fan of the two time NFL MVP and hall-of-fame quarterback since his days at BYU when he helped his team win the 1983 Holiday bowl by catching (not throwing) a touchdown pass.
I became an even bigger fan when he came to speak to our youth group to cheer up a very ill young boy and as I have seen his post football efforts to use his money wisely in building up companies and charities.
Clint is a cancer survivor and credits his never quit, never say die, never take no attitude for helping him through and with helping him be a better parent.
Clint loves giving back by sharing his knowledge. In fact, he has made quite a number of videos for Microsoft Channel 9, spoken at TechMentor and MVPDays virtual conference (which he also helped organize), and has contributed to a book.
As a Sr Director at Microsoft, Naseem is not eligible for the MVP Program. In fact none of the Microsoft employees are eligible. However, he expresses all of the traits of a true MVP. At the time of my interview with Naseem, his organization was in charge of the MVP program.
Naseem and some MVPs from Jordan went into the war-torn Gaza Strip to teach local youngsters coding skills and give them a glimpse of a better future.
Naseem's favorite thing about the MVP program is the idea that you can make a difference beyond yourself. This is a core value that underpins a successful community.
Jason trains people on SQL Server. He has written several books and does a tremendous amount of blogging. He enjoys presenting at conferences and trade shows, and loves mentoring people. Jason also helps organize the massive SQL PASS Summit, where he selects speakers for the summit.
Jason is also a big time volunteer for lots of little people: Jason coaches little league (basketball, football, and baseball), is a Cub Scout Den leader, and has been involved in scouting for 30 years. He enjoys helping out schools, primarily with their technical needs, but also with reading mentoring. He was an official volunteer French Translator for the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics.
Octavio left Cuba in 1992 seeking better opportunities in Spain. There, he found work as a consultant and as a professor of programming languages. As Octavio gave more presentations and wrote more and more articles, he eventually caught someone’s eye at Microsoft (perhaps it was another MVP). He was nominated in 2004 and joined the roster of Microsoft MVPs.
In 2007, Octavio wrote a book on a language that was rising rapidly in popularity, LINQ. This was a special accomplishment for Octavio because he has always had a great love for teaching.
He is now based in the Los Angeles, CA area.
Gretchen (Opferkew) Mann
Gretchen has an accidental IT career having fully intended to continue a career in the non-profit world after a year in Africa. But after a decade of schooling and working she discovered that she had a great IT career and was already helping many people to make the world a better place.
When people ask Gretchen how to become an MVP, she encourages them to be their best authentic self, rather than an imitation of someone else. For example, since Gretchen is more reflective as opposed to outspoken, she writes contemplative articles rather than sitting on panels where she needs to speak off the cuff.
Sid “the Kid” Crosby
I am at best a lukewarm hockey fan (pun intended). But I have been very impressed with two-time MVP Sidney Crosby. Most impressive to me is how he dealt with his concussions that sidelined him for the better part of two seasons. With Sidney never knowing when or if he could return to professional hockey, he devoted some of his time to helping others, in effect forgetting about his own worries.
I was also impressed with how Sidney shared credit with his teammates, especially one time when he and teammate Evgeni Malkin both hit career milestones on the same play.
He plays some great hockey too.
Joe has been a repeat MVP for a very long time. He made his initial mark in the industry by answering questions about LDAP programming using the old NNTP (Newsgroups) forums. His follow-up was to write a book about LDAP programming. This work, The .Net Developer’s Guide to Directory Services Programming, is a great reference book and currently features prominently on my bookshelf.
Joe’s greatest contributions outside the technical arena stem from his three children (future taxpayers!), and usually involve volunteering to help with things they love (sports, theater, etc).
Rob started out with the goal of acquiring the extensive knowledge required to become an MVP. He failed. However, his follow up was to start speaking frequently and leading Arizona’s Southeast Valley .NET user group. Soon after, he was nominated and became an MVP.
To give back, Rob co-led two hackathons called AZ Give Camp in 2017. The “prize” for these hackathons was to build software for a charity. He contributed to the Humanitarian Toolbox, built a scheduling app for smoke alarm installs, and makes significant open source contributions to Gulp (a toolkit for automating and streamlining web development).
Mike answers questions on forums, writes lots and lots of books, and creates stellar videos (they are very well done and highly recommended).
In fact it was an excited reader of Mike’s first book, who nominated him to be an MVP.
A true explorer, Mike takes risks confronting new challenges. To improve himself, he constantly seeks out new training opportunities to boldly go where no MVP has gone before!
I was fortunate enough have a season ticket package Steve’s last year with the Suns — and what a thrill it was to see him play. I wish I could have seen him the two seasons when he won back to back MVPs and took the Phoenix Suns from 2nd to Last in the conference to first in the NBA.
Steve’s ability to persevere through pain and his work ethic are legendary.
I was always impressed with Steve’s dazzling ability to pass the ball. After his retirement I was impressed with his continued efforts to help others and I even made a donation to one of those efforts. Of course I donated at the MVP level :) It felt cool to give an assist to one of the NBA’s career leaders in assists!
Steve has reached out to help people back home in British Columbia Canada, in the US and in Latin America.
Josep “passes the ball” to his small and medium-sized business clients. He identified a need to make better use of technology, especially Microsoft technology and specifically in the Catalonia region of Spain. To this end, he created a blog in Catalan that offered numerous step-by-step tutorials solving common business problems encountered when using Office 365. Josep later added Spanish language versions of his tutorials in order to attract a wider audience and help more people.
Following a ten-year career with the Canadian Armed Forces, Rob reinvented himself as a web developer. Needing experience he boldly challenges a local game design company to try him out for a free 6 month trial. After which they didn’t uninstall him — instead they hired him!
Rob constantly puts in effort to open source projects, most especially NUnit, which helps developers better test their code. NUnit has been downloaded over 13 million times! Which makes it one of the more popular projects of its kind.
I was fortunate enough to meet Ben while on an airplane flight, and he was gracious enough to allow me to interview him for the book.
Ben has been part of several World Series teams, losing in 2008 with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and then winning in 2015 with the Kansas City Royals, and again as the World Series MVP in 2016 with the Chicago Cubs.
Ben strikes me as a person who truly is an MVP on and off the field. He and three friends give back to young players through their podcast The Show and Go. Ben is also very involved with his church and just helps people wherever he goes. In fact that is what first called my attention to him, was how helped out a woman on our flight.
Pablo Di Loreto
This Argentinian wiz was in 2017 a rare double category MVP, awarded for both “Azure” and “Windows and Devices for IT.”
He claims his self-improvement program is very Argentinian. It certainly displays a great deal of humility and teachability. One of his mottos is: “Don’t believe you know everything. Always orient towards the fountain of all knowledge. Always analyze; Always ask if you don’t understand.”