Monday morning, I "woke up" (ok, 10:30am) to receive the news that I had been awarded the Microsoft MVP Award for SharePoint, joining the ranks of many well established and outstanding SharePoint practitioners worldwide.
Lots of thoughts and feelings followed – surprised, happy, and speechless. But mostly, I feel grateful. I remember an after dinner conversation with Paul Swider a few years ago after SharePoint Saturday New York. We reflected how SharePoint has offered many of us tremendous opportunities. It's hard to imagine where we'd be without it.
(Of course, any "I'd like to thank the Academy" moment runs the risk of accidentally leaving someone out. Apologies in advance.)
But first, I'd have to thank the team at Dell Software (formerly Quest) for supporting and enabling my passion for helping audiences understand SharePoint's capabilities to solve business and technical needs. In particular, Bill Evans, Susan Roper, Steve Dickson, Jennifer LuPiba, Dan Gauntner, Charles Ramsey, Ryan Schertzer, Chrissy See, Dan Barker, Curtis Young, Ilia Sotnikov, Alex Kirillov, Linda Holm, Ghazwan Khairi, Doug Davis and many others. Special thanks to Michelle Fallon for patience and her tireless support for our SharePoint community endeavors (and my occasionally nutty phone calls.)
I'm also indebted to a large pool of folks at Microsoft for, well, creating SharePoint and the community that followed. It's a huge team, clearly, but Melissa Travers, Jared Spataro, Bill Baer, Dan Kogan, Dene Cleaver, Christian Finn, Tom Rizzo, Jeff Teper, Barrie Mirman, Ed Render, Chris Bowen, Ryan Sockalosky, Chris Bortlik, Richard Harbridge and Thomas Mechelke all come to mind.
There's also a long line of folks I've worked with who empowered me to get proficient with SharePoint in the first place – Gary Gardner, Jacques Ouimet, Marc Ouellette, Jay Kondakindi, John Ward – and especially the team at KMA – David Goldstein, Jean Tufts, Mike Gilronan, Sara Clark, Adrian DuCille, Derek Cash-Petersen and Jorge Rodriguez.
Of course, I've got to single out some friends who've worked with me on joint presentations at many of the conference events over the past few years -- Mike Gilronan (again!), Sadie Van Buren, Julie Turner, Chris Bortlik, Jason Himmelstein and Fabian Williams.
SharePoint is a global family – here in Boston and far away. Wherever I've travelled, I've been welcomed and inspired by community members like Christian "Mr." Buckley, Jeremy Thake, Geoff Varosky, Dux Raymond Sy, Michael Noel, Paul Swider, Erica Toelle, Fabian Williams, Eric Riz, Dan Holme, Mike Fitzmaurice, Becky Isserman, Clayton Cobb, Andrew Connell, Michael Hinckley, Greg Hurlman, Jason Gallicchio, Randy Williams, Todd Klindt, Ben Curry, Marc Anderson, Shane Young, Jennifer Mason, Inna Gordon, Joel Oleson, Joshua Cliff, Mark Rackley, Christa Wheeler, Dave Coleman, Chris Givens, Corey Roth, Chris Riley, Rob Windsor, Ruven Gotz, Robert Bogue, Scott Jamison, Tom Resing, Wes Preston, Talbott Crowell, SB Chatterjee, and many, many others!
It's also a pleasure being inducted with fellow first time SharePoint MVP classmates Eric Riz and Chris Givens. Both are super deserving of the award, and it's nice to be mentioned in the same sentence with them.
Finally, there's no way I'd be able to work in this community travel to events without the love and support of my family - my wife Hayley, and my children Devin, Nathaniel and Rachel. Much love and thanks.
I started working with SharePoint way back before the release of what became SharePoint Portal Server 2001. Through the years, I've installed SharePoint hundreds and hundreds of times – and have written and spoken about the platform almost as much. There are two points I try to make in most of my sessions.
First, SharePoint is different. There's something special about this technology and its ability to transform lives. Whether it's getting a SharePoint engineer home to her family just a few minutes earlier, or enabling a nonprofit health agency to serve the needy around the world, or anywhere in between, SharePoint is there. And now, with Yammer and Office 365 as part of the mix, that impact is greater than ever.
Second, this community is different. At conferences, I like to ask audience members attending their first SharePoint event to raise their hand. I think in finding and engaging new members of the community we replenish the energy of this far-flung group. Everyone has something to learn, and everyone has something to share.
Jerry Seinfeld once notes that in sports, we don't root for players anymore, we root for uniforms. He was talking about player turnover. Here, I'd like to note that the specific person – me – doesn't really matter all that much. Much has been written already about the MVP program means and what it signifies. Today, it doesn't mean anything about me. Not yet, anyway. It's up to me to make it matter. This award exists because of so many other people, even beyond those I've mentioned. It's not a reward for past achievements, but an opportunity to reach more people and serve more of this community. Hope to make you proud.
Vacation Sky, © 2012 Christopher F. McNulty from Flickr