On July 1st, 2016 I received an email from Microsoft congratulating me on being awarded the Microsoft Excel MVP award for 2016. I was the only new person in the Excel category to receive the award out of the list of winners and I had to reread the email quite a few times before my mind could accept that I was now officially part of an amazing group of Excel users from across the world.
Since there is never a feeling like your first, I wanted to take time and document my experience to (1) selfishly remind myself of what it felt like, (2) thank those who have helped me get to where I am today, and (3) let you know how the program works and maybe how you too can one day be awarded this prestigious award from Microsoft Corporation.
A Special Thank You
I want to first thank Microsoft for considering my work in the Excel online community worthy of recognition. The very fact that Microsoft dedicates resources to recognize outside contributors, shows the value they place on their customers and developers. I also want to give a special thank you to Zack Barresse for nominating me for this award.
I would also like to take a moment and thank all of the other Excel bloggers that I have interacted with and even spent time chatting with over the years. I have never been part of a collective where it was so easy to interact with any level of the community, from long-time veterans to full-time consultants. The fact that so many people take time to help each other solve problems is a great testimony to how healthy the Excel community is. I would like to call a few people out by name whom I have spent many hours interacting not only on Excel-relate topics but everything from website building to brainstorming ways to turn the impossible into the possible. I've truly enjoyed getting know know and work with you over the past few years!
- Petros Chatzipantazis (Spreadsheet1.com)
- Jordan Goldmeier (OptionExplicitVBA.com)
- Jon Acampora (ExcelCampus.com)
- John Michaloudis (MyExcelOnline.com)
- Oz du Soleil (DataScopic.net)
- Rick Grantham (RickGrantham.com)
There are many more content creators and plain ol' Excel-users out there who I've had interactions with through my email newsletter, online forums, and the comments section of this very blog over the years. I am so thankful to have learned from you and hopefully I have been able to provide you all with some value as well.
I also want to take a moment and thank my beautiful wife Stephanie for all her support as I have built and run this website. As you can imagine with a full-time day job, hours after work are few and far between. The fact that she is willing to let me spend time working on this site always amazes me and I'm so thankful to have a life-long partner who understands and supports my passions.
And finally, I want to thank you all, MY READERS!!!
Without you, this award would not have been given to me. Thank you for all the support, the kind words, suggestion on making my published solutions better, and yes even all you grammar police who make my articles flow much better! The only way I can truly show my appreciation is to continue to share my knowledge and experiences in the corporate world and I pray I am able to do that for many years to come!
What Is A Microsoft MVP?
If you are reading this and have absolutely know idea what being an "MVP" is, I can fully relate. When I started really digging into Excel 5 to 6 years ago many of the websites I studied were run by these "mystical" MVPs (ie Chandoo, JKP, Ron de Bruin, MrExcel, Chip Pearson, DataPigTech -- just to name a few). I always figured based on the wealth of knowledge these particular folks were able to generate, that they must have gone through a special program or passed some sort of crazy test to get the award. That couldn't be further from the truth.
Absolutely anyone can be an MVP in a Microsoft category if they genuinely want to help others and put in some effort. Microsoft gives out these awards every quarter based on submitted nominations and they analyze how much VALUE you are bringing to the online community as a whole. That means you can create a tutorial blog, you could run a tips email newsletter, or you could just spend your spare time helping others on an online forum. There are many ways outside of being an Author or Consultant that can propel you to get a nomination.
To sum it up, Microsoft describes their MVPs as follows:
What Does Becoming An MVP Mean?
The MVP award is given based on past accomplishments and absolutely nothing is expected of you going-forward if you are given the award. For the year that you have MVP status, you are given a whole slew of Microsoft Software subscriptions, access to webinars presented by the Microsoft Dev Team, and a ticket to the Microsoft MVP Summit at Microsoft's Headquarters where you get behind-the-scenes access to what they've been working on.
If you would like to learn more about this award and all that it entails, ExcelTV interviewed one of the MVP Community Involvement Team Members in a video posted here.
Some Closing Thoughts
It is an unbelievable feeling to have put in so many hours of work over the past few years and to be able to help so many people across the world with problems they face. I can remember not too long ago, entering the corporate world after earning my MBA and not having once used a VLOOKUP function. I knew nothing about VBA or writing computer code and I definitely had no understanding of how to design a reusable spreadsheet model. I can definitely say, the sole driver of my self-taught education in Excel was my mentality of "Excel can do anything".
I can remember early on thinking up many VBA automations without any sign of it being possible via a Google search. My commitment to not give up and to not be afraid to ask for help provided me with the ability to always come up with a solution (and learn about 5 more new techniques along the way!). This mentality definitely helped drive my decision to create this Excel blog and was a message I wanted to promote throughout its pages. That is why at the end of every article I write, I have a message that points you to my strategies to getting the answer to your excel questions. While I may only be one man with a few hours in the evening to help out, there are millions of Excel users throughout the world who are ready and willing to help you become better and that is why I absolutely love the Excel online community!