This is me kissing MVPship goodbye forever

So, I posted a question a couple of days ago asking those who’d been to the MVP summit this week whether or not a feature I requested on the vNext request was being developed. Now, I got jumped up and down on in that question because the MVPs have been slapped this year with NDAs up the wahoo, and they are all too scared to talk about what they’ve learned – I like and respect these guys a lot, but the response on the thread was a little bit OTT in my opinion.

Now, the point of this blog post. I think Microsoft have gone too far with this whole NDA thing. While I understand that they have commercial confidences that they need to keep from the competition, but not everything that they cover in the summit will be so secret that the wider world can’t be told about it. This brings me to the point – Microsoft in the past has relied on the MVPs to be the advocates of the up and coming releases, they are the front line in evangelising the technologies that Microsoft have come up with.  When a product reaches a certain level of maturity, the whole product evangelist thing stops as an official marketing tool for Microsoft. At this point, the reliance on MVPs to act as the funnel of information out to the development community becomes more important.

Now, with the use of the NDA creating an effective barrier to this, Microsoft has just hamstrung their key marketing frontline from preparing the wider public and getting them excited about what’s coming. (BTW – this is in reaction to an MVP last year letting the cat out of the bag on upcoming features that were genuinely NDAd – leading to this knee-jerk blanket NDA). Bear in mind that Microsoft has suffered some embarrassing marketing SNAFUs over the last few months (way to go Muglia), you’d think that it would want all the help that it can get, but apparently this is not so.

Off topic slightly: Microsoft, WPF is the best development framework you have ever produced. Don’t dilute and dumb it down, or even run it down. Improve it and continue to see how it can be innovated, and you will find the take up increases. Initially WPF was such a step change that people were scared off it, but now they are more exposed to it thanks in no small part to your MVPs, that takeup is increasing – ironically at just the point you’ve lost interest in it.

Now, the amazing comment was that they couldn’t even discuss what was said with other MVPs from the same discipline who weren’t able to attend. I’m sorry Microsoft, but you’ve lost the plot here. You need to stop being so insular and actually start communicating with people – you could take a leaf from Apple’s book here and start to get a better marketing campaign going.

Well, I had to get my frustration off my chest here. In the last few weeks, I’ve heard a real company line from the guys and girls inside the Redmond ivory tower. The thing that has become markedly apparent is that they don’t get how their decisions affect those of us in the wider world. With every bit of marketing foul-up and crossed wires, they can negatively affect entire companies – and they just don’t get it; and this is incredibly frustrating.

Oh well, I guess this post has just kicked any chances of getting nominated for MVP into touch and, you know what, I don’t care? I am too old to put up with the crap I heard this week and I am now, officially going to take a look at what other platforms can give me and my company.

What the hell. Nobody reads my ramblings anyway, and Microsoft certainly don’t care about small business owners, so if you do happen to stumble across this; please help, I’m a prisoner in a jam factory. It will be interesting to see if any of my compatriots on the Disciples read my blog – if they do, this post should stir things up.

7 thoughts on “This is me kissing MVPship goodbye forever

  1. Jeremy

    I, for one, read your ramblings, so keep them coming regardless of what platform(s) you end up on.

    I completely understand your frustration with the Microsoft world, though I came upon my long-overdue self-admittance from an angle unrelated to MVP status or goings-on. The result for me wasn’t a complete departure but a serious adjustment into a thoroughly mixed-platform approach to my personal and professional lives, both of which had until that time been entirely focused on the Microsoft platform.

    As a side note regarding WPF: I have loved WPF-the-concept since I first laid eyes on it some six or so years ago. I still love its promise. Sadly, however, it hasn’t delivered on that promise. We are now a half a decade of WPF later and one still cannot write an even-remotely-rich application in WPF and avoid having it drop to near-single-digit frame rates, even on the most powerful of machines, and that poor performance can only be noticed after you wait for the damn app to start up. I still love the concept, but every day it more and more resembles ASP.NET Web Forms, in that I can appreciate the strong conceptual model behind its design and I can see the effort being put into its implementation, but that at the end of the day if good apps can’t be delivered with it, apps proving out its conceptual model and design, then its conceptual model, its detailed design, its implementation, etc. matter for naught. 😦

  2. Morning Pete,

    You do have one, early Sunday morning reader here (kids eh?). I can understand your frustrations here …

    I am not so fussed about the MVP NDAs, I know you were asking about a single feature, XAML debugging, but what is more imporant is the overall diection on WPF, I doubt the MVPs could answer that one!, Will there be a significant vNext? WPF is a good platform, but it feels like it has not reached its full potential. Performance is a concern, and before I recommend it to any of our customers I encourage them to create a performance prototype first, whereas with WinForms I would deem this unnecessary.

    Fortunately I think Silverlight is in very good shape now, both feature-wise and competitively. Silvelight is lucky, it does not have another well established MS technology to compete with. Whilst I support WPF, I always tell people that WinForms is a fantastic and well-established technology, a bit dull (you’ll probably never find me blogging about it!), but you can rely on it.

    I am strating to look more closely at HTML5, where I work we are getting more and more interest in it. I am currently working on a talk “Flex, Silverlight and HTML5 … time to decide”, which is all about helping people make an informed choice, rather than just choosing HTML5 because it is cool, or Flex because it is ubiquitous. You have to know about the competing technologies and their relative merits.

    Anyhow, I think you are right to look at other technologies and platforms, is HTML5 among them?

    Colin E.

  3. peteohanlon

    Thanks for your comments guys. Colin, I have reached the point where I am checking out Html 5, but also Gears.

  4. I read you ramblings and am a MVP and find it strange that certain people I know and trust are unable to tell me what went down.

    I too see this as a missed marketing opportunity by Microsoft.

    Ho Hum

  5. Mike Brown

    we’ve discussed this and I fully feel where you’re coming from. As a consultant focusing on Microsoft tech, it’s frustrating to hear comments along the line that my voice isn’t important because I’m not the target audience for WPF. The issues that I come across are those that I discover serving their target audience. We’ve both exchanged notes on how the marketing snafus have cost us business.
    In the long run, the decision we have to make comes down to whether it’s better to keep specializing on MSFT tech or to start learning other frameworks to be more versatile. Unfortunately, the responses we get make that decision easier.

    1. peteohanlon

      Thanks for the comment Mike. I know exactly where you’re going with this line of reasoning because that’s the exact same direction I’m heading in. If too many people start to do this, then MS ends up without a business.

  6. pinkyperky42

    It’s bizarre. MS must have been taking lessons on how to alienate people.

    Or perhaps they have a secret suicide pact, together with the people who run Corporate Communications at HP?

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