Unboxing the MVP Award

I was awarded the Microsoft MVP award on October 1st, 2014 for Microsoft Lync.  As is customary, I thought I’d write up a post on the why, and because I’m a dork, walk through the unboxing of the physical part of the award so you can see how it arrives and what’s inside.  Part of this write-up is just for myself, as I was curious about this part of it from the moment I was nominated.

What is an MVP?

It’s easiest to cut and paste from Microsoft’s MVP site MVP.Microsoft.com, and I like easy.

“Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs are exceptional community leaders who actively share their high-quality, real-world deep technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft. They are committed to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft products and technologies.

Who nominated you?

I was nominated more than once, but the first nomination came from Georg Thomas, Lync MVP out of New York and all around great guy.  You should check out his blog here: http://www.lynced.com.au/

Why were you nominated?

I believe initially I was noticed due to my TechNet activity.  TechNet is a pastime for me and I love helping people out as much as I can.  You can see my TechNet contributions in the right pane of this blog because I’m proud of that and encourage people to participate there.

What did you do to receive the award?

A lot, but I don’t know for sure what counted and what made the difference.  They don’t tell you that and I’m not sure there’s a formula.  When you’re nominated, you’ll receive a form to fill out where you can build out your profile.  They want to know primarily what contributions you’ve made to the Lync community.  In my case, I suspect it was TechNet activity, blogging, and free tools I’ve made available.  I’ve done some speaking as well and am generally passionate about Lync.  My profile with some of my contributions can be found here: http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/mvp/Charles%20Anthony%20Caragol-5001050

When did you receive the award?

They’re awarded quarterly, I received mine on October 1st as I mentioned at the top.   The morning the award is handed out, you will hit refresh on your email a thousand times.  I tried to be cool about it, but I wasn’t.  I really failed at the being cool part.

What do you do now?

Nothing changes, I wasn’t contributing because I wanted the award, I was contributing because I like to contribute and be a part of the community.  What does change a bit is I’m very aware of the MVP stamp next to my name and try to be careful that any advice I give is as accurate as possible, not that I wasn’t before.

What do you get?

I get to be identified as an MVP, which is a huge honor for me.  I also get to attend the 2014 MVP Summit, where I’ll get to meet MVPs from all over.  I’m incredibly excited about that because I’ll get to meet many of my heros and people that I’ve known online forever but never had the chance to meet in person.  I also get a physical award which is shipped in a box like this:


I’m sort of curious about the people on the front of the box, they must be MVPs right?  I wonder how they feel about being the face of Microsoft’s MVP program.  Open the box and there’s a plaque, a box, a pamphlet, a pin and a card.


Take it apart, there’s an ID card.  I’m not sure what that’s for just yet.  There’s a lapel pin, which is cool.  A mysterious envelope full of NDA stuff, and the pamphlet welcoming me.



Time to open the big box.  It’s the physical award.

IMG_3231 IMG_3232

There’s a little glass ring that goes on the award, instructions are included.  Please, no jokes about the instructions.


And here it is assembled.


Everything in this kit is well designed and engineered, Microsoft spend a lot of time on this and it really makes you feel appreciated.


Here’s the plaque, mounted.


And last but not least, stickers!  I’ll have to come up with something creative to do with these.


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