I have seen several blog posts by former MVPs who have questioned the value of their past award, or the attitude of Microsoft to their specialization. I have been a Visio MVP for a few years now, and I have just been re-awarded for another year, and I can only say that I have always enjoyed the interaction with the product team at Microsoft, and have felt that they have listened to us MVPs. I am sure that there are pressures from other parts of Microsoft on them, and they may not be able to deliver all that they would like to.
I have attended the annual MVP conference regularly, and have met many MVPs who are far more knowledgeable than me about IT in general, but then there was no Computer Science degrees when I was at college. People of my age didn’t have the opportunity to study IT in our youth … it just didn’t exist as a discipline. People of my age had to move into IT from other disciplines at a later date. In my case, I moved over from architecture, as did several of the original Visio folks that I met back in 1997 at my first Visio conference … pre-Microsoft. Hopefully, my lack of a pure IT background is made up for by a pragmatic approach to the use of IT in business.
I was using Unix CAD and database systems for a few years before the prevalence of Windows in corporations forced me to move over to the other side of the fence. I am glad I did, because the flexibility and power of Visio has kept my little grey cells busy for quite a long time now. I have seen imitators come and go, but Visio has remained. I have seen Microsoft dominate the desktop; bank-roll Apple to keep the competition alive; dabble with the tablet PC; then see Apple re-present it in a form that redefined expectations. The connected world is at last becoming a reality, and this has caused a paradigm shift that Microsoft are having to accommodate.
Microsoft have to maintain their millions of users on board as they navigate through these choppy waters. It is perhaps inevitable that some people are lost overboard, and it may be that the course has to be re-chartered along the way, but I am currently confident that there is a place, and a need, for Visio, as the foremost data graphics visualization application, in business.
And my little cells will have something to get greyer with …