Perhaps not the best person?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/12/09 21:01 -05:00, original URI:

Going back a little more than three and a half years ago, I was asked if I would be interested in becoming a Microsoft MVP again, this time for the MSLU and international support I was doing in the newsgroups.

It was not an offer, it was one of those checks to see if I was interested enough to make running the idea up the flagpole a productive idea.

I said yes, and I admit I was flattered (some people try really hard to be made MVPs and even fill out applications; as a former MVP who resigned I never expected to be tapped).

Then, while that was going on, about three and a half years ago I was offered a job at Microsoft.

I accepted and the plan was for me to start three months later (I wanted to finish up  particular project I was working on).

It made the whole MVP thing more of a theoretical issue, since once I started as a full-time employee I obviously wouldn't be an MVP anymore. But it was still nice to be asked.

Anyway, during the interim period (after I accepted the offer and before my start date), I was contacted again and told that some of the feedback that had been received about me made it clear that there were people who felt I woud not be a reliable representative to support Microsoft technologies in a recognized capacity such as a Most Valued Professional.

(The person who was telling me this news did not agree, for what it is worth)

I found myself unsure about how to feel about this, although I did find the timing kind of amusing and maybe a little ironic (especially when considering that my manager was telling me that he considered my newsgroup and presentation and Unicode presence to be an important component in the job I would be doing once I started -- clearly they did no agree with the assessment!).

Since then, I have stayed active in newsgroups and done a bunch of presentations.

And I have been blogging for over a year now. According to the stats that were published last month I had the fourth most looked at blog on in November (a stat I refuse to accept as valid, there is no way I am even close to that watched, especially last month!).

BUT there is a flip side to all that.

There is a standards strategy piece of our team that as far as I know I am not on officially (the offical piece is made up of PMs). And there is a community connection piece of our team that I am definitely not on.

This blog is pretty much just my own 'random stuff of dubious value' that is just as likely to agree with what other people on the team think as it is to disagree (although ideally there is more of the latter than the former).

Even if I am popular here (a premise I will continue to reject for the time being, if for no other reason that I don't think my subject matter is that popular!), that does not necessarily make me the best representative of the team. Especially since I am not actively working with people whose job it is to shape the overall message of what our stuff does, and this blog is not an official arm of their efforts. I'm sure regular readers can think of mistakes I have made here in the past, if not just take it as read that such mistakes do, in fact, exist.

Add to all that the fact that my posts that are not about internationalization always get more traffic than the ones that are.

That has got to mean something.

So now, as I think about the future I wonder if I am doing the right thing. If I am the best person to be doing what I am doing. Or if it even needs to be done. Perhaps I should be doing something else.

Chilling thoughts for a Friday evening? Perhaps, but trust me when I tell you they are probably more chilling for me to write than for you to read...

(I am now officially over my quota of self-indulgent crap for the month and perahps next month, too. All I need is ten pictures of my cat and for me to tell you what muppet I am today to make this a Livejournal post, so I will stop now)

# Stuart Ballard on 9 Dec 2005 10:06 PM:

Well, you've singlehandedly got me, for one, to care about i18n and collations and stuff.

Ok, to be completely honest, I don't care a *huge* amount about it (our app would almost certainly fall down horribly today if run in a non-English-speaking locale and that thought doesn't fill me with horror because it's not likely to need to any time soon) but at least I'm trying to keep the issues in mind for future work. And if not for your blog posts, I wouldn't be.

Your insightful and at times whimsical take on the issues has made the whole area more approachable and, dare I say it, actually interesting :)

# Marvin on 10 Dec 2005 12:42 AM:

Funny reading about MVP award. As far as I understand officially this award is for past community activities and not for being "reliable representative to support Microsoft technologies in a recognized capacity".
The fact that people who decide on awards do look at it in such way explains why there are so many plainly not very smart or helpful but "oh I so like whatever MS is doing" people who have been given the award lately.

# Mihai on 10 Dec 2005 3:20 AM:

"... I wonder if I am doing the right thing. If I am the best person to be doing what I am doing."
When (a while ago) I have reported a bug found by Bill Hall, you told me "But he did not tap me about this one -- you did. And the docs will be updated because of that, so after they are updated you can know that you were someone who helped make that happen"
Even if there is someone better for this task, until that person starts doing it, it does not exist.
So, shut up and write! We will read! :-)

"Or if it even needs to be done."

# Adam T on 10 Dec 2005 6:19 AM:

Please write a bit less on the boring sorting stuff and you'll be great ;)


# James on 11 Dec 2005 1:23 PM:

I think you're doing a great service with this blog. Your topics have not only been a direct help to me when working on internationalization code, but also led to an increased understanding of collation, sorting, and all of the various shades of grey that one should be aware of.

All you have to do is continue to make it clear that your blog is just that: Your Blog. And keep posting, and we'll keep reading. :-)

Thanks Michael!

emma williams on 10 Aug 2008 6:30 PM:

yeah you are doing a good job.i am woundering if you could email me back on some stuff on goblaization.and how it works.

i am also doing a project on gobalization about fashion plz email me back.



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