I've had a number of conversations today that have made it clear to me we have a bit of a misunderstanding. The vExpert awards are not a popularity contest. The awards will be made on the basis of your activities in 2008 for the community. Do not spam all your friends and colleagues asking for testimonials to be sent to the nomination site.
There is no voting. Multiple nominations will not help you. Instead, a committee will look at the hard work you've put in spreading the good word about virtualization in 2008, and will pick out the most worthy virtualization advocates. Having hundreds of people submit nominations will just make more work for me, and it's never a good strategy to piss off the chairman of the judging committee.
Why did we do it this way? My understanding is that Microsoft just makes the decisions internally and then sends emails out informing you that you've gotten an MVP award. Similarly, while we started with some internal lists, we chose to have a few weeks for public submissions.
Why make all this noise and fuss? First, we felt like we might not know everybody and everything that's going on all around the world. And second, even if I know you as a blogger or Jean knows you as a VMUG leader, we might not realize all the cool stuff you've done outside those limited views.
This strategy is already paying off. Already from the entries so far I've found out that a community regular is also active on some other online forums and answers virtualization and VMware questions there, which is a plus to me. Another blogger, a partner, holds regular meetings with his competitors in the region to compare notes and talk technology. This is also a plus to me. (Small fib: I actually found out both these facts via email, but that kind of thing should be in your essay, dammit!)
So, please don't be modest. Nominate yourself. You know better than anyone else what you were up to last year. If it makes you feel better, I can change the title of the form to "Application," which was its original title anyway. Really, don't be shy. It's my fault for using the word "nominate" and not clarifying how the process was going to work.
I realize there is value in being recognized by your peers, and maybe later we figure out some other way to capture that, like a Virtual Prom King or VMware People's Choice Award or something. But right now, for this award, I don't want to penalize people without big megaphones. I want to find the people who have earned it with their actions.
The last 24 hours did have one good effect from my perspective! Many blogs have posted about vExpert to spread the word. Thanks! I really do appreciate it! And no worries — you won't be penalized if lots of your readers and colleagues have nominated you, but people are going to get tired of our blogs if we do much more of it. My fault. Please accept my apologies.
I do encourage you to submit nominations for other folks that I might not know about, or to tell me a story I haven't heard.
Thanks! The response so far has been amazingly great, both out there and also internally here at VMware. We're going to have a good time together this year.
Questions? Feel free to shoot them to firstname.lastname@example.org. That goes to me, but it lets me organize my inbox a little better.
Have a great weekend!