I received my MVP package from Microsoft and spent the better part of the weekend just reading all the NDAs and such that came with it. The MVP program is great but as with anything, it comes at a price. I’m still trying to figure out of this NDA overrides, compliments, or replaces the one we have at work with Microsoft. Can I access MVP type information for my day job or is that information I would obtain under the MVP NDA and not our corporate one. Sigh.

The MVP Global Summit for 2004 just passed so I missed out on it. I’m assuming I’ll be invited to next years because my acceptance came just after the summit. The summit is under pretty tight wraps, even by Microsoft’s standards. No reporters were allowed to listen to speeches and nobody was allowed to bring laptops or recording devices to the presentations (with a keynote speech by CEO Steve Ballmer and Windows Group VP Jim Allchin). Some MVPs did post what they could on their blogs so you can check out what little details there were here:

MVPs at the Summit – Betsy Aoki

MVP Summit – James Curran

MVP Summit – Sander Gerz

Musing from the MVP Summit – Bill Graziano

Summit Day 3 – Ambrose Little

The really interesting thing about the MVP program is that they have now launched a pilot where MVP partners will be allowed to add to the Microsoft official Knowledge Base. This is the first time people outside of MS have been allowd to add to the KB so it’s very exciting. Called the “Community Solutions Content Program for Microsoft Knowledge Base,” the inaugural program allows the company’s certified MVPs to add content to the company’s database of technical and how-to articles that fuels its online customer support system.

It seems to me that Microsoft might be walking a PR tightrope with this move. On the one hand, it’s good that they’re recognizing the efforts of independent developers to work around bugs and find innovative ways to use Microsoft products. On the other hand, isn’t that what we depend on the manufacturer for? What does it say about Microsoft to discover that they couldn’t get around to documenting some critical feature, and couldn’t even be bothered to pay an employee to do the documentation after the fact?

As a working developer, you’ve got better things to do than worry about the political implications of KB article authorship. No matter who writes them, the articles are one of the best resources around for making use of Microsoft products, and you’d be silly to ignore some or all of them just because of who wrote them.