On the 1st of the month at the start of each quarter, through its MVP program (@MVPAward), Microsoft has been awarding (and/or re-awarding) external individuals with the MVP designation (for a period of 1 year) for their contributions (over approximately the prior 12 months) in a single area of expertise. Some people have maintained their designation (possibly changing technical expertise along the way) for well over 10 years continuously. That program is evolving in a very positive way to embrace the broader contributions of some MVPs.
It’s probably about time for me to announce that I am now a Microsoft Regional Director. The logo has been on the side there for a little while.
Let’s do the FAQ thing…
So you’ve been hired by Microsoft? No.
You’re an MVP. So this is another award like that? No.
Is it something like a Microsoft Certification? No.
Teasing pause. Being a Regional Director is a role, external to Microsoft, but working closely with Microsoft, that Microsoft invites select external people to undertake under contract.
How much does the role pay? Nothing.
Do you get any specific benefits? "… working closely [very closely] with Microsoft… " at many levels, a presence on http://theregion.com, various other invitations, offers and program awards, and working with fellow program members.
How many RDs are there in the world? Right now, a little over 125 (see http://theregion.com) and the program has been around for many years.
Can I apply to be one? No. You have to be invited. Start by getting to know your local Microsoft Evangelist/Advisors.
What are the attributes of someone invited to become an RD.
From http://theregion.com (the official site for RDs)
Regional Directors are members of an elite, worldwide group of technology thought-leaders known for their national and international speaking tours, their authorship of books, articles and blogs, and their business acumen. Regional Directors are well-versed on the totality of the software industry. They are recognized for their achievements in communicating the benefits of emerging technologies.
and further qualification…
RDs are seldom specialized around a single [can be multiple] technology, but rather are well-versed on the totality of the software industry. Regional Directors have a strong affinity for emerging technology and are known to be early adopters of Microsoft products and technologies. Around the globe, RDs provide strategic technical direction for their business community.
So what tasks does the ‘role’ entail?
RDs start by working their regular day to day careers with employers or customers. On top of that, or in the course of doing that, they evangelize Microsoft technologies and products through various channels, either of their own volition or sometimes at Microsoft’s request. This may involving blogging (duh!) or other communication mediums, tweeting, meeting with customers, speaking at events, attending conferences, meeting with Microsoft teams and executives , and advising companies or other institutions, etc. RDs also bring valuable and trusted community and industry insight back to Microsoft.
In the last couple of monthly, I’ve been extremely busy lately with work and RD/MVP stuff. I have a few blog series coming up around WP7, HTML5 & Silverlight, onto which you may want to keep an RSS reader tuned…