For many MVPs, being named as an awardee comes as a surprise. Not Atley Hunter. Becoming an MVP was a deliberate goal—and one that helped change the course of his career.
A long-time developer, Atley was first inspired to become part of the MVP community when he heard Visual C++ MVP Kate Gregory speak at a large code camp in Toronto. “She has an incredible speaking style,” says Atley. “And I learned a lot. I thought, ‘I want to do that.’”
At a Tech Days event in 2010 he asked a Microsoft evangelist how to become an MVP. Introduced to some user groups, Atley soon began developing apps for Windows Phone in earnest and then sharing what he learned at conferences, in forums and on his blog.
Last year, Atley was named a Windows Phone Development MVP and six months later he quit his job to dedicate himself full-time to Windows app development.
Today, in addition to being a Microsoft MVP and a 2012 MVP of the Year, Atley is a Nokia Ambassador, as well as a Telerik Insider and Telerik MVP—and he is the most prolific single-person Windows app developer out there, currently on the verge of having 200 Windows 8 and 200 Windows Phone apps in the marketplace.
An app he placed in the marketplace just two months ago, 101 Love Msgs, already has chalked up more than 70,000 downloads, 1,300 ratings and 4 stars. He points to it as an example of what he’s learned in the last couple of years of—sometimes frenzied—app development. “As developers, we’re used to solving big, complex problems so when we go about building an app, we often overthink it. But I love solving simple problems with the Windows Phone and my rules to do that are pretty simple: Create a good UI, make people smile, make it easy to use and make sure it does exactly what you say it will. If you get three out of four of those, your app will be a success.”
Despite the extensive hours Atley puts into developing Windows apps, he still manages to dedicate a great deal of time to the community. In February, he traveled across the United States and Canada participating in events, including the MVP Global Summit (you can see a video of him at the MVP Showcase on this web site). In March, Atley managed to reach six US east coast cities in eight days. Sometimes, in addition to Code Fests and Code Camps, Atley will host individual coding events at his home where they’ll “pound out” 10 to 15 apps over the weekend.
Even with his rigorous travel schedule, Atley insists he’s “always available” and encourages the community to reach out to him.