MVP Spotlight

Benjamin Soulier

Microsoft Azure
I started actively using the forums in the 2000s to find information, since I was a novice myself in the technologies I was using. Shortly after, Microsoft opened discussion forums about its development technologies. As I am a big fan of the English language and of sharing knowledge on increasingly specialized technical topics, I found myself becoming an active participant in these forums. I then jumped on the blogging bandwagon and created my own technical blog to showcase my professional as well as personal endeavors in the development world. My involvement then went from virtual to real through my participation in numerous technical events as either a speaker or organizer, at the TechDays and other local multi-disciplinary events in Romandie. Recently, I was able to participate in the Global Microsoft Azure Bootcamp, which really gave a positive image of the Microsoft community and its enthusiasm about Microsoft Azure.
The contributions I make through my blog or as a speaker in the communities reflect the true purpose of technology: to make our daily lives easier, to help people who are stuck, and more. This exchange of information with other developers really makes the work I do everyday worthwhile, and motivates me to constantly further my knowledge so I can best help those who, like me, needed or need help.
The best compliment that I've ever received for my work was: "We never would have managed to set up this project and keep it going without you". It was in the context of an implementation involving several different technologies and skills at the development as well as infrastructure level. The challenge was to successfully complete the task in a very limited time frame with an architecture that was coherent, solid and scalable. You really come to understand the value of your work when you receive as much recognition for it as I had in that case.
I started off my career, far removed from development, as an administrator for servers running Sun Solaris. I then found my way into development through ASP 3, C++, ASP.NET 1.1 and the later versions for web technologies. I have also worked on SharePoint from its 2001 version through to the current 2013 version. As for the "Cloud", I've been working on it since 2008, since the announcement at the PDC about Microsoft Azure and its first services.
Starting out as an administrator, I was able to deal with the problems involved in the optimization of systems resources by making the best use of the capacity of the servers on which the applications had to run. More efficient code = less servers for more users!
What I'm most passionate about at the moment are Microsoft's development tools. Their simplicity, efficiency, and ease of use allow more time to be spent on resolving business-related issues instead of technical problems. In this sense, I think that development today is simpler, more concise, and making more progress than ever before.
What I said before fully applies to the Microsoft Azure platform and all the scenarios it resolves so that developers can devote their time and attention to helping their clients do business. Data persistence and geo-replication, elasticity, quick implementation...
Becoming an MVP means giving without expecting anything in return, to help those who don't have the knowledge that we do. It means selfless sharing driven by the desire to progress, always offering more to those who might benefit from our expertise. My advice would therefore be to simply enjoy sharing information and ideas about Microsoft technologies, and to make sharing one of your main priorities.
Since I became an MVP, I really feel that my bond with the communities has grown stronger, and that I've formed a special bond with the people I interact with. I am especially attentive to the quality of what I produce, now that I hold the title of MVP, so I can definitely say it's an advantage for me and for the people I share with :)
I'm working on a few development tutorials about Microsoft Azure Active Directory, because identity management and federation in the Cloud have always been really important to me. Just like every time I tackle a complex subject like this, I would love to be able to simplify its use so that more developers can see it the way I do, as a real advance in the field of identity in business.