I've been a part of the sphere of Microsoft communities since 2005: first as a member of my school's association, then as a Microsoft Student Partner, and now as a Windows Azure MVP. It all started during a presentation day at my school, where the association presented to me what they were doing with Microsoft – for the Imagine Cup, or for internal presentations at my school. At the time, I used to train people in the advanced functions of Word. After that, I got interested in development, and a Microsoft architect introduced me to Windows Azure and the ZeCloud community in 2008. Naturally, I joined to see what the early stages of the public cloud looked like. Little by little, I got more and more involved in the community, in offline events or Windows Phone / Azure hackathons, Azure Camps by ZeCloud, TechDays, or, more recently, the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp, which I partially organized and lead in Paris. I manage to get involved in all of these events mainly thanks to Soat, the company I work for, who really helps me to share my passion.
That's what I like best – sharing my experience with other people, since there's no point in specializing in a technology, in my opinion, if you're not going to use it to the benefit of the rest of the community. Plus, sharing my knowledge with others provides me with valuable feedback or Windows Azure use cases that I never would have thought of, which in turn broadens my own experience. I really try, therefore, to share my knowledge as much as possible – with a fun twist, if I can, because I think people learn more when they're having fun!
In my opinion, the best recognition that any participant in the community can get is not a compliment. It's the fact that the community thrives and keeps itself going. I think that my role is not so much to bring the community to life, but to give it impetus, because everyone can share their experiences and answer other members' questions. I'm there to give it that spark it needs, and of course to play my role as a member the rest of the time.
I've been asked several times which schools or technologies are best for learning how to use Windows Azure. Personally, I acquired my skills largely on my own, or thanks to the different communities, so I tend to be of the opinion that it's not the school which builds up your profile, but your passion instead.
What I love about the technologies is how open they are. I always enjoyed working on different technical fronts before, with client applications and .Net back ends, and now I enjoy just simply working with Windows Azure, which not only allows me to use technologies I know well, but also lets me discover new ones.
The advice I'd give to anyone who wants to become an MVP is simply to share and exchange ideas with other members of the communities. It's a rewarding experience, both on a technical and human level.
Ok, so one last thing about me: this year I'm putting the focus on sharing even more than last year, so please don't hesitate to follow me on my personal blog, the Soat blog, or the community Facebook group.