In Part 1 of this post, I gave you some insight into what the Microsoft MVP award is and how it is awarded. This post will focus on the unique benefits to actually being an MVP.
Quick Answers to Tech Questions
I can pick up the phone and call another MVP or even participate in a private forum to see if someone else around the world has experienced the same issue. Clients are often amazed that I can get the answer they need faster than their own IT departments!
As an MVP, I have had the opportunity to create a mental rolodex of the most qualified tech professionals in business today.
Access to Microsoft
Being an MVP means I share what I hear directly from clients to individuals at Microsoft who can truly make a difference.
Recently, while at an MVP feedback meeting, and with my client’s consent, I was able to show someone at Microsoft my automotive client’s instance, describing what they wanted to do and their pain points with the software. Microsoft was eager to receive this feedback as they continue to improve their products.
Another example is that of one of my retail clients, who was having an issue with a specific Project Online resource feature. I was able to reach out to someone at Microsoft who was involved in the development of this feature. My contact suggested that I have the client submit a proposed change to Microsoft backed by a business case. The feature was reviewed by Microsoft, which then decided to make a change to the software. With the power of Project Online, the customer was able to see the change within a few months of it being rolled out.
Serious Network Benefits
Being an MVP means I know the best of the best around the world. It’s a real kick when a customer says they read an article from another MVP, and I can often comment that I know the individual personally and that we recently chatted on the phone or participated in an event together.
An MVP might call me about a challenging timesheet/task update question, while I might call another MVP to get advice about integration with another Microsoft product. As an MVP, not only can I call people in my software area of expertise, but I can get connected to other MVPs in other areas when needed. This is very powerful and gives me a huge network of resources across all Microsoft products.
Also, MVPs in my software specialty have become friends for life. Sometimes in our forums we share stories about weddings, babies and life-changing events like floods, terrorist attacks, and even war. This is not a news report, this is someone sharing personal feelings of things they are experiencing right now, and I’m honored to be there for them when they need me.
Nonstop Learning & Sharing
Being a frequent (okay….constant) traveler, I get to meet lots of people all over the country at all levels of ability and in all industries. I learn from them all. Novices help me to see pitfalls to software usability and experts help me to see the range of ways technology can be used. My head and my heart are in this business together because every time I travel I feel grateful for my unique opportunity to learn, grow and share.
Are you interested in becoming an MVP? Or do you need the kind of help only an MVP can provide, specifically for Microsoft Project or Project Online? Please feel free to contact me to start the conversation!
Photo Credit http://www.motophotoknappscorner.com/by
I am really excited to tell you about a cool event I attended recently. Held on Saturday April 1st at Davenport University, it was a free workshop for any attendee who wanted to learn more about Office 365 including Word, Excel, Access, Power BI and more.
The event was organized by Microsoft MVP Andy Tabisz of WorkSmart Database Masters.
Underwritten by sponsors, including Davenport University and WorkSmart, there was no cost to attend and even included lunch.
Without further ado, here are some of my takeaways from this event:
Presented by Amy Babinchak – The Art of Integration: How Do Your Programs Work Together?
Presented by Bethann Talsma – How to Give an Effective PowerPoint Presentation
Presented by Corentin Cras-Meneur – Taming Outlook for Mac (and some Tips for Windows too!)
Over the last few months, I have been chatting with customers and colleagues about various calls, e-mails, or text messages which are scams.
This very popular scam has been scaring people into thinking they need to pay for unneeded services because their computer is issuing viruses. You can read more about this by reviewing the Snopes article on this scam. http://www.snopes.com/fraud/telephone/microsoft.asp Also if you get bored at lunch sometime, there are lots of scams you can read about. Just because it is on the Internet and listed as news, does not mean it is true!
I actually experienced a call from one of these scammers and he was very convincing. For example he said he was from AVG virus protection, but when I said that I wasn’t using that on this computer, he rattled off a few other programs. Next he said he was from Windows support and asked me what version I was using (I did not answer). Next he said he had the model number of my computer (he rattled off some number that did not match my computer). Over and over again it appeared the caller was trying to get a match of something specific to my computer. Just because you have heard of the company does not mean the call is legitimate!
The caller indicated my computer was sending out viruses and had to be fixed immediately. I indicated my computer was still in a laptop bag from my recent flight and not turned on. The caller indicated my computer can still send out viruses even if it is not on. I pressed the caller for a company name or website and what I got was a fake website. The company name also seemed suspicious “USA Services” which clearly is not Microsoft, not my Internet Provider and not my virus protection provider. He prompted me to turn on my computer and I faked my way through some preliminary steps with him. Next he told me to go to a website so he could “help” me find the viruses on my computer. I asked him to instead direct me through the steps he was going to do and I would do them myself. He did not agree to that. After much frustration on his part, he finally said he would call me next week when I had more time to work with him . Immediately after I hung up, I searched the internet to learn more about this scam. The caller made what appeared to be several more attempts over the next week but never left a message and luckily I never wasted anymore time with this person.
This week I had a customer who shared with me the best response ever to one of these phone scams – “I don’t have a computer.” Amazing how fast the scammer hung up the phone :).
Over the years I have experienced several scams. I have received text messages, e-mails and phone calls from places claiming to be from my bank, from Amazon, or from some other reputable company. All of them are asking me to click a link or in some way provide personal information. When in doubt, always go to a new browser windows and enter the actual website of the real company to view your account details.
Here are some guidelines to help you determine if it is a scam
Here are a couple of stories from customers about scams –
A company that is in the insurance industry sent out a test email message saying something like “look at my cute cat video” just to see who opened it. Over 50% of the employees opened it and clicked on the link. The company instituted training about avoiding e-mail scans later that month. If it is not company related, do not open it! became their new motto.
A company that is in the architecture business fell victim to a computer virus that sends out e-mail messages that appear to be from the owner of that computer. A high percentage of computers were later infected and when the company’s HR department asked employees why they opened such a suspicious e-mail, the answer was that it came from the IT Manager so it must be a real e-mail. It does not matter who sends it to you, if it sounds suspicious and you were not expecting it, do not open it!
Be cautious out there and when in doubt, delete the e-mail, delete the text message, or hang up!
I’d love to hear other stories about your experience with scams, please feel free to comment on this article.by