With the constantly growing and changing social Web, I get more and more excited each day about all the ways Microsoft leverages online properties to better engage with and listen to the technical community.

The social web is fast changing the way we do business here at Microsoft. From online forums and blogs, to Facebook and Twitter, we draw on these sources to give us real-time insight into our customers’ needs.

Still, there’s no substitute for face time. That’s why we’ve been meeting this week with many of our Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs). These are  technical leaders from around the world whom we invite to Redmond each year for the annual MVP Global Summit.

Our MVPs are extremely important to us. They are independent technical experts with real passion for technology, and for sharing their knowledge with us and with technology users from around the world.

That really shows at the MVP Global Summit, which began on Feb. 16 and wraps up today. It’s the largest annual customer event Microsoft hosts on campus. And it’s unlike any event I have ever experienced. You see, these people aren’t just technology experts, they are technology enthusiasts. When they’re all under one roof, their energy could light half the planet. All of them are fully engaged for the entire Summit, choosing from more than 700 technical sessions, enjoying plenty of fun and entertainment in between.

Our product group leaders eagerly anticipate Summit each year as an opportunity to spend quality time with MVPs. As you can imagine, our MVPs have plenty on their minds and no shortage of ideas to share. We all understand that this kind of targeted, thoughtful feedback has enormous potential to help Microsoft create a better customer experience.  

So like any good host, we spend this week listening to our MVPs more than talking to them. After all, no one wants to be invited to a dinner party, only to spend the entire evening listening to the hosts chatter on and on without taking a breath to hear what their guests might have to say.

This year’s Summit did not disappoint. MVP feedback will influence the technologies you and I are going to use in the months and years to come.

To keep up with how MVPs contribute to the global technical community, I encourage you to regularly visit the MVP Award Program blog. And if you want to see our MVPs in action, visit Microsoft Answers.

Toby Richards
GM of Community & Online Support