An email on April Fools – SharePoint MVP 2013

Well I won’t lie, I feel like a 5 year old on Christmas day.

I woke up on Monday morning, which I took off for a long weekend. The memory will forever be engraved in my mind, comfortably seating on my couch laptop on my lap and phone on the table. I see my phone light up from a distance and see the beginning of an email… “Congratulations 2013 Microsoft MVP!” and I remember telling myself “wait what?” and jumping on inbox from my laptop.

SharePoint MVP happyness

No way! I was definitely not expecting this at all! I started to get extremely emotional; it is an amazing feeling to be rewarded like this for all the work I have been putting in.

SharePoint MVP Benjamin Niaulin

Wait, is this a nasty April Fools joke?

So then it hit me, wait, is this some April Fools joke from a friend? I work with a lot of geeks and pulling this off is not impossible for them. Though it would be a very nasty joke, it’s something plausible on April 1st. Especially following all the other online jokes I was seeing going through. Suddenly the little kid in me was shifting moods.

SharePoint MVP

I wasn’t sure what to do, if posted it online being super happy and it turned out to be an April Fools, I would look pretty ridiculous hehe.

Even my teammates thought I was joking when I told them, no one would believe me.

I felt much better when I saw that all my access worked on the actual Microsoft Website and that the person in charge of the MVPs in Canada sent me an email confirming it. The first thing I did was update my profile to make it public, this would provide me with the reassurance and proof that this was no joke.

The journey to SharePoint MVP

This was completely unexpected and I am very honored and thankful to have earned it. Although I have given a lot of my time to help people around in the community, this was also possible thanks to other members of the SharePoint.

Less than a year ago, though I was active in the local user group I did not do much speaking or other things in the community. Granted I had gotten a speaker spot at the SharePoint Summit in Quebec and Toronto but that was it.

The turning point for me was really SharePoint Saturday Toronto organized by Kanwal Khipple, Ruven Gotz and Eric Riz.

Becoming a speaker

I wouldn’t get in as a speaker there, no one really knew me and all I could say was that I already spoke at the Summit. However, I offered to help out as a volunteer.

You must consider that I am from Montreal and that was a 6 hour drive. I took it upon myself to do it, after work on Friday I drove the 6 hours alone and got to a hotel close to the event. Today, I know that the night before there is get-togethers and speaker dinners. But back then, I had no clue so I just sat in my hotel room and soon went to bed.

I forgot to mention that they gave me a lightning talk of 25min since they saw I wanted to speak and was ready to help out and I am extremely grateful.

Getting to know the speakers and members of the community

SharePoint MVP

There I got to hang out with members of the community both during and after over SharePint. An event I had first discovered during the SharePoint Conference in Anaheim – brilliant!

The lightning talk

There is no fast track, you must start from small speaking engagements, work hard and be prepared to give away your nights and weekends. Luckily I have a very understanding girlfriend 😉

My first 25min lightning talk:

SharePoint MVP Benjamin Niaulin speaking in Toronto

Submitting to other SharePoint Saturdays

I am lucky enough to work for Sharegate, which fully supported my travels and any speaking engagements I would be accepted for.

At first, I didn’t think I would be accepted to these events, I mean I just spoke at User Group meetings and so far did 2 Summits and 1 lightning talk. Compared to the great speakers in the community, I was no match. So I applied to a few thinking I would perhaps get accepted to 1.

But I got accepted to all of them, I was very surprised.

(Links to picture articles)

  • SharePoint Saturday Richmond
  • SharePoint Saturday Austin
  • SharePoint Saturday Philly
  • SharePoint Satuday Montreal <- My own SPS
  • SharePoint Satuday Utah
  • SharePoint Saturday Ottawa
  • SharePoint Saturday St-Louis
  • SharePoint Saturday Virginia Beach
  • SharePoint Saturday Ottawa
  • SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities
  • SharePoint Saturday Cincinnati
  • SharePoint Saturday Sacramento
  • SharePoint Fest Chicago – Video:
  • SharePoint Saturday Michigan
  • SharePoint Saturday Redmond
  • SharePoint Saturday Ozarks
  • SharePoint Saturday NYC
  • SharePoint Saturday Toronto
  • SharePoint Summit Toronto
  • SharePoint Summit Quebec
  • SharePoint Breakfast

And of course there are a few I am not listing like SPC12 and the European Conference.

But it’s not all about speaking, I wrote numerous blogs to share my experiences and ideas with SharePoint as well as some Webinars.

I would never have been able to do all I have done without the generous help from people in the community.

SharePoint is truly amazing for that.

Honored to have received this award

Turned out it wasn’t an April fools and I feel extremely privileged to have received this honor. I still don’t quite believe it to be true. SharePoint rocks and with SharePoint 2013 now available, I look forward to another great fun year!

MVP Logo

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