This last summer when I was in Australia I was chatting with Adam Cogan and he was saying I should be a regional director. He started talking about giving feedback to the product team and at levels of detail that was very impressive. I had assumed he was an FTE after his intro that he was a Microsoft Regional Director. Twenty minutes later after hearing about his customers, and feedback sessions, and then hearing about SSW and the work he was doing I had to stop and ask. So you work for Microsoft? No, I work for SSW as a chief architect. Woah. So what is this regional director title? How is it different from MVP?
Jonathan Goodyear on Regional Director Demistified explains… “So, how do you become an RD? There’s really no simple equation. The title isn’t strictly merit-based like that of MVP, and Microsoft doesn’t often create new RD positions. The term of an RD is two years, but there is no limit to the number of terms a particular RD can serve. An important point of note is that while MVPs are not obligated to do anything, RDs carry a great deal of responsibility. Microsoft expects RDs to connect with their customers and developers on a regular basis. This large responsibility can cause turnover; but this is a good thing, because it adds fresh insight, ideas, and motivation to the entire program. Microsoft has also been known to hire some RDs who are able to fill a particular internal need they have. When a new RD is needed, Microsoft turns to nominations (both internal and external to the program).”
Microsoft Regional Director is an “unbiased third-party evangelist of Microsoft products and services”
“Regional Directors are members of an elite, worldwide group of technology thought-leaders known for their national and international speaking tours, their authorship of books, articles and blogs, and their business acumen. Regional Directors are well-versed on the totality of the software industry. They are recognized for their achievements in communicating the benefits of emerging technologies…
Regional Directors aren’t Microsoft employees–they’re independent developers, architects, trainers, and other professionals who provide a vital link between Microsoft and the developer community.”
“Microsoft Regional Director Community, small number of developers, architects and speakers honored by Microsoft for their great contribution to the Community of ICT professionals using Microsoft platform and tools. Microsoft Regional Directors are acting as a "liaison" between Microsoft Community and Microsoft as a company, often leaders (popular called “evangelists”) in implementing new technology and ideas and speaking about them at conferences. RD’s… are people that have great visibility not just in Community but also in Microsoft, especially when there are great efforts to make existing products better or to provide feedback on future product design and functional specification.
Also, RD’s are often engaged as independent consultants on various projects because they have deep knowledge of Microsoft platform and tools, even before it is publicly available through special private beta or TAP programs.” from Tomislav Bronzin (Congratulations Tomislav!)
“There are now over 3,100 MVPs in 75 countries worldwide, covering more than 75 technologies… 50 RDs in the United States, and approximately 130 worldwide. The word “Region” in the title doesn’t equate to any particular boundary, though. Rather, it is based on the population density of Microsoft customers and developers.” What is an MVP Anyway by Jonathan Goodyear
Microsoft has some broad information on the Microsoft Regional Directors program as well.
You can Search for a regional Director in your region: Find a Regional Director based on technology
Here are a few names I recognized.
So why am I writing about the RD program? No announcements 🙂 I just am spreading along the news about this fabulous program, and hope we can get some really strong SharePoint advocates in the program. (Like Kimberly Tripp is for SQL.) Yeah, I wouldn’t reject something like this. Looks like great stuff. I’m really happy to see Microsoft puts such good time and money into a program like this that *really* contributes to the community and customers.