vExpert class of 2016 announced – are there too many vExperts

VMW-LOGO-vEXPERT-2016-kThe annual vExpert recognition from VMware has been announced for 2016 with over 1300 people receiving the honor this year. I’m honored to be on that list again, I’ve been a recurring vExpert since the program’s inception in 2009 thanks to the efforts of John Troyer to help recognize members of the VMware community that continually give back by sharing their knowledge and experience with others. The original group was about 300 members and was mostly compromised of bloggers and VMUG leaders. The group has expanded over the years as both the number of bloggers has grown and the criteria and requirements have changed.

Personally I have always thought the group is too large and doesn’t distinguish that well based on the level of contributions. It seems like just about anyone that has a blog is included even if they only posted once or twice in a year. There are definitely people very deserving of the honor but I feel there are some people out there that start blogs just so they can get the vExpert title and they don’t put a lot of effort into it. Remember the vExpert title is not an official certification, it is simply a recognition award from VMware that validates your contributions to the VMware community. What you get from it is recognition and some other great perks like VMware licenses, beta program access, exclusive early access webinars, special events and more. Some vendors will also reward vExperts with special giveaways.

I’d like to see the bar set higher and it be a more exclusive club and/or have recognition levels like vExpert Gold/Silver/Bronze based on the level of contributions and the duration of maintaining the vExpert title. Those that have been named a vExpert every year since the beginning should also get special recognition as to keep it going year after year takes commitment and hard work. I think doing this would give the people that really deserve special recognition just that and put them in higher tier. I’ve always felt there are vExperts, and then there are vExperts, meaning I’ve always seen those that do more to earn it differently then those that do the minimum.

I also see this directly relate to blogging, there are many opportunistic bloggers out there. They see starting a blog as their path to getting something whether it be a new and better job or to get recognition for becoming a vExpert. Now there is nothing wrong with this, if someone wants to better themselves good for them. It’s not the reason I starting blogging and I know that’s true for many other bloggers. What happens too often though is they get what they want and then they dump what got them there. Just this week I removed at least 50 dead blogs from my vLaunchpad. Again there is nothing wrong with this, if that person is happy we’re they are at and doesn’t want to blog any more so be it.

The point I’m trying to make is those bloggers that stick with it year after year and publish great content should get special recognition and they do via my annual Top vBlog voting. It would be nice to see this carry over to the vExpert program, recognize those that deserve it the most instead of publishing a huge list of names with no segregation based on accomplishments. Maybe have a point system that weights accomplishments and then separating the vExperts into different tiers. Also seniority should play into it, someone who has been a vExpert for 8 years should have a higher weight then someone new to the vExpert program.

The vExpert program is a great thing to have and I appreciate VMware’s hard work and continued commitment to it. As the program continues to grow larger hopefully they can find some way to implement different levels of vExperts that I believe would make the program even more special as well as motivate people to accomplish even more instead of just doing the bare minimum. Additionally it would get those that deserve special recognition just that and give more meaning to the vExpert title.

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  1. It’s like everything else I look at happening around me, as a culture we seem to take every good idea and keep improving or expanding it until it is broken all the while ignoring to understand why it was a good idea and what made it successful in the first place.

    Marketing departments tell employees to “be social”. When I started using Twitter it wasn’t to be social, it was to find other people who shared a common interest and a deep understanding of the same things I did. Now I have to filter through the people “being social” and those who really understand what they’re talking about and want to be there all the while Twitter fucking up what made them useful to me in the first place.

  2. Starting a blog is an easy thing, regularly providing interesting and original content is another one. I say original content because I’ve come sometimes across blogs where the info is a copy/paste of a KB article, or a press release. When it’s not an entire ripoff/repost of someone else’s original articles (which I have seen in the past).

    While I appreciate your blog contest I’ve never engaged into it as a blog owner. Reason: I don’t think that my blog has such an interesting content or audience that would make it worth even being on the list. Less work for you 🙂 However I do appreciate the initiative and vote for people. It was sad to see that in the last couple of years people are trying to fake the votes.

    In my latest blog post about being now a 4-time vExpert I was considering about the dilution of the accolade value and was thinking that either VMware needs to review the rules of engagement or maybe come up with an additional, higher tier for seasoned professionals (top bloggers/Industry figures). I don’t know what criteria VMware uses, sometimes I think I had it out of pure luck, considering the low level of my articles. But at least this year I’m organizing our first VMUG conference so I feel a bit better about it.

    One thought about the newcomers. Maybe the older vExperts need to educate them or introduce them to what is considered proper etiquette in terms of blogging, engagement, interactions etc.

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