Being honoured with Microsoft's coveted MVP Award the first time was an amazing feeling. There were just a handful of us around the world with that status on ASP back then, either 6 or 8 as I recall. ASP, or classic ASP as it is now called in these .Net times, was and still is the glue that pulls all of Microsoft's web technologies together and allows developers to design and build scalable web sites and applications.
MVP (Most Valuable Professional) status is a discretionary award given by Microsoft to people who do not work for them, but possess a high level of expertise on a product or technology and a displayed willingness and ability to share their knowledge with the developer community.
I was firsted awarded the status back in the late 90s, and I earned it by spending hours every day in the online forums answering questions from users all over the world. Most of those questions, and the answers I gave, were in English, but many were also in French or Spanish. Part of the fun was providing a needed solution to a fellow developer, but for me an even bigger piece was going beyond providing an answer to an immediate problem and turning those developers on to what was possible from a technology standpoint. Beyond even that, of course, was helping them start to imagine a bigger world full of richer software assets they could deliver to their clients or organizations.
Every year Microsoft invites it's MVPs from around the world to it's headquarters in Redmond, Washington for an annual summit of the people who are out there in the trenches delivering real world solutions as well as sharing their knowledge and expertise with the broader developer community. The summits feature keynote presentations, deep technical dives, and breakout sessions on the full range of Microsoft products and services.
As an MVP, I have been invited to attend developer conferences around the world and work alongside Microsoft employees, Regional Directors and other MVPs in developer cabanas where we would receive conference attendees and provide assitance with challenges they were facing on their projects and in their dev teams. Often this was simply discussion, but there were many instances of people pulling out their laptops, showing you what they were struggling with, and waiting for an answer that had long elluded them. We were surprisingly able to deliver those sought after solutions more often than not. All of those moments are hugely satisfying. Helping other developers is its own reward.