My Fellow MVPs - Some Thoughts and a Story - Humans of IT

business compassion empathy technology Mar 15, 2020

Next week we are gathering together once again, not how we planned, but we ARE gathering, we are not canceled, and we are not postponed. We are learning along with our Microsoft team members on how we all show up when chips are down, and uncertainty swims all around us.

Humans of IT: I have worked over the past twenty years as a marketer, theater artist, event producer, and tech person. It seems to me that all of us who are those types of people in the world are all cut from the same cloth with the same mental mindset:

  • We work on the fly.
  • We get sh*t done.
  • We come up with solutions.
  • We thrive on figuring things out together.
  • We finish the scene when our wig falls off during a live stage performance.
  • We vamp and try again when our demos fail.
  • We hold up our torches and sing acoustic when the power goes out.
  • We band together to make beautiful art, events, products, tools, and things that make life as humans better and amazing.

Power up your Compassion and Empathy: Everyone is working hard on the basics of life. Elevating our compassion and empathy towards each other is where we all need to be right now. I believe these two soft skills are the greatest ones we can ever master— it is always time to level up. Frustrations and fear are easy to take out on others, taking a moment before lashing out, being snarky or complaining is a good thing always, but especially right now. (Even when people will not listen to you about social distancing and flattening the curve). Our community is full of champions of belonging, and I am seeing that all over the place. Way to go everyone!

Working from Home (WFH): I have worked from home or remotely for 14 years and figured it out over time pretty quickly and am wicked productive. WFH is a massive change and will be the way for a while. I like multiple screens, good lighting, a decent microphone, good noise-canceling headphones, and a Microsoft Life-Cam Cinema. Also getting outside every few hours are all keys to my having done this so long. And you don't need to spend a gazillion dollars to do so.

Things that are mostly like true about next week and beyond during these Work from Home (WFH) days:

  • You may continue to get a ton of random emails or meeting requests - delete,  delay, delegate, or do, it is one click.
  • Your notifications will be GOING OFF like bananas, shut them off, or lean into them.
  • You will get thousands of COVID-19 alerts, notifications, but also special offers, deals, and goodness from businesses, public agencies, and our state and local governments.
  • Your wifi may be wiggly, SLOOOOOOW, and the video may cut out, be patient.
  • Your Mom, Dad, best friend, kids, dog, and partner are going to interrupt your day, multiple times - set up some ground rules, a sign on your door or indicator of do not disturb.
  • You may accidentally have your camera on when you shouldn’t. Think about what people will see in your background, craft what is behind you, or test the blur or change your background features.
  • You will show up in your pajamas or with no makeup, and that is just fine. You will be seen from the waist up, grab a cute sweater or something, but be comfy on the bottom, I suggest Star Wars cozy pants.
  • You may have to ‘wait’ more than a second for someone to speak, demo, or switch screens, again be patient.
  • You will learn a ton, not only about what is new but about how people band together in a crisis using the technology we all know and love.
  • You will connect with people in different ways that will be meaningful, maybe more meaningful than if we were in person. #truth #realtalk
  • You will be a part of something that has never happened before at Microsoft or any other company in the world.

Hit Rethink and Shift our Mindsets: The time is right now for us to hit rethink and shift our mindsets and know we are going to build new ways of working starting this week. It is happening whether we want it to or not. So, choose to push the button and feel the click.  We are all in this together. All of us all over the world are always connected. And when a crisis of this proportion happens, we literally see just how interconnected we are (but in this moment practicing social distancing and a good 20-second hand wash regularly).

The Future Heather wants to read this story post MVP Summit:

“Microsoft and its MVP Community came together last week to make one of the largest, global virtual events happen. It was unprecedented. Microsoft MVPs from around the world consumed massive amounts of content and interacted with each other compassionately. Everyone was immensely supportive of all the behind the scenes Microsoft employees, partners, and vendors who went through extraordinary measures to make the week happen. There were very few technical glitches.

Everyone learned more about how to set up and use technology to move a physical event to an enormous virtual event with multiple tracks, sessions, and demos. They shared best practices on how to be a remote worker, and how to embrace the new world of work: home.  Congratulations to all involved, and thank you for sharing how this was done so everyone can benefit as we continue to deal with this crisis together globally.”

Make soup, take a walk and be nice to yourself: I took a walk by myself around the block to start my day. I'm in my place staying away from groups, etc., chatting with friends and family on the phone, making soup and chili so I have easy food at the ready, getting ready for our Summit and spreading as much information, goodness, and positive juju as I can. 

I cannot wait to see, hear, and chat with all of you virtually. It will be different, but it is going to happen. Technologists rock it out, and theatre people know that the show must go on. The moment is now for all of us to step up, hit our mark, be brave, and do our best with a lot of kindness towards each other.

Humans of IT can do anything when we come together, and I believe that wholeheartedly.

My best and virtual hugs,


Office Apps and Services MVP and Head Maven, Creative Maven



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