badgeeventbriteEvery July, the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group holds its annual Most Valuable Member event to honor the group’s members who have gone above and beyond for their group and community. The MVM content uses a points based system where any member can submit points for one or more qualifying activities such as helping to setup a meeting and speaking at a user group.

I’ve been a member of the Inland Empire .NET User’s Group since 2008 but only since July 2010 have I participated in the MVM contest. I spent the entire year speaking at user groups and code camp, attending meetings and helping with setup and tear down, writing book reviews and whatever else I could do to help out the community and earn MVM points. It paid off. I blew away the competition.

So what does it mean to win the Most Valuable Member content? It means recognition, notoriety and a huge bag of loot & swag that equates to a king’s ransom. Thanks to James Johnson, the group’s founder and president, the prize packages awarded to the top three members are nothing less than overwhelming. James has some magic voodoo that he uses to woo the group’s sponsors into generously filling the loot bags and providing a catered meal at a fancy hotel.

In addition to a nicely framed award, the winners received laptop bags with a nicely embroidered Visual Studio logo on them (thanks to Microsoft) that were filled with goods. Since I was the Most Valuable Member, my bag was the heaviest. Here is what was in my bag

Swag

Pens, stickers, t-shirts and thumb drives from the group’s many sponsors including Red-Gate, ComponentOne, DevExpress and Telerik.

Books

I would estimate that I received 200lbs of books from our book sponsors, Wrox, Apress and O`Reilly. Not only did I get a laptop bag full of books, but I was also handed a giant box full of more books (they wouldn’t fit in the bag is what James told me).

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Left to right: Ayyappan, Oscar, Myself, James.

In addition to all of those books I also received certificates for 10 books of my choosing from each publisher. That’s an additional 30 books. O`Reilly also provided a 1 year subscription to Safari Books Online.

Total book count: 42

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Software

What would a user group be without software to give away? In my bag were countless envelopes each containing a license for a software package from each of the group’s sponsors.

If all of that weren’t enough, James had some very nice words to say about me and the other winners.

What an excellent night. Thanks to James for putting it all together and making it happen, year after year!

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