The Salesforce MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Program is defined by Salesforce, as being an individual who has been recognised for their leadership, knowledge, and creativity within the Salesforce Community. Notable characteristics are Expertise, Generosity, Leadership and Advocacy. Talent Hub was lucky enough to sit down with Sydney based MVP, Vamsi Krishna, who instantly embodies these characteristics as soon as you meet him, and who is an influential voice within the Salesforce Community. Owning his own Salesforce Development Practice, Techforce Services, and leading the Sydney Salesforce Developers Group, Vamsi is an active figure within the Salesforce community. We asked Vamsi how he entered the Salesforce space, and what his own personal MVP journey has looked in his 4 years of holding the staus so far..
Ben: Vamsi, you are one of how many Salesforce MVP’s globally?
Vamsi: I think when I became an MVP, it was close to 100. This is my fourth year now, as my Salesforce MVP status has been renewed three times. Now the numbers have almost doubled, and so there are now more than 200 MVPs globally. In Australia, when I was first made an MVP, it was four or five of us. In Australia and New Zealand now I believe there are eight of us.
Ben: Do you know how long the title had been around before you were awarded the Salesforce MVP?
Vamsi: I think it initially started in 2010/11, and I moved into the Salesforce space in 2012. I was not aware of what an MVP was when I started. It was during my learnings of the Salesforce platform, and as I became involved more in the Community side of things. I was initially a learner, and then I started contributing back to the Community. When you do this, you are fortunate to meet a lot of like-minded people. My personal interaction initially was with a lot of our existing Community members, and contributors who were in the MVP Group. I talked to them regularly when I was answering questions, or when I was stuck on something. I used to take their guidance in learning the platform.
If you look at the Success Community, there are people like Deepak Anand (from India), Steve Mo, Jeff May, Sharif Shaalan (My Mentor) in US. These are the guys I was regularly in touch with and talking to when I was learning the platform. All of them were in the MVP community.
Ben: Are all of the MVPs you mention still active in the Salesforce Community now?
Vamsi: Yes, they’re still active now, they are prominent in the Community. It’s a good and rewarding experience if you’re active in the Community. I’ve not seen this in any other technology platform before. Within Salesforce it’s like everyone is engaged, everyone is always kind, and willing to help others. There’s no monetary benefit, but still, people spend time and effort to help others. It helps you to learn, and it gives you a satisfaction that you have done something good in your free time.
I used to engage in the Community in the evenings. I had my regular full-time work and plans; kids and my family to spend time with in. But I also used to spend time logging into the Success Community and the Stack Exchange, monitoring the questions, answering them back. I built those relationships with the existing Community members and the Salesforce MVP members. That’s how I came to know about the MVP space initially. I had been doing this over a period of about two years, when the MVP opportunity came to me in 2014.
Ben: How does an MVP award come about. Does somebody recommend you?
Vamsi: Yes, they open up for nominations. Back then it was tied to the Salesforce releases, so every release they’d open up a window of two to three weeks. There’s an MVP nomination form, and people can go and nominate if they’ve found anyone helping them within the Community. People write back to the Salesforce MVP team saying that this person helped me out when I had this problem. Or this person’s presentation in a Developer Group was really useful. Maybe they are doing a lot in the Developer Group, doing a lot in Stack Exchange, or doing good things in the Not-for-Profit space.
That Not-for-Profit space actually has a separate community, and there a lot of people doing a lot of good things there. This tends to come into public notice when they become MVPs. Once they become an MVP, that’s when people go and check, who this person is, and what have they done? They might be a User Group leader, doing a lot of good things within the User group. Or someone could be concentrating on the virtual online, space rather than a physical User Group or Developer Group. It could be helping people online line with a lot of support.
Ben: Every year when they renew, is it an anxious wait to know if you’re going to be an MVP again?
Vamsi: It was when I first became an MVP! The first renewal I was a bit nervous, but I think once you realize that it’s all tied to your contribution, you know yourself if you’re doing it or not. If you’re doing it, it’s more than becoming an MVP. The satisfaction that you get when you contribute to the Community is more important than becoming an MVP. The more you learn, and the more you share with others, that takes the primary space.
Ben: So, MVP’s need to be doing it because they wish to collaborate, share and learn, rather than because they are seeking the title?
Vamsi: Yes. Focussing just on the title is not useful because it’s not going to get you anything. It’s about talking to different people, understanding what issues others using Salesforce are facing, and how you can help them solve them.
Ben: Do the Salesforce MVP’s meet up annually?
Vamsi: We did have a Salesforce MVP Summit once a year. We had that for a couple of years after I became an MVP in 2014/15, but I think now there could be some sort of other programs that they replace it with. It’s not just the travel or the Summit, it’s more about meeting the different community leaders. Within the MVP group, you always get the chance to talk to each other. You find out who’s doing User Group management, Developer Group management or running a not for profit User Group. It gives you the opportunity to understand what they’re doing in their regions, and it’ll help us to do better things in Sydney as a result of sharing.
Ben: Are there any people in the Sydney Australian market that you feel deserve the MVP at the moment?
Vamsi: I’ve seen a lot of good contributions in Stack Exchange. Since I come from a Developer background, I kind of limit myself to Stack Exchange and Developer forums, but there are a lot of others. Everyone who is running a User Group, or Developer Group in their own states, are also doing a lot with the community. Beyond that, I’ve seen a lot of people coming out in the Marketing Cloud space. A lot of engagement is happening in the Not-for-Profit space. There are a lot of people doing good things there.
Ben: Vamsi, alongside you MVP role, and running the Sydney Salesforce Developer Group, can you tell us about your own company Techforce?
Vamsi: I started Techforce Services in September 2015, two years ago. It was initially just me, and we have grown to five Developers. We do mostly solution designing, architecture, health checks, Org reviews, etc. The team will then go in and deliver the project once the design has been finalised by myself and the client. As the team is primarily developers, most of our projects are development based. In the main, using Apex, Visualforce and Lightning, and we have also completed end to end projects. Projects can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, and most of our customers are within the SMB space.
We have a diverse industry landscape, working across real estate, property management, leasing, financial services, healthcare, higher education, and manufacturing, both remotely and at customer site.
Ben: And what’s next for Techforce Services?
Vamsi: It’s been two good years, next year we will be pitching for bigger projects. Most of our current projects are SMB, and so we will look to grow to work with midlevel enterprise. We work with other partners, we work with customers, we work with Consultants. Also with individual independent Functional Consultants. We are an extended Development Team for the companies that require development support. That will be our primary focus. If I hired a Functional Consultant in the future, we might move into doing consulting work. But for now, the focus is exclusively on developing. We know what our strengths and expertise are.
Ben: Vamsi, are you heading to Dreamforce this year?
Vamsi: Yes. This will be my first one. I just want to feel what Dreamforce is about. I’ve heard a lot. I went to TrailheaDX this year in San Fran, back in July, it was really good. I think Dreamforce will be another level. It’s maybe ten times bigger than TrailheaDX and so it will be a different experience – very exciting!
“The satisfaction that you get when you contribute to the Community”
“It’s a good and rewarding experience if you’re active in the Community”
“People spend time and effort to help others”
“I’ve not seen this in any other technology platform before”
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Salesforce MVP Program, click here
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