At the end of April, I thought I would do an experiment. I kept track of nearly every email that I received as a part of the MVP program for the entire month of May. I deleted nothing. However, some emails such as calendar invites are auto-deleted in Outlook once you accept or decline the invitation, so I may be missing a few. (I know you can change that behaviour in Outlook but I didn’t want to change my normal settings for the sake of an experiment!)
As a Microsoft MVP, depending on how many Distribution Lists (DLs) you subscribe you, you may get a LOT of emails. I was curious to keep track of exactly how many on a random month. May was that month!
There is no “one” reference point since every MVP will customize what DLs they subscribe to, if any, and what other forms of communications their product group prefers to use. For this post, my reference point, I subscribe to 2 DL’s in Business Solutions, which for the sake of NDA I will call “the primary one” we are all told we should follow and one for my own product group, Dynamics GP. Those in Business Solutions will know what I mean.
There are 7 different DLs in Business Solutions, not including ones marked as “Retired”. I also subscribe to 1 Data Platform DL, out of 16 in that award category. There is absolutely no way to effectively keep up with the information if I chose to subscribe to more, let alone what I already subscribe to, so, I must limit myself to a handful of DLs to keep sane!
What I have Found
Starting with the conclusion first: I cannot keep up.
I am lucky if I read any of the threads. Honestly, I think I have read fewer than 10 threads last month and that’s it. There is simply too much volume, it is overwhelming to say the least, and this is *just* MVP stuff, not day to day emails!
I try handling my DL subscriptions with Outlook rules but there is only so much I can do. I have tried to differentiate between posts started by a Microsoft resource to those DL’s (i.e. subjects started by the product managers which may be of more importance, excluding replies that may be from a Microsoft resource) vs. threads started by others but I can’t effectively come up with a rule that separates them properly. The best I’ve come up with is categorizing those emails separately from ones not from Microsoft, but it categorizes a single email, not a thread. Still, it is better than nothing for now to give me a focus point and a shorter list to read, so I don’t miss important news amongst all the other “chatter.”
Here are the stats from last month:
- 726 emails within those DLs in total in the month, which by my count are 166 unique conversations.
- 46 invitations to “PGI” events (product group interactions). These are the calendar invites so it’s likely I am missing some, that seems low.
I cannot imagine how many emails others get as part of larger DLs, and that’s just the email conversations. There are Teams conversations, Yammer, some groups are on Slack, there is no single consistent communication method that all MVP groups use. All those methods have their own pile of messaging, some duplicates of the email threads, but I suspect mostly another whole set of things to keep up with.
All I can say is, I do not know how others do it but for me, I’m “failing” at keeping up with the MVP firehose in terms of staying up with the information being provided. I pay close attention to my own product group, and the official MVP award emails of course, it’s the rest of it that’s an ongoing challenge to keep up with!