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Re: Why we're here

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July 24, 2000 01:03
Re: Why we're here
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On Mon, Jul 24, 2000 at 03:24:03AM +0000, Simon Cozens wrote:
>>Other crappier languages have gotten the jump on us recently because
>>they managed PR well.  This doesn't mean telling lies, it just means
>>having a single recognizable voice.
>Is this remotely accurate? I cannot find any sense in which this is

I think it's true that other, crappier languages have better PR than us
at the moment.  I don't necessarily agree that the only way to have good
PR is to have an appointed PR representative, or "spin doctor" if you

In order to succeed, Perl needs to convince the following groups of
people that it is worthwhile:
	A - Developers (or potential developers) *of* Perl
	B - Developers (or potential developers) who use Perl
	C - People who hire people who use Perl

How do we reach those groups? 

Group A are attracted to Perl through word of mouth and for the love of
the code, for the most part.  Anything that smells like corporate
PR/marketing/etc will, for the most part, turn them off.

Group B are sometimes like group A, and sometimes attracted via
technically oriented sales and marketing -- feature lists, fact sheets,
demos, etc.  Flashy advertising/PR may catch their attention but won't
necessarily hold it.  The ability to find real information about Perl
and actually take part in useful interactions with other Perl developers
(whether by email, web chat boards, or at conferences) is what will draw
them in and hold them.

Group C don't care much about the code itself.  Many of them want to
use whatever will get the job done on time and well (easy for Perl!),
while others are of the "magazine management" kind.  

Everyone except for the "magazine management" types want real
information, not hype.  Sure, real information that's printed on glossy
paper will be more impressive, but it does need to actually convey
Perl's real benefits to them as programmers or as managers.

There is no real need for Perl to have a *single* voice.  In fact, the
imposition of a "party line" will scare off many of Perl's biggest
advocates and contributors.  Rather, the *entire* Perl community
(individuals, user groups, people within organisations) need a set of
marketing/PR resources which they can draw on if they want or need them.
Having a PR person who prepares brochures, flyers, etc and sends them
out to Perl Monger groups would be a Good Thing.  Making those brochures
the *only* approved form of Perl PR will do more harm than good.

Let me be really clear here:  There's nothing wrong with having a PR
person.  There *is* something wrong with the idea of trying to impose a
"single, recognisable voice" on what is essentially a grassroots 
volunteer effort.


Kirrily Robert -- <> --
Open Source development, consulting and solutions
Level 10, 500 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9614 0949  Fax: +61 3 9614 0948  Mobile: +61 410 664 994

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