Ehlo all,

I've been reading comments from Gabor and Dirk lastly. They do reflect what we discussed there and are a very good basis for coming events.

If you're still open for more impressions and ideas, here comes my report ;)

People got interested by the tuit's. This is an eye catcher, as was the projected image on the wall. The metal stand with the banner didn't harm, but attracted much less people in our case (This can be different on another stand layout and probably would have scored better with some lightning on them or more color). The only feedback I received of the small banner behind the O'Reilly stand was that one guy thought that the Perl-stand had been located at the O'Reilly place and that the Perl people were forced to leave the place in a rush (forgetting the banner)... So it should probably mention the actual place where the actual Perl stand is located if we want to use it for this purpose.

The very big hit were the business cards (made by Slane). They actually transferred curiosity to interest and maybe involvement. People seem to give a huge importance to being part of a community ! This isn't related to the language, but it gives an identity to it. I'd call the Perl Mongers Community the "face of Perl". In marketing terms, it's a selling argument as is CPAN. Gabor mentioned name cards for every guy at the stand. This goes in the same idea: promote the Community, but not only the Community as a common user group... but as a life-style ! A group being there for Perl and it's users.

My personal approach at Fosdem (which was very much inspired from Slane) :
People look at tuit's. After a short explanation of the joke, ask them if they use Perl. Some do some don't. If they do, ask them where they live and show them there's a pm group near to them (or maybe they should create one ?). I had the site open on my laptop for this. The business card came in very handy as it mentioned the site and therefor made the people believe they were personally invited to the meetings (which actually I'm convinced is the truth). If they don't use Perl, ask them what they do and what tools they use. Then do a search on CPAN to show them Perl can be handy since it has lots of support for external API's. i.e. a guy who wanted to test some SIP stuff told me he would take a look at Perl and the SIP modules for rapidly testing stuff (after I showed him the CPAN-site and did a rapid SIP search). Afterwards he would implement an app in C or whatever language...

There's always the Python-guy which thinks Perl sucks. Be prepared to him (I wasn't). It took me more than 20 minutes to make him leave. That's all you can do, make him leave. Tell him he's ok, and then push him to the Postgresql stand to buy some goodies. You feel it, he hates Perl, (although this guy seemed rather depressed by his Python life also... ). For him Perl sucks and he has very good arguments like :
- Python has an ORM !
Of course I answered with DBIx::Class rocks ! but he didn't know about it and would probably have had a better day afterwards if I didn't tell him so... No chance he'll take a look at it ! - Perl syntax is too open... I want rules, or better, I _need_ rules. I need spaces to define blocks etc. Freedom is the basis of chaos. Please tell me how to live my life, hurt me, I'll be your servant forever...

So, basically you loose your time and in the same time the possibility to inform other people or eat a cookie or go to the bathroom or take a look at the nice Postgresql stand by yourself... Today I think this guy just came to the Perl stand because there was no Python stand where they would give him some valium or morphine to make him happy. ( People using Python must probably have a whole bunch of anti-depressing stuff ;) )

When there's no-one at the stand, use Twitter ! Tell people there's a Perl stand at Fosdem. Say when Fosdem speakers are actually at the stand. Post pictures on Twitpic. The guy which saw the Perl banner at O'Reilly actually asked me were the stand was located through Twitter... Also, some guys were surprised by the presence of the Perl-stand at Fosdem. This is ok of course, but it made me think we should probably make more buzz about it _before_ the event also.

And what about buzz _after_ the event ?! The event is over, but keeping the buzz is good for other events. So blog etc...

One major point about the stand itself: Give color to the stand.
Everybody in the building knew about the Postgresql stand. Why ? It was darkblue. Everything at the stand was blue (the table cloth, t-shirts, goodies etc). This is an eye catcher. White is monotone. (Every stand is white.) Then comes the question: what color(s) to use for Perl ?

That's it. Hope this can be of any help for future events !

Erik Colson

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