Marketing & Branding Survey Results

You can see the results here.

The following is my reflection on those results and doesn't reflect anyone else's opinions. They may not even really be my opinions.

Who responded?

Some 85.9% respondents self identify as Perl programmers and 22.7% as Raku programmers, 33.2% as Software project leaders, and 30% as Business Owners.

Brand Values

In regards to brand values there is a huge gap between perception and expectation. I've cut off the long tail of "Other" responses for clarity, follow the link at the top to see them.

Screenshot_2020-08-23_17-44-47.png
(The long titles overlap. The first 5 are Amateur, Passionate about helping software projects, Powered by Volunteers, Professional, Secretive)
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(The long titles overlap. The first 5 are Passionate..., Powered by Volunteers, Professional, Servant Leadership, Supportive)

The contrasts are interesting. TPF is strongly perceived as being Powered by volunteers with it being the most recognized value. However, respondents where more concerned with being Professional when asked what they would like to associate, it being the second most desired value. This was reflected in Amateur receiving a meaningful response in perceptions and none in likes. Powered by volunteers went significantly downward from perceived to liked values.

Passion for software projects is recognized but people's response indicated they want to see more of that passion. Similarly, there is a big gap between the perceived and the desired levels of Trustworthy and Transparent.

Supportive was recognized as the 3rd highest response in perceptions, and 4th but with more responses in liked values.

Servant leadership received a small response in both cases. This is a value that TPF has historically seen as being at the core of their values.

Logos and Names

Screenshot_2020-08-23_18-10-20.png

The TOR project shares an Onion as a key component of their logo. When asked if the Onion logo was associated with other software, 67.7% said no. TOR was not explicitly asked so as not to influence the result.

Screenshot_2020-08-23_18-12-11.png

Some 72.3% of responses saw no need to change TPF's name.

Screenshot_2020-08-23_18-13-36.png

By contrast, 53.2% of responses saw no need to change TPF's logo with 66.4% (not pictured) wanting a community vote on any logo change.

Open Suggestions & Feedback

All responses are available via the above link but are not able to be correlated with the other data. They are simply presented as a list to review. Here are a few interesting ones.


No, just stop the suicidal tendencies. The decline is entirely self-made, and the TPF is mostly responsible for it by selecting the pumpkin, greenlighting the PSC hostile takeover and not setting proper rules. Maybe selecting not the most unsuccessful Perl folks as TPF members would have helped. The fish stinks from the top.

For better growth, we need to focus on development of libraries like pandas, numpy and matplotlib for all analytics needs. And market these to increase adoption of Raku for analytics needs.

TPF could (and should) do a much better job telling its story. And if it needs administrative funds to do that, then it should.

The logo is pretty irrelevant and looking at the wrong issues.

I get tired of hearing about go and python. Perl seems forgotten.

1) Find a way to establish a mandate for making certain types of decisions that the Perl and/or Raku community is incapable or uninterested in doing. 2) If you get the mandate for it - decide on new community symbols, logos, mascots, etc. 3) Identify and invite representatives from all different stakeholder groups to help them and TPF become more productive community members. 4) If you get the mandate for it - Take upon the role of catalyst for the community, for example by instituting a feature bounty program for CPAN software, and establish and manage a system for corporate donations to these projects. 5) Start a Real effort of capacity-building, so TPF eventually can hire a few people to manage it's work, instead of solely relying on volunteer help.

..there's more, but that can wait


It's time for a governance shake up

I was a small but regular contributor at one time, but I grew discouraged at the lack of regular reporting of my contributions (annual or otherwise) for income tax deduction purposes and I didn't believe the Foundation was making enough effort to thank and nurture supporters, such as an online real-time list of contributors or perhaps an annual list. I wrote to somebody about it, and didn't believe my suggestion was taken very seriously. It's All About Me, so of course I took my marbles and went home :-)

no one knows what "servant" means

I don't feel brand issues. Feel more that fresh approaches and fresh blood in the TPF would be more valuable.

Changing the name and/or logo won't bring more people to Perl/Raku. That's a waste of money.

More focus on modernizing core technology would help a lot more than a new logo. eg: no Perl sdk for AWS cloud, barely any documentation ... performance, easy multi-threading & easy asynchronous (why I am using Go routines) ...

I infrequently see comments about the directionality / viability of the language. I still default to Perl because I won't be able to get to the same level of productivity in the other litmus test languages (used to be Java, now it is Python, but I'm arguing for full-stack semantics where it doesn't / shouldn't matter). At some point there is a black-mark on the language for all of its "too many ways to do the same thing" flexibility. Business Leaders authorizing development work don't like that answer as they have been burned by their own choice to hire substandard engineers to shore up their own inadequate hiring practices. There don't seem to be many compelling reasons to make the language choice and barring any change there, all marketing efforts are likely nothing more than stop-gap efforts. For the last decade, we've struggled with hiring anyone (contractor or employee) who was willing to put Perl on their resume. For the last half-decade, we've just pushed arbitrary contract developers at the language and dealt with the dearth of available talent (that was cheap [sigh]).

Please do not worry about the regressive portion of the community. They will come along with Perl 7 eventually. Instead, please focus on informating the greater Linux/UNIX that Perl is awesome and getting better all the time. Please focus outside the community in order to grow the community. Thanks for all that you do!

Freshen the look of associate sites and write a manual of style for associate sites for consistency. perl.org looks good, perlmonks.org not so much. The styles are vastly different between sites. Some, like PerlMonks and Pause, need modernization. So while each associate site doesn't have to look exactly the same, they should look similar enough. Also, make sure the current or new logo and, maybe, color scheme is adopted by associates, and it should be available to be used for unofficial gatherings of Perl users like on reddit, Facebook, and, if someone decides to start a site, Stack Exchange.

Some marketing -- any marketing -- would be good. No one outside the Perl community knows of the onion logo or TPF. I hope this works! Good luck!

Principle target should be to ease use of Perl as it is now, by beginners. by targeting real life use cases rather than teaching the programming paradigms. e.g. solutions for IOT, GUI programming, phone application development, engineering and AI. Fund research and publications that use BioPerl etc.

It can't hurt to unify, consolidate, and polish up web materials. Haskell people did a nice job with haskell.org

Actually do some marketing outside of perl / raku world. You are almost invisible to non perl / raku users

Perl edge was always CPAN, Raku needs to promote more its version of CPAN and make it easy to be active on it but improving the tools and processes CPAN is, was and always will be Perl's greatest asset, we need to make sure this also happens for Raku, which I believe is currently a better language than Perl5/7

Marketing needs to be focused on strategic advantages, about which developers care, which should include a lot of technical values, this survey seem too much focused on non-technical values

Non-technical values are important, but I think the marketing effort should be balanced between both technical and non-technical values

Get brand designers involved. Keep programmers away from branding. Raise money and pay a professional or two to analyze and design based on established design principles.

It's not enough to have the language any more. The extras have to be there: data persistence (including Oracle!), JSON/XML parsing, etc. Having more than one way to do it actually IMPEDES adoption for business, although it is welcoming otherwise. Python's batteries-included concept and fewer ways to do things bear this out.

Adopt a democratic process

Focus on core values, rather than on logos. As in : what is the core reason programmers still use perl, while many new languages already exist. And: whay would be a killer reason to use perl, rather than another language, for you next new shiny project ?

Fixing Perl's perception problems is a big job

Perl website is a nice manpage, but that's not what newcomers are looking for. Please, add an online editor right in the front page with some code snippets that the user can try. A nice looking "getting started" showing how to setup a real world project (::lib, cpan, small project [even though a simple hello world]), ALSO in the first page. Show the last development/updates being done in CPAN and Perl language so people know it's not dead. Place the biggest modules we have in Perl.

We need to accommodate the today's newcomers expectations. The website must be something nice fully written with some Perl framework and well designed! Also, we need to make sure people don't think Perl is only about web... so examples should show linux terminals, ... things like that. I don't know.

Support and help your community. The bidding process, documentation, and support for a YAPC bid are/were laughable.

I hope you will continue to solicit community feedback but I don't think rebranding TPF is a top priority.

TPF should become clearer on its actual, concrete goals. What other activities besides grants does TPF want to do? How far should the community influence go? Does TPF want to uphold a code of conduct/support for other parts of the Perl community? (I've seen that, and it was not pretty)

I haven't kept up with what the TPF has been up to recently. Sorry if you have, or are already implementing my suggestions. - Make sure there are several people with marketing experience working with programmers to develop the program. - Try out a once a year Perl coding boot camp in a location with opportunities for Perl programmers. Over the last two years I've seen a lot of UK based companies advertising, maybe that's a good spot. - Keep an eye on new modules, and promote the cool, or killer feature ones both to the Perl community and externally. Besides Raku, it's been a while since, I've came across a module I could chat with a non Perl programmer about.

Should creaste more transparent and accesible reports of how the perl foundation has influence on perl and raku

I think the whole Perl5/6 periode has been a complete mess, so I wish the committee will make a better job at marketing Perl 7 as "the new hot thing", but trying to avoid too much controversy with the existing user base. I understand the reasoning behind "it should just work with sane defaults for new users", but it is (imho) critical to keep a back compat version that can be shipped as system Perl for operating systems.

Unify and simplify. Too many websites and logos around perl. TPF should not be perceived as a separate thing than perl

Perl has a serious image problem, and IMO, rightly so. Unless we drag Perl into the 21st century, and get it to work (well) on platforms which matter (mobile devices, web browsers, multi-processor/multi-core servers) Perl will be the next Cobol. We can do busy work surveying people about "brand values" and wondering about a new logo, but other than a handful of the usual suspects, noone will give a flying f*ck. There will be absolutely no company who say, "we didn't think of using Perl, but now that TPF has picked a logo which better represent its value, we'll do our new project in Perl". We can also waste an hour during a conference and discuss the absence of a common colour or font on Perl related websites, and think we did a lot of useful marketing, but that's not going to delay the death of Perl by a single minute.

Yes. Please showcase the best Perl projects, with description of their outcomes and contributors and inner workings and how to get involved, at your home page. It would be great if such a show was updated once a few weeks and maybe included both tiny starting and large projects.

in my opinion, perl perception will be much improved if latest technologies will be available in it (through CPAN or in core - irrelevant): webasm, efficient application packaging, improve ML situation (http://blogs.perl.org/users/sergey_kolychev/2017/02/machine-learning-in-perl.html).

Focus on something that matters and not this.

I think getting behind perl 7 is important - having a clear brand and message about it's future coupled with the fact perl is still active and has an eco-system.

Perl had faced a lot of negativity in the past because of bad marketing and this is one of the place I think Python excel. A word of mouth over a time has placed Perl and Python to the places where they are today. So, the role of marketing is one of the crucial one. I hope with Perl 7, Perl will brack the sackels and come out of negativity like PHP 7. A professional brand logo will be a good start. I liked the idea of standard template across all the offical Perl resources. Nice and positive articles across different platform will boost the Perl brand. Remember, what people see sells, what sells people see.

The problem I have is not knowing where to send people for the information they need about perl, not the logo that's on that information.

It would be very helpful if the marketing committee would make clear who they are and what their purpose is. The TPF page at https://www.perlfoundation.org/marketing-committee.html points to the derelict "Yet Another Society" and claims that the marketing committee supports "Site design and maintenance" - which apparently it doesn't do. Said page also says "The Committee shall provide a report of all recent operations at least once every three months." but fails to state what happens with these reports - either they are secretive or the reports just didn't happen. Transparency is a prerequisite for trustworthyness.

Please pursue marketing aggressively and rebuild Perl's image in the world. It's such a great product and community, but so few people seem to realize that.

I rely on Perl and increasingly Raku; therefore, I rely on the Perl/Raku community continuing to flourish. And I like that these languages are community-held projects. So I want the Foundation in its actions as well as in its marketing to promote and nurture the community that develops, maintains, and uses these languages. To me, that means transparency, accountability, open access to decision-making and leadership, an ethos of inclusion, and a feeling of belonging for all. Thanks.

TPF should be shaped from representatives of Monger groups world-wide, not friends who met at YAPC::NA. I have experienced a few times that they do not support any development outside their own hobbies, which made Perl lose the "glue language for everything" status.

What is "servant leadership"?

I think the Servant Leadership quality is great but, I'm struggling to imagine what that looks like. I can't think of any examples to draw on directly which makes it hard to come up with a concrete comparison. Otherwise though I think I'm all for servant leadership being a quality to hold to in TPF.

1 Comment

Only 220? I'd expect 10x more.

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About Dean

user-pic I blog about Perl. I am now in California