On the awesomeness of the Perl community
The Perl community is AWESOME! Much has been said and written on this topic: a lot of it true, some of it not so much, and sadly a nontrivial amount of it FUD. Yet, since this is about Perl, there is definitely more than one way to say it. So I will tell you one more personal-ish story.
Earlier this week I got a set of unsettling news involving relatives, hospitals and other -ONotFun details. This quickly put me on an unplanned collision course with the north american continent. Ok, tickets in hand and all, I started contemplating what the nearly 3 weeks away from home will look like. I will spare the reader mundane trivia and just say - I saw a lot of suck in my future. But wait, I know regular expressions about this awesome conference that happens to be conveniently scheduled - I can *just* about squeeze it in. But it is also very inconveniently located, to an extent that traveling to it from the middle of nowhere will cost as much as traveling across the pond to begin with.
So I was sitting there, scowling at ticket prices, contemplating which one of my friends I could ask to help me out. The more I wanted to go, the less likely it looked I can muster the courage to ask anyone to fork a considerable chunk of cash. And then it hit me - there is this crowd-funding platform called CrowdTilt which bdfoy and thaljef successfully used to fund a part of their joint business venture. Furthermore I remembered browsing the site's "Campaign Ideas" and reading stuff like "Tailgate party" and "Field trip" and other similar stuff. Well... I am looking to go on a field trip that resembles a tailgating party...
I put together a quick campaign description, slapped an awesome picture of me by the awesome mdk and pushed the thing live. I didn't expect much. Mainly because I wasn't offering anything tangible in return - there would have been no extra commits due to me attending, nor was there any chance of me giving a talk. I was literally asking people to pay for the privilege of drinking beer with me. Crazy! I also made the conscious decision to not "market" the campaign in any way beyond announcing it on twitter and adding it to the topic of the #dbix-class IRC channel. I figured if someone really wanted to spend money on me they'd know where to look.
The first contributions came really quickly from a couple of old friends of mine. And then there was nothing for a while so I went on with my day. And then I came back to check on things several hours later... HOLY JESUS ON A FLYING MOTORCYCLE!!!. Not only were folks contributing (like... for real), but they were actively spreading the word. The campaign "tilted" in 27 hours, and it reached its goal an extra hour later. I
was still am floored.
But wait, there is more! Today I received an email from one of the awesome folks working at CrowdTilt (yes, this is a major web project written in Perl). Among other things he gave me a promo code that would waive fees from any Perl-related campaign I run. Just like that. Moreover he encouraged me to share it with fellow Perl programmers as well (I plan to follow up on this offer hehehe ;) But this is not all. When I went to enter the code into the campaign settings <blink> there was another code there already. Someone else from CrowdTilt waived my fees without me ever knowing about it. You know, just like any other company would do.
And to finally get to the main point of this: it is incredible that the events I described above are even conceivable, left alone being an actual reality. I honestly do not think my contributions to CPAN were the decivise factor either. Perl simply attracts the cool kind of people. Not just the kind that are fun to have a beer with, but the kind that want to have a beer with you! You ladies and gentlemen are amazing. I am honored and humbled to be a part of your community and I love you all!
Cheers, and I am looking forward to seeing some of you in Austin!