Meet the European Perl Ecosystem: spotlight on Barcelona.pm
A chat with Alex Muntada, leader of Barcelona.pm, a group formed in sunny Spain, YAPC::EU 2015 organizer, regular conference attendee && a great guy, ready to help whenever needed. Let’s get to knowing him && his group a bit better.
Q1. Tell us about yourself && your background
I’m 42 years old and I work as a systems engineer at the Computer Architecture Department in UPC BarcelonaTech. My first contact with Perl was in mid 90s while studying Computer Science, and soon after I started to work as an intern in my department.
My first job there was to learn Perl and take care of the Web server. I’ve been in love with Perl and Web since then.
Q2. When && how did you start Barcelona.pm? Why did you start the group?
The Barcelona.pm group was started by Timothy Chen Allen in 2001 to chat about Perl and YAPC::Europe. I joined the group in 2003.
Joel Pinckheard stepped in as leader when Tim left to the USA in 2004, and Xavier Noria took Joel’s place in 2008. Eventually Xavier moved to Ruby, though he’s still very interested in Perl, and in 2010 I became the leader.
Q3. How are you organized? What projects && activities do you have?
We meet the last Thursday of each month. We have technical and social meetings, and we like to meet other Perl Mongers visiting Barcelona, so please let us know. We like any topic, though Perl is most appreciated.
We have also organized several events: festivals with special guests, courses and workshops.
Q4. How many members are there in your group && how did you grow the local community?
The Barcelona.pm mailing list has 140 members, but only a dozen are regular attendees. Our events usually bring about
40 people or more, but it’s been difficult to convince people to become regulars. People come and go over the years.
Q5. Any events of Barcelona.pm we could && should attend?
Barcelona Perl Workshop 2016 will probably be in November, and Perl 6 will be a prominent topic for sure.
Q6. What are your plans for the future?
The question of having a Perl conference in Barcelona is a recurring topic in most meetings and events and I’m sure it will happen eventually.
Q7. Any “unsung heroes” of Barcelona.pm you’d like to publicly acknowledge?
Francesc Guasch and Jose Luis Perez are the oldest members of Bacelona.pm that are still regulars on meetings and events.
They are always willing to help and deserve my most sincere gratitude for their long time support in running Barcelona.pm.
Q8. Share your favorite Barcelona.pm story w/ the world
There are many moments that I remember often: the day that Xavier Noria let us try his Segway after the meeting was so fun… And every single time we’ve had a special guest it’s been such a wonderful experience, that I’m very proud of being part of this community.
Q9. A piece of advice for folks that want to start a PM group
Focus on face to face meetings and show cool things about Perl.
Be patient but don’t spend time convincing people that don’t show any interest. Find others that do, invite them to share their learnings. Some beginners are afraid to share what they learn, encourage them to do so.
Q10. What are the most important elements of a cohesive && successful group?
In my opinion, respect is the most important ingredient for a healthy community and having fun while learning new things is key for success.
Q11. What makes your group stand out?
We are a group of people that happen to have Perl in common, but we use it in very different ways. Our meetings usually mix a lot of topics and we’re always open to learn something new.
We’ve had talks about many programming languages and tools, we’ve discussed about Computer Science and Science Fiction, books and TV series. And we love electronic gadgets too.
Q12. Anything else you’d like to add?
We also love food and beer, so we usually have dinner after or during our meetings. Sometimes we even have summer meetings on the beach.
See you & the Barcelona.pm members @ YAPC::Europe 2016, in Cluj!
Get in touch with Barcelona.pm on Twitter.