I'd recently started using a Sun 386i (SunOS 4.0.2) after a few years of MS-DOS, and was somewhat confused by the various Unix tools. I went to the Software Development conference in early February 1990 (in Oakland), and listened to a presentation on Perl (3.something) by Rob Kolstad.
in reply to What got you interested in Perl?
And then I saw the light :-)
When I got back I managed to get perl installed using ftpmail (no IP connectivity), and then when Larry added usersubs I started working on the very first version of sybperl during the summer of 1990 - perl looked to me as such a perfect tool to write simple database management tools (an opinion that I still hold - although I tend to write rather more complex systems these days :-)