Well, you ask an interesting set of questions, and others have provided you with many of the answers you seek. But allow me to give you another perspective. Over many years I have been hired by employers to sit on selection panels and by VC's and the like, to review proposals of various sorts. I have worked on everything from submarines and fighter aircraft to toll-roads and small web sites. I have one VC I do something for every couple of weeks or so. Here are some of our observations:
in reply to Perl Programmer -> J2EE Convert?
JAVA A great tool for a large corporation where you can invest sufficient money and time in training. Not necessarilly a tool for start-ups or small concerns. Only touted for those environments by people who know nothing else it would seem!
About 6 months ago this VC put $250k into a start-up to create a portal for teenage sports fans. They had a functional demo, but not lots of graphics and Flash yet. The potential was obvious. They spent about half the money on Flash and graphic arts and launched on a single mod_perl server. But they had planned for scalability. And when after about a month they hit 1200gb/month of traffic and were using 8 servers the VC had made his money back and still had 40% of the company. The winning factors: perl, mod_perl, Apache and MySQL. He had evaluated a similar proposal a few weeks earlier for the same basic thing using JAVA and Flash. That project got funding elsewhere but we heard that last week their VC pulled the funding after nearly $400k, a big pile of Flash but only about 1/3rd of the functionality working.
J2EE Okay, now we know we don't want to be involved in this!
Python Hmmm, these guys are worth listening too, they may actually have something you know.
ASP / .NET Oh dear, the development may go just fine, but the cost of operation, servers, sysadmins etc just doubled compared to *nix
PHP Hmmm, yeah, look at the resume's again, these guys went to a community college didn't they! Maybe they can make it work, but it sure as heck won't scale!
Perl Ahh, now we are talking. Listen carefully to these guys. My VC knows the Perl scalability story. mod_perl and Apache with a good framework goes down very well.
I only wish that I could get points on this VC's successes instead of my flat fee! But if you can go to a VC with a mock-up of the core functionality already done in Perl, then you are usually going to be streets ahead of the competition. It seems to me that the VC's like the idea of being able to get launched early and start seeing some cash flow, even if it takes time to build the big thing and do the major launch.
So, unlike what somebody else said in this thread, the VC's _DO_ care about the technology. To them the choice of technology actually says a lot about the people proposing the deal. And please don't ask, my NDA's are all signed and up to date.