I've just returned from participating in my first ever focus group, a "database user survey" conducted by Philology. It was, surprisingly, quite a fun and interesting experience, and I learned a lot about products that I've never had occasion (or, frankly, desire) to look into: seems like a good chunk of the world is terribly keen on Oracle and MS-SQL servers, for example. A brief summary:
Pro: Getting paid to spout off your opinions is just as much fun as it sounds - easiest money I've ever made short of finding it on the ground.
Con: Zoning out and absently playing with my face, forgetting that the whole affair is being recorded by at least two cameras.
Pro: Free food and drink!
Con: Eating sounds a lot louder and your drinking face feels a lot stupider when you know it's all on tape.
Pro: Geeks are very unlikely to talk over the top of one another, so we all got heard.
Con: Discovered that the rest of the world is in love with C# and Java.
Pro: Got to promote open-source database technologies.
Con: Discovered that the only open-source database with significant mindshare is MySQL.
Unfortunately, I think the study is coming to a close, otherwise I'd be recommending everyone have a go. Cash, free food, and a captive audience - what more could you ask for on a Thursday afternoon?