I was reading Paul Graham's essay - Beating The Averages (2003) and here's what he had to say:
The more of an IT flavor the job descriptions had, the less dangerous the company was. The safest kind were the ones that wanted Oracle experience. You never had to worry about those. You were also safe if they said they wanted C++ or Java developers. If they wanted Perl or Python programmers, that would be a bit frightening-- that's starting to sound like a company where the technical side, at least, is run by real hackers
Now, this is a dated essay. However, I fail to see how using a non-commonplace language (C/C++/Java, C#) would be 'less dangerous'. If the programmers of an organization are very fluent with the development language they should be equally adept at cranking out code at a decent pace. In fact if you do use a non-commonplace language won't maintenance/enhancement problems hit you in the face since not too many programmers would be available, in the long run?
For making quick-n-dirty systems I agree, that some languages allow you to take off relatively sooner than others. But does Paul Graham's essay/comment make sense in 2012 and beyond? If a startup were to use typical IT languages for development, why should it's competition be less worried?
I fail to see how the language itself makes a difference. IMHO it's the developers experience with the language that matters and the availability of frameworks so that you DRY (do not repeat yourself) not just coding in a particular language.
What is it that I'm missing? Does it imply that startups better choose non IT-flavored languages (even if the developers may be extremely adept at them)? What are the (programming) economic/market-forces behind this claim?
PS: 'lingua obscura' is not meant to hurt anyone's feelings :)