It's basically the same situation that happened with Ruby and Ruby on Rails. They were "new" and "trendy" technologies that got a lot of hype. Smart people saw that Ruby was basically Perl with a slightly more readable (but less powerful) syntax, and that Rails was nothing but yet another web development framework.
If that was all they saw, I would not exactly call them "smart"... While I am not a RoR fanboy, it actually acted much like a cult band, influencing development on many other platforms, especially ones that were more static like Java server-side development. Specifically, convention-over-configuration became mainstream, when observation was made along the lines of "gee, maybe having to name my methods certain way is less painful than writing tons of XML configuration files".
As to Ruby being "just like Perl", it's like saying that USA is just like India, just slightly different. They ain't. Ruby is not less powerful than Perl, nor is it syntax its strongest points (description might fit Python better, although even for Python it'd be rather inaccurate).