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So You Started a Meetup: Part 1

The challenges of setting up a tech meetup, and all the fun you get to have!

· Big Data Zone

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Future of Data: Princeton

So I started a meetup, one of 39 of the Future of Data Series revolving around open source Apache big data projects like Hadoop, Spark, Flink, HBase, Hive, Pig and NiFi. It's always fun, but there are many stumbling blocks that come up. One is you have to find a name and a sponsor. Fortunately I had my company is sponsoring meetups to give back to the community. So that was complete.

Where do you host your meetup? You could do a library, but they have restrictions and often are a bit small. Maybe your company has a big conference room, but you need your security to let people in and having staff and space is sometimes tough. Maybe you have a good relationship with a company with a big meeting space that loves hosting meetups (Microsoft and Pivotal are awesome there). Or there's a cool Startup CoWorking space like WeWork or TigerLabs. Those are good options. You are looking for a place that can fit 50-200 people, has good WiFi, a projector, seating and is accessible for people. In the suburbs you need parking and in other areas you need mass transit access. It has to be an area that people are willing to go to at night. Another thing you might forget is, does your venue allow food and drink. And for the more startup focused, can you have beer? Beer and Pizza makes talks easier to consume and let's people interact which is really important part of the community of learning and sharing.

So you find a place, make sure you get a backup. Things book quickly and if you want to do this meetup monthly (or maybe bimonthly), you better have a spot when the other is booked or closed.

Use the Buddy System

This is going to be a lot of work, get a partner. So you can split the work and have a bigger network of contacts for venues, speakers and attendees. Maybe get a couple people to help.

In my next article, I will go through:

  • Promotion

  • Speakers

  • Session Lineup

  • Food and Beverages

  • Sponsors

  • GitHub / Slideshare / Twitter / LinkedIn

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meetup,hadoop,hortonworks,big data

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