Start a New User Group/Meetup Founding and organizing a new user group or meetup is one of the greatest contributions that an individual can make to their local user community. For many, access to such a group is a factor in making career progress over suffering career stagnation. (Plus, it’s a great way to meet new friends who have similar interests.) There are many, many free resources available that can offer actionable advice for founding and organizing a new group/meetup. But here are just a few basic steps: Confirm that there is no similar group operating in your area. If there is, consider joining forces versus creating a new group from scratch. Create a clear mission statement and group profile. Crafting a simple mission statement will help you focus on the goals and values of your new group. As part of the exercise, determine your group’s name (and logo, if possible), the types of people you will target as members, and an initial list of meeting topics. Build a budget/fundraising plan. Running a user group/meetup costs money – for food & beverage, Web infrastructure, meeting space, and so on. Make sure you understand where the money will come from, and where it will go. (Remember, Cloudera can help you with this step via a “Startup Level” sponsorship.) Choose an organizational structure. Will a committee or board run your group? Will it have officers, and of so, which ones? How often will roles turn over? You need to have these details thought out. Establish communication channels. Whether you use meetup.com, a Google group, or Twitter, it’s important that you decide, in advance, how communication will occur. Document meeting frequency and structure. How often will you meet (shoot for at least 8 times per year), and what form will meetings take (one speaker? Multiple speakers? Unconference format)? Identify recruitment tactics. It’s important to have a recruitment/membership plan for building your charter membership, as well as an ongoing effort. When you have all these pieces in place, you’re in a good position to get up and running – by registering with meetup.com, building a Website, or provisioning an online group (or any combination of the above) – and then schedule your first meeting! As a final step, tell Cloudera that your new group is in business, and consider requesting a sponsorship and/or meeting speakers.