These days any hobby of mine ends up with a user group if there isn’t one already.

The amount of value I derive from being able to hear experts in their fields talk about whether they’re on stage or in the audience is phenomenal. Also, it’s really great way to meet like-minded people.

So with the benefits in mind, 2 years of R under my belt, and a new starter in work, the time seemed ripe for an R user group.

Admin

The administrative set up was trivial:

  • Start group on meetup.com
  • Notify Revolution Analytics to get added to their directory
  • Talk to the awesome chaps at Mango, who have some cracking staff who can help deliver talks

That’s all done, although I need to come up with a logo at some point.

Format

The SQL Server UG is a fair bit older than most meetups being held in Cardiff and is lucky enough to have an awesome venue in the form of Eversheds. The evening events are pretty set in format and have 6sq ft of pizza and tea & coffee.

Most other meetups in Cardiff are a lot less formal and are often hosted in places like Founders Hub. The sessions are shorter, there’s usually alcohol, and they seem a lot more “fun”.

There are advantages to both, but given the other R user groups seem to tend towards shorter sessions anyway, I think I’ll try to be hip and keep up with these new-fangled meetups.

I also want to make the R group practical – it’s really easy to get R running on your laptop making portability simple. So I’d like to host events where you primarily do R coding.

However, these are just my thoughts on the matter. I’m hoping the first meeting on Jan 13th will net some extra ideas and advice.

Audience

It’s relatively early days yet and I think I shot myself in the foot by setting things up in December, but there aren’t a lot of people registered yet.

These things do take time but I’d like to get some more people involved earlier on.

I’m currently tweeting and getting others to RT to try to reach people. Some local blogs have also included us in their events listings:
Freespeech | Computer Recruiter

Of course, there’s a whole offline tranche of people out there who would probably love to attend, so if you know someone who likes to crunch numbers or wants to say goodbye to Word & PowerPoint, please recommend they sign up and come along to an R user group near them!

As well as the Revolution Analytics list, you can check out the R user groups running on meetup.com. And of course, here’s a link to the Cardiff group!

Starting the Cardiff R User Group
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What do you think?