The CLEVELAND BIG DATA MEETUP was founded in 2010 by Doug Meil. Doug was the founding engineer at EXPLORYS in 2009. As Explorys heavily leveraged big data frameworks such as Hadoop, he had the opportunity to interact with technical communities in Silicon Valley and New York, and wanted to create a similar community for Cleveland.  The meetup was originally called the Cleveland Hadoop User Group, but was renamed the Cleveland Big Data Meetup after a few years.

The group settled into a cadence of meeting 6 times a year, plus a few bonus events every now and again, to become one of the most active technical groups in Northeast Ohio. The meetup enjoyed support from a variety of Cleveland-based organizations such as Explorys, PRPOGRESSIVE, KEYBANK, CLEVELAND CLINIC, NASA GLENN, and Pandata, as well as CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY, CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY, Kent State University, and BALDWIN-WALLACE UNIVERSITY. The meetup has benefited from strong technical industry support as well. The meetups were free to attend, and open to all, and as of 2023 there have been nearly 70 events.

The typical meetup format was 3, 20-minute talks, with pizza and networking before-hand. The idea for a larger “once a year” event was conceived in the summer of 2014 to have more talks, with even more pizza and networking and the idea of a Mega Meetup was born.  Cleveland Big Data Meetup had a string of September Mega Meetups from 2014 to 2019 with each hosting many hundreds of attendees. 2014 and 2015 had events at the Great Lakes Science Museum, and 2016 through 2019 events at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

The Covid-19 global pandemic hit the United States in March 2020 and put a temporary halt to meeting in-person, but the Cleveland Big Data Meetup kept meeting virtually with the help of the Linux Foundation’s Zoom account and recordings of meetings posted to YouTube. In-person meetups and conferences around the world were all effectively rebuilding from scratch coming out of the pandemic, but the Cleveland Big Data Meetup is trying a hybrid model of meeting to support the in-person networking that was so integral to the early success of the group.

Doug Meil

Last updated: 2/27/2023


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