Meetups started with a handful of people with a single-minded focus on tech hunkering on folding chairs in whatever room they could grab after hours at UC Berkeley or Dell. The open source meetup community now numbers in the thousands, with members congregating everywhere from Istanbul to Santa Clara, more often than not in the neo-modernist office of a flourishing tech company, with sushi and green tea served alongside pizza and beer.
Consultants and event planners try to replicate the meetup phenomenon, usually with [media hopefully promoting](http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/the_next_silicon_valley/2013/12/new_york_city_tech_boom_how_it_became_the_silicon_valley_of_the_east.html) the “new Silicon Forest” (or meadow, or cul-de-sac) but meetups are as impossible to create or control as those circles of red and white toadstools that spring up, magically, deep in the forest.
The constant is the great, important idea. The future of Scala from Martin Odersky, who’s worked on unifying object-oriented and functional programming in Scala for the past 10 years. Search + Spark from AMPLab’s Rashit Agarwal. A deep dive into Spark GraphX by Kenny Bastani from Pivotal Labs.
SRO at Advanced Apache Spark Meetup
The Spark Technology Center’s Chis Fregly hosts these great ideas and more at his [Advanced Apache Spark Meetups](http://www.meetup.com/Advanced-Apache-Spark-Meetup/). Essentially a Spark vagabond, Fregly travels around the world hosting the best thinking on Spark—[including his own](http://www.slideshare.net/cfregly). And people gather. Last week, Fregly’s Advanced Spark Meetup hit number 3 on the [Largest Spark Meetups Worldwide](http://apache-spark.meetup.com/?set_mobile=off) list, with close to 2,500 members.
See the full list of Advanced Apache Spark Meetups and RSVP [here](http://www.meetup.com/Advanced-Apache-Spark-Meetup/).
Fregly, a Northwestern grad, has a long history of responding to the needs of the open source community.
[![Chris Fregly, Spark vagabond and Principal Data Engineer at the Spark Technology Center](/content/images/2016/01/Fregly-.jpg?fit=200%2C200)](/content/images/2016/01/Fregly-.jpg)Chris Fregly, Spark vagabond and Principal Data Engineer at the Spark Technology Center
“At BEA Systems, we built a very complex product called WebLogic Portal that included Commerce, Personalization, Portlets, User Management, and a whole lot of EARs/EJBs! Flipping between engineering and consulting while at BEA, I saw that our audience, the developer, wasn’t understanding our product. We spent so much time marketing the features of our product with words and UML diagrams that we neglected code samples, end-to-end tutorials, and developer usability.
Instead, our audience would just hack together their own Portlet framework using Struts. I left BEA shortly after and worked with a number of large BEA customers to build a grassroots WebLogic Developer Portal that focused on this community-driven need. I couldn’t afford the WebLogic license, so I hacked the WebLogic Developer Portal together using my own Portlet framework based on Struts, of course!”
Advanced Apache Spark Meetups coming your way include:
### [SF][Scalable ElasticSearch-Spark Connector, Spark SQL/DataFrames, DataSource API](http://www.meetup.com/Advanced-Apache-Spark-Meetup/events/223690485/)
### [SF][Deep Dive into Spark GraphX + Neo4J + Project Mazerunner + Titan DB](http://www.meetup.com/Advanced-Apache-Spark-Meetup/events/223764677/)
### [NYC][Pre-Spark-Summit: Advanced Analytics, ML, Graph, NLP, Streaming Approximate](http://www.meetup.com/Advanced-Apache-Spark-Meetup/events/228068047/)
And if you’d like to share **your** great idea—check out Airbnb’s Hector Yee using [Spark, Scala and Machine Learning to solve for dynamic pricing](http://www.spark.tc/projects/)—send us your project or blog post and link to github at email@example.com and we’ll feature it on [spark.tc](http://www.spark.tc/).
[![Odersky and Fregly at the Scala 2016 meetup](/content/images/2016/01/odersky--1024x764.jpg?fit=680%2C507)](http://www.meetup.com/Advanced-Apache-Spark-Meetup/)Odersky and Fregly at the Scala 2016 meetup