I really enjoy being able to meet and talk with people who have the same interests as me, whether it's work related or not. When I found that there was an R Users group based in Nottingham, where I live, I really wanted to attend and the first session that I could make it to was just a couple of days ago.
The meetup was fantastically hosted by Capital One in their UK head office which just happens to be in Nottingham. There was a couple of talks from R Users and plenty of time for networking plus pizza and beer which seem to be a staple of any meetup!
The talk from Capital One's Sarah Pollicott and Rob Noble-Eddy was interesting, as they spoke about their company's journey from users of commercial software SAS to embracing open source technology like R, which for me was surprising for such a large corporation. It sounds like it was a process that was not without difficulty but one that has now been achieved successfully. It was also nice to hear that they have been giving back to the open source community, writing their own R package called dataCompareR, which is available on CRAN.
The next talk was from Ben di Mambro, a doctor who told us he started using R as a hobby, but is now using it within his work, which I think is great. He showed us how to use Prophet, a package for time-series forecasting, developed by Facebook data scientists, which is also available for Python users.
The event was very enjoyable and I will definitely be attending again and hopefully making a contribution myself. If you have a local users group I would definitely recommend going and perhaps even speaking yourself!