A couple of years ago I started what became the Big Data meetup for the Boulder/Denver area, together with Jacob Rideout. The first few months were tough, despite having a tight-knit tech community in the area, not many people were using or interested in technologies like Hadoop and NoSQL, so we averaged around eight or nine people. After I left Colorado the event really started to pick up steam, as you can see in the graph above.
I like to think it wasn't my absence that fueled the growth, it's the ground-swell of interest in everything under the Big Data umbrella. Boulder is an exciting place to be working on technology, and I'm not at all surprised to see so much work being done with emerging data tools. There seem to be a lot of new (and old!) companies following in the footsteps of local pioneers like Gnip, Next Big Sound and Return Path, and they're looking for people to hire, so if you're an aspiring data geek who wants to work on interesting projects, I highly recommend popping along to the next one!