Posts Tagged ‘Jean-Georges Perrin’
Technologies developed by GreenIvory were recognized by the global tech giant IBM. As if this was not enough, GreenIvory’s CEO, Jean Georges Perrin, is renewed as an IBM Champion.
Read more on GreenIvory’s corporate website…
This week Jean-Georges Perrin speaks at 3 conferences to share with you his experience in the web world:
- Tuesday, May 22, Alfatec Conference in Plitvice lakes (Croatia).
- Wednesday, May 23, Adria IUG Conference in Zagreb (Croatia).
He will present: “Informix is not for Legacy Applications”.
For more information: http://www.adria-iug.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=96&Itemid=73
- Friday, May 25, DeveloperForum – InformixTechDay 2012 in Strasbourg (France).
He will present: “Réflexions autour d’un standard pour le PaaS”.
For more information: http://www.developerforum.eu/events/3-all/761-developerforum-2012-informixtechday-2012.html
This article is one of a series, “Sixty Entrepreneurs Who Are Developing the Region,” published in the Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace (DNA) on April 3, 2012 and written by Antoine Latham. Alsace is a small but significant region that sits on the eastern border of France.
Born in Strasbourg and deeply attached to his region, Jean Georges Perrin is the founder of digital start-up, GreenIvory, a bicontinental tech company with locations in France and in the United States. Perrin’s dedication to the technological community has been recognized for the fourth year in a row through his designation as “IBM Champion,” a developer or IT professional who has taken a leadership role in technology and has made significant contributions to the tech community. Jean Georges is proud to be recognized by IBM as one of the few French Champions.
Perrin manages his company from his Haguenau home, but our meeting took place in an office of the Reichstett telecentre, a local technology center, where the GreenIvory team holds its weekly meetings.
In the courtyard of the former company headquarter, Uhl Bonaventure Informatique, where storks have built their nest atop a lamppost, GreenIvory’s boss looks content. “We all meet here once a week. The rest of the time, GreenIvory employees are traveling or working from home.” With a decor reminiscent of the 1970′s and a cafeteria improvised around a massive carpenter’s bench with a venerable throne time clock in the lobby, Jean Georges describes the origin of his company’s unique name.
GreenIvory is a combined metaphor of two ambitions cherished by the entrepreneur: continuous growth, (like the tusks of elephants throughout their lives), and sustainable development, (less paper, less travel, less waste).
Ecologically virtuous perhaps, but with only 10 employees in France and one in North Carolina (United States) and with 230,000 euros (about $300,000) in revenue, GreenIvory is still not the size of an elephant. “We are small now, but that will change. I feel a clear acceleration of our business. We had to rearrange the box [Fr. slang: company]; everybody plays the game. We originally had a very technical company profile, not commercial enough. Without being pretentious, I don’t think there are many “boxes” like ours in Alsace, that invest so much in research and development. We have had setbacks but we are still here because of our clients… We will always have the mindset of a start-up,” said the leader, who wants to grow, but who categorically opposes the suggestion of going public: “To lead a business to success and sell it is tempting, but I don’t want to sacrifice the company. There are talents—people of great talent—in GreenIvory, and these skills must remain in Alsace.”
Born in Strasbourg on October 5th, 1971 , Jean Georges Perrin spent his childhood in northern Alsace and moved with his family (to follow his father’s career in an American multinational company), to Morocco, the Netherlands, and Finland before returning to Strasbourg, Alsace to attend the Couffignal High School and later earning a master’s degree in advanced computer science. The father of two boys, for whom he protects his weekends and projects, Jean Georges chose to anchor his family in Alsace.
Perrin has a history of interest in innovation. “In 1995, I participated in the creation of Pandemonium, (a leading provider of Internet access in the country), which was sold in 2000 and was affected by the bursting of the dot com bubble. Some know-how remained.” This ‘know-how’ led him to his next post at software company, Four J’s Development Tools, in Schiltigheim. Four J’s promotes tools that allow developers to be innovative and efficient resulting in faster turnaround time and a less-expensive bottom line. Jean Georges notes nostalgically, “It was with this company that I took my first trip around the globe.”
In 2002, Perrin created Awoma, a company dedicated to developing solutions (Note: development tools) in Java: “A good idea, but one that has not yet found its market…,” says Jean Georges Perrin soberly. Following Awoma are what he calls, with a touch of self-mockery, “the wilderness years.” It was in 2006 that his experience and ideas were emulsifying, leading to the birth of GreenIvory in September 2007.
“I had observed how companies that create their website spend a large sum to create it and then tend to forget it completely. They forget that the site needs to be nurtured to create traffic. “To boost its clients’ sites, Jean Georges Perrin offers an application, MashupXFeed, that has a watch on the internet and automatically “pushes” content that may be of interest to the customers’ site. VoiceObserver is especially dedicated to the automatic watch on the company’s online reputation (Note: brand management). GreenIvory serves a ranges of customers including a distributor of agricultural equipment, a private company in northern Alsace, a program of access to public markets dependent agency of the regional council.
“Going forward, GreenIvory will focus on the creation of customized tools. We will build tailor-made tools for specific outlets. We have great research and development projects and many ideas in our boxes,” says Jean Georges Perrin. He adds: “I like projects that simplify people’s lives.” He hopes to offer new solutions for intelligence in intellectual property and counterfeiting.
His company has been awarded the Young Innovative Company status (Note: Jeune Entreprise Innovante, or JEI, in French) of the French authorities. “We are one of the only companies authorized by the Ministry of Research to do private research in Alsace. We just received our accreditation from 2011 to 2013. In other words, the French government considers us a private lab. This is an advantage for our customers, who can deduct the expenses through their research tax credit (Note: Crédit d’Impot Recherche, or CIR, in French).”
The first in France to receive the title “IBM Champion,” a recognition renewed this year, Jean Georges is feeling pretty proud. The Alsacian company has recently been recognized by IBM. “Big Blue” recently posted a tribute to its Franco-American partner, for its use of IBM database technology. This honor is awarded to the best brand ambassadors. There are 200 in the world and only a handful in France.”
Perrin chose Durham, North Carolina, not far from a major IBM lab, for GreenIvory’s American location. A familiar U.S. visitor (traveling to the states four or five times each year), Jean Georges Perrin knows the country quite well. “Overall, I have already spent more than a year in the United States. This is a great country for skill development. The conferences are exciting and very professional.”
Perrin continues to bring his mission home. “Improving people’s lives is more than a program— it is a vocation and a vision… ” Jean Georges said with verve in Mulhouse, Alsace in his 2010 TEDxAlsace presentation. (Note: first TEDxAlsace in Mulhouse). As a child, Jean Georges Perrin wanted to invent robots: “For years I wondered why. I came to the conclusion that I wanted to improve the lives of my neighbor. I wanted to make working more enjoyable, less stultifying.” Many years later, the man realizes part of the dream of the child by developing tools that make life easier, and Jean Georges Perrin remains convinced that “the tool-improvement curve never stops.” A nice message of hope, no?
The entrepreneur is outspoken, not hesitating to put regional politicians in front of what he considers to be their responsibility. He had, in particular, posted a “rant” in this column, suggesting a wait-and-see attitude, even indifference, of Alsacian politicians toward digital industries. He views this industry, obviously, as a key to the future of Alsace.
“This made an impact, but more must follow.” He had a face-to-face explanation from Francois Loos (former national Secretary of State for Industry) on these topics. Loos is aware of the problems. Says Jean Georges of his meeting, “Politicians have understood, I think, the need to do something. Knowing what to do is less clear”.
- Press article in the Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace (DNA) on April 3rd 2012 (French). Download of the article on the Adira’s web site, or direct download.
- GreenIvory – Fast performance and scalability deliver seven million web pages a day (on IBM.com, English).
To activate the English subtitles, click on the “CC” icon under the video.
Jean-Georges Perrin’s talk at TedXAlsace is now available on our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObZnmkESLS0). Subtitles in English and in French were added to the video. The slides are available on SlideShare.
Here is the whole text in English:
You and I have one thing in common.
You and I, we are part of a privileged elite.
We are one of the 10 species that use tools to improve their lives.
When we think of tools, we immediately think about hand tools, like a wrench. But what is actually a tool?
I developed this “insight” recently not far from here, the eagle animal park in Kintzheim in Alsace. The bird you see in the picture is called an Egyptian Vulture. It drops a stone to break ostrich eggs and get to the contents.
Prehistoric man created his tools to hunt, to assemble his clothes. When we imagine prehistoric humans, we think of them as primitive hunters of mammoths. In fact, prehistoric man had needles to sew skins together and thus improve his clothing.
When we think of the Gauls, we first see Asterix and Obelix, This last one… not being overweight…, just somewhat wrapped. Yet the Gauls invented the first grain harvester.
In 1896, when the August and Louis Lumière projected their movie “The Arrival of a train at La Ciotat” an urban legend was that the crowd run away in a panic. If we had not overcome this type of fear, we never would have had a film like Avatar.
When I was ten I lived in Morocco, my father managed a factory. When one asked me what I wanted to do later, I said “robotics engineer” At the time, my motivations were not clear, I often said, wrongly, “to avoid work” When you are a young teenager your wisdom may not be at its best…
Actually, for a long time I wondered why. I wondered what were the underspanning motivations for such a thought.
I came to the conclusion that I wanted to improve human lives. Although working conditions in the factory of my dad were very good, I wanted the work more enjoyable, less repetitive. That’s why I wanted to build robots.
Robots are cool for geeks, but for most, robots are scary. Even if there is nothing rational about that. We must educate, explain, and demonstrate that their contributions are positive.
There are also some unexpected consequences of inventions. Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone so that normal people, can call scholars to learn and thus improve their lives. A kind of TDEx before the time … Fortunately (or unfortunately), other uses have developed.
Man has always created tools. For me, the primary driver is to improve his life and, occasionally, based on his level of altruism the life of others.
So, I imagined of a simple process for the implementation of technologies and tools.
Take little graph. Horizontally, I put the time. Vertically, I put the improvement of life. Of course, there is no real unit of measurement for “improving life” (although there are people working on the subject), but let’s assume…
Then I divide my cycle between three stages:
The initial phase of innovation and discovery.
Then we reach a stage of fear and questioning.
To finally arrive at what I call the quantum leap.
There are many examples of fears, I mentioned robots, movie … I did not find traces of prehistoric man or on the Gauls, but I think we can easily imagine that the sight of a flint ax , for a Neanderthal it would not be very reassuring. Same would be for the phone to Mr. Bell, for the steam powered wagon of Nicolas Joseph Cugnot, for the Edison’s lamp, for the first rockets sent into space …
I still remember my grandmother saying “if the weather is quite out of order, it is because of all the satellites that we send into space.”
I’ll take another example, more concrete and closer to us and one I know quite well …
At the beginning of the Internet, everyone quickly found it’s great. It was so great that it generated a financial bubble. It exploded. and created a lasting irrational fear that “all internet companies will fail.” Now, this idea is solidly rooted in the minds of many financial lenders of our beautiful region.
But fortunately, Web 2.0, and now the Web Squared, have emerged, allowing the quantum leap to take place.
Man produces tools more complex tools. This summer, while vacationing in the U.S., my wife and I, we purchased a robot that vacuums the floors of our home.
This robot goes through my house automatically.
Our lives have been greatly improved.
Before we go on, I think it is important to understand that this curve is unending. One of my favorite quotes is that of Thomas Watson, author of the famous “Think” of IBM. Tom Watson was the president of the company for many years. In 1943, he believed that the world market for computers would be limited to five …
closer to our times, in 1977, the president and founder of Digital Equipment (DEC) said that the computer has no place at home. This is an example, but many sahred this thought .
There are many such examples.
Where are we in the development of our internet tools? Right now, I see one of these plateau.This step comes as Web 2.0 and Web Squared slowly mature into practical applications.
You already can hear the irrational fears which appear:
I do not trust the Internet. I do not trust Facebook. I’m afraid to be fooled. Where is my personal data? How do I know if it is well protected?
My goal today is not to try to argue each of these points. But ust compare this novel environment with the conventional accepted world. What guarantee offers your bank to protect your accounts? What happens if you lose your car keys? Just recall Père-Noël.fr?
Père-Noël.fr was one of the biggest disasters in French e-commerce, but it is now all forgotten.
Many of our tools have become real & complex machines.
And the reason we were raising all these questions is simply because we do not trust these machines.
Of course, we trust a number of machines: dishwasher, car, I just took the train to take me here, with all the mechanisms set up by the SNCF and RFF … I even trust an automatic vacuum cleaner in my house.
Let’s imagine together all we could do if we would trust new generation internet machines.
Suppose that the machine understands my mails. It could identify who are my best friends (close friends, not those on Facebook). As the machine has access to my address book, it knows that one of my best friends lives in Massachusetts, near Boston.
I am interested to know what is happening in Boston. I am interested in what impacts my friend such as the collapse of a Big Dig tunnel, the Celtics being champions in 2008, the Red Sox beating the Yankees regularly.
Continue to dream: I just confirmed my flight to Las Vegas next October. The machine knows me and can suggest some interesting activities to do in “Sin City”.
There is of course no relationship with the pink phone mentioned earlier …
I believe Facebook knows … I’ll be in Morocco for the second Ignite in Casablanca. The machine can offer me some interesting information about the Kingdom of Morocco.
I have many more examples, but I must stay within my allocated 18 minutes and I cannot reveal everything.
In addition, I do not want to search for all this information. It must come automatically to me. The machine should get it and bring it to me automatically. I must be able to access my computer, my phone, my TV, my tablet or any other média …
To refer to a daily routine, imagine your morning newspaper, just tailored for you. The remaining question is how to give this machine a little dose of fantasy & creativity in order that the morning paper is not a dry listing of facts
I believe in the personal tailoring and screening of the information flow. It opens new doors for us that we do not yet imagine.
This is the future.The near future. To achieve this, we must trust the machines.
The machine will save time, make us more efficient. If so wished we can “info-snack”, we can use the targeted information when and where you want it …
In conclusion, I quote a friend of mine “we are what we share”. It is time to share with the machines. If we trust the machines, we will improve our lives.
Jean-Georges Perrin, TEDxAlsace (Mulhouse), October 2010