“Talend… you mean the big data company, right?” is what a less informed minister would probably have asked her chief of staff when he presented her the program of her first day in the Silicon Valley. Now, of course, that did not happen with Fleur Pellerin, the French Minister for Digital Economy, because she knows exactly who Talend is, she and I having met multiple times.
Despite being intimately familiar with Talend, Ms. Pellerin chose to start her Silicon Valley tour at Talend’s headquarters in Los Altos. And our discussion topics revolved primarily around… big data, of course! Why big data? The answer is simple: Ms. Pellerin has understood that big data is a unique opportunity for the French software industry to carve out a leadership position on the global software market.
Let’s face it. France has missed pretty much every IT revolution in the past 30 years. The personal computer. Cloud computing. The smartphone. The tablet. In some domains we have just given up. In others, protectionist regulations and a planned economy are dragging along moribund projects which won’t get anywhere close technically to market leaders. Still, there is no doubt that the French educational system is training highly skilled software engineers. Back when we were kids, there was a saying: “in France, we may not have oil but we have ideas.” And that’s true: many brilliant ideas were born in France – with 4 possible outcomes: die in their infancy for lack of support and financing, move to the US or another more favorable environment, end up on perpetual life support, or… become a market leader!
The key here is to take these brilliant ideas and give them the ability to grow and prosper as companies, without moving to the US entirely and immediately, and help them become global software leaders. And of course, without the artificial life support, which, as we all know, ceases to work anyway as soon as one crosses the Ocean. As a board member of AFDEL, the French Association of Software Vendors, Talend is deeply involved in this concept and is working with Ms. Pellerin’s staff. After all, Talend is one of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies in the big data space as well as one of the few French-born global market leaders. All of this made it logical for Ms. Pellerin to start her Silicon Valley trip with a meeting at Talend to get a better angle on the market and ecosystem.
I really think that Ms. Pellerin is looking at this the right way. It’s hard to predict the future (although big data can help…) but what we are building together is setting us on the right trajectory to put French software back where it belongs on the global IT industry map.
Probably a coincidence as far as timing goes, French TV news channel LCI just broadcasted a documentary on big data in the Silicon Valley, highlighting… Talend! The episode can be viewed here, the part on Talend runs from 7’10” to 10”10’.
Add to this a recent article in daily newspaper Le Monde: Talend successfully marries big data and open source, and you could say that Talend is on a roll when it comes to big data solutions.