Promouvoir le breton là où on ne l’attend pas

Avez-vous déjà entendu parler de la brasserie D’Istribilh? Si non, cette vidéo de 2 minutes dix vous donnera une idée de ce dont il s’agit:

Gwenole recherche du capital afin de développer sa brasserie. Il s’est donc tourné vers un site de crowdfunding afin de réaliser sa production. Et du capital, il va en bénéficier, puisque, parti sur un objectif de 9 500€, la collecte de fonds en est déjà à 22 378€ (en date le 28 août 2015)! Un succès phénoménal!

Des microbrasseries, il en existe beaucoup dans le monde entier et ce phénomène accélère sa progression d’années en années. Cherchez le terme “brasserie” sur le même site de crowdfunding et vous verrez que D’Istribilh est une exception… mais uniquement de par sa réussite financière. Comparons la avec une autre brasserie bretonne “Bleizi du” (une bière biologique de Morlaix): cette dernière n’a reçu que 1 795€ sur 7 500€ espérés.

Alors d’où viennent ces différences? Pour moi, le succès de cette campagne de levée de fonds est dû à deux raisons principales: le professionnalisme de la vidéo et l’usage du breton en voix-off.

Une vidéo professionnelle

Cette vidéo est très professionnelle: le montage, la musique, les arrangements donnent l’impression d’avoir à faire, non pas certes à une publicité de grande brasserie, mais à quelqu’un de passionné, attentif aux détails et qui est prêt à faire des efforts considérables pour réussir son entreprise. Même l’humour, dont la vidéo est truffée, et les références, telle que celle à la série Boardwalk Empire lui confèrent un cachet indéniable.

L’usage du breton

La vidéo a été réalisée en breton, avec des sous-titres en français et c’est là, pour moi la principale raison du succès de cette campagne de financement. En utilisant le breton comme langue exclusive dans cette publicité, D’Istribilh a pris un risque: le nombre de locuteurs de cette langue s’élève actuellement à 210 000 personnes et lire des sous-titre en français est un effort supplémentaire à faire pour un donneur potentiel. Mais le principe de cette vidéo a merveilleusement bien fonctionné. Pourquoi donc? Car l’idée même d’une microbrasserie est de fabriquer de la bière artisanale, non-industrielle, faite par des gens “du coin”. Une publicité en breton est faite par des gens qui viennent d’une zone géographique limitée et qui sont, en général, liés au terroir et à la préservation de l’environnement, qu’il soit culturel ou écologique. Il est très difficile de savoir combien de 56 000 personnes qui ont déjà visionné la vidéo parlent le breton. Mon estimation est que ce chiffre doit être relativement bas. Mais l’intérêt commercial de l’action n’est pas là: en utilisant le breton dans le voix off, D’Istribilh a instantanément connecté sa marque à des caractéristiques positives: un produit du terroir, produit par des gens proches, ce qui accroît leur engagement à produire de la qualité.

Tous ces ingrédients ont permis à D’Istribilh de créer un lien avec les visionneurs de la vidéo; un lien indispensable pour la réussite d’une action de crowdfunding: la confiance. Cette confiance que les gens ont perçu les a poussé à donner de l’argent à cette brasserie afin qu’elle puisse fabriquer sa bière artisanale.

Un exemple pour toutes les entreprises bretonnes?

Ce succès me semble être extrêmement intéressant pour d’autres beaucoup d’entreprises, mais probablement pas pour toutes. Vendre des services de gestion d’impression à des entreprises, par exemple, ne suscitera pas les questions de zone géographique de production limitée, de service rendu par des gens proches et qui permette une traçabilité des produits. Cependant, les producteurs et entreprises de l’agro-alimentaire breton auraient tout à gagner à utiliser le breton dans leurs publicités, afin de renforcer le caractère “authentique” de leurs marques. Mais gare à ne pas tirer sur la corde: les grands industriels, par exemple, devraient se concentrer sur les autres bénéfices qu’ils apportent et dont l’authenticité et le terroir ne sont probablement pas les plus importantes.

Le breton sauvé grâce à la comm’?

Les activistes de la langue bretonne, tels que ceux d’Ai’ta pour lesquels j’ai énormément de respect, tentent souvent de convaincre des acteurs publics de l’importance d’utiliser le breton à parité avec le français (dernièrement en date à la SNCF). Peut-être faudrait il élargir le champ d’action et inciter les entreprises à communiquer en breton. Lorsqu’elles y voient un avantage, les entreprises se montrent beaucoup plus souples et moins dogmatiques que l’Etat français et ses entreprises “de service public”. Les convaincre que la communication en breton renforcerait leur marque pourrait avoir deux avantages: accroître sa visibilité et enclencher un cercle vertueux afin que les locuteurs puissent vivre en travaillant avec leur langue, par exemple dans des agences de communication bretonnantes.

Migration to my own email server

After the revelation of the mass surveillance programs used by government agencies from various countries and given the unhealthy amount of information that I provided to Google, using services such as Gmail, Google Maps, etc, I decided already in mid-2013 to take my privacy back.

I already had setup my own calendar (calDAV) and contact list (cardDAV) using Baikal on my own server and Davdroid. However, in the past couple of weeks, I finally completed the last point I still wanted to implement: migrate away from Gmail to run my own email server. I followed this excellent setup guide to setup Postfix, Dovecot & Co and am now reachable at herve at hmarcy.com. I moved all my Gmail emails with Thunderbird by copying the IMAP files and everything works just fine. I did not receive any spam so far. If you have a little bit of experience with Linux system administration, I strongly advise you to give it a shot, because the tutorial is really easy.

If you feel comfortable using Gmail or other free email services based in the US, maybe this video will help change your mind.

This is also of course valid for non-US citizens/residents, as the US government shares a lot of information with foreign government agencies. The Electronic Frontier Foundation also published pretty much everything you need to know about the scale of the NSA spying activities at https://www.eff.org/nsa-spying

Do you want to make the content of your emails safe and (fairly) unreadable by a third party, be it Google or anyone else? Encrypt them conveniently with GPG, Thunderbird & Enigmail. The Enigmail quick start guide will help you to do so!

The state should not dictate cybersecurity policies to businesses

I read the Handelsblatt this morning and its headlines were all about IT security and what an immense threat such attacks represent for both corporations and government agencies. While I agree with the diagnosis of the situation -IT security is indeed critical- the response from the German government seems to me completely absurd.

Thomas de Maizières (CDU – Christian Democrat), the German minister of interior declared that Germany should take a leadership role in Europe to fight cybercrime and develop a comprehensive regulatory framework. This would make it compulsory for businesses to update and maintain their security infrastructure through an “IT security law”.

One should, however clearly differentiate whether the state wants to protect itself or German businesses. The former is a legitimate and perfectly acceptable mission, the latter can only lead to an increase of bureaucratic burden and costs and will most certainly not bring the expected benefits.

Thomas de Meizières announced an investment plan of 300€ millions in the cybersecurity infrastructure of the German secret service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND). This measure seems to make sense for three reasons. First, more and more people have an access to the Internet (which increases the pool of potential attackers, professional or not). Second, the increased sophistication of attacks makes it urgent to make sure that the intelligence agency is well protected. Finally, it is no secret that state agencies from various countries stand behind large scale attacks in order to gain access to technology or information.

The German government, however, also wants to help protect businesses through a law creating mandatory guidelines aiming at improving the information security, and hence the competitiveness of German companies.

I believe that this approach is completely ill-suited and will fail. Why? Because it is a company’s duty to protect its confidential information and there are probably as many ways to protect information as there are companies. One of the IT departments of a very large French bank, provides a key component of their security infrastructure. As one would expect from a financial services institution, they tend to be quite conservative, not applying the last updates to their systems. They simply favor stability over new features. A couple of months ago, Heartbleed, a security bug in an encryption system called OpenSSL was disclosed. This failure allowed an attacker to decipher any message presumably safe and hence get access to confidential information. This Heartbleed bug was only applicable to the OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 and above. The bank, however, ran an earlier version of OpenSSL that was still supported, which means that they were safe against this attack. With such an IT security law, the government would have had the authority to force a German bank in a similar case to use a pre-defined software versions. What would have happened if the state, for one reason or another, would have forced the bank to apply non-security related updates to the software, although they did not need it? It could lead to a situation where the bank is forced to update its software against its will and its interest, for a more than dubious advantage.

Moreover, the law would apply to all companies running an IT infrastructure, and it is almost impossible to create a baseline for companies that differ to such great extent. The electrical toothbrush company should have a similar security policy as Airbus, that builds fighter jets?

Finally, who will enforce the law? Will state agencies have to audit every company in Germany to make sure that security updates are applied? Where will they find the security experts for not only Linux, Windows, but also antiquated operating systems, such as OpenVMS (which runs some of the critical operations of many companies)? You can count people who understand this type of software (supported by their vendors) one two hands in Europe. Maximum. This law will lead either to a bad compromise, based on the lowest common denominator that will change nothing, and to a bureaucratic burden for companies that will reduce the competitiveness of Germany companies. Literally the opposite of what the government intended.

So what should the government do? US president Obama, according to the Handelsblatt, declared that “the government cannot do everything, because most of the IT infrastructure lies in the hand of the private sector. But the private sector alone can also not deal with everything, because the government very often has the most current in formation about threats.”. In my opinion, if the government is in possession of this type of information, it should release it as soon as possible to all. It is the responsibility of the government to protect itself against attacks, it is also a proof of being a good world citizen to alert as many people as possible of a possible security bug. This of course benefits businesses, who can protect themselves. Openness is the key and collaboration with IT providers and companies will help the latter become more aware about security threats that might endanger their competitiveness. Whether they do something about it or not is their prerogative and should be implemented according to their priorities.

Not state coercion, but full openness and collaboration between the state, IT providers and businesses will make Germany a leader in cybersecurity.

One year in Lausanne

As I mentioned a year ago, I was accepted at IMD (International Institute for Management Development) to participate to the one-year MBA program. I graduated in December 2014 and am looking back at very intense year, filled with work, challenges and friendships.

I moved to Lausanne from Munich at the beginning of January 2014, left a “regular” life and made a significant financial commitment to take on a challenge that would reveal itself the best decision I ever made in my life.

The program itself was extremely intense, and that is what made it so interesting. The first six months were absolutely horrific in terms of workload, but the classes were so interesting that it was not at the expense of the learning experience. The fact that we were a tight-knit group of only 90 people really helped bonding with everybody. I definitely enjoyed the wide variety of classes, such as operations, finance or entrepreneurship. My natural curiosity was constantly satisfied with case studies and learning experiences that made me discover the wide range of business challenges beyond the IT world with which I was familiar given my background.

After the first six months during which we were prepared to have a better understanding of the business, we had the chance to make a discovery trip to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, where we met business and government leaders. We learned from people of Singapore’s economic development board, the private equity practice of Bain, and many others. We then participated to a so-called “International Consulting Project”, during which we worked as a team of five students for 2 months to help a global company define its Big Data strategy. The topic, the team I worked with and the interaction with senior executives of the company made the project absolutely thrilling!DSC_2541

Beyond the “regular” learning, one of the strongest points of the IMD MBA is the leadership component. During this year, I had multiple opportunities to learn about myself and, most importantly, receive feedback about the perception that others had of me. This helped me increase my self-awareness and will definitely have an impact in business situations.

Finally, this IMD MBA would be nothing without the friendship I built with my 89 classmates. Through all the work, the sports and the fun, I can really say that I have 89 friends around the world. The bonds that form between us are simply incredible and I’ll keep them with me all my life. They made my MBA experience what is really was and I’ll be forever grateful to them for that.

During the graduation ceremony, Mark Cornell, a 1999 MBA alumni congratulated us for receiving “the finest MBA in the world”. It certainly was the best decision in my life so far and I look forward to applying what I learned in my future positions… and see my friends again.