How to land a job at Google, found a start-up and lead social projects is what you will learn from Alizée Breton. An interview about sweat, having a strong vision and being a nice, geeky girl.
Alizée, you work as a Brand Marketing Manager at Google. What do you do?
I work on one of the most interesting projects of Google called the Growth Engine. I manage the online part of digital marketing trainings: Digital Garage and Google for Professionals. Through these free programs Google tries to have a positive impact on the economy, society, culture and education.
It is fascinating. I have always perceived Google as a search engine only.
Well, I also take care of a community of entrepreneurs and founders of various associations and cultural institutions. I organize events for them, I send them workshops and I am their point of contact. Besides, I also coordinate Google’s participation in external events. I love my work because it feels like I am helping people the whole day. It is just perfect. ☺
Is it your first job after university?
Yes, it is. I studied Communications and Marketing and during my studies I did five internships: for two start-ups, an SME, a PR agency and eventually at Google. I got a contract for an indefinite period in Google Ireland but the position was not in marketing so I returned to Google France. I worked as a Product Marketing Manager and since September I have been in my current position. In between I had a four-month break.
It is great that you could take a well-deserved long rest.
I have been inspired by the book The 4-Hour Workweek which suggests a different vision of work and personal life. You don’t have to commute, work and sleep only. You can for example work four hours a week or the whole year and then take several months’ break. During that time I was travelling and taking care of my personal projects.
Speaking of projects, you founded a start-up called MeetHarry&Co. What inspired you to do that?
During my university studies I realized that to start a company I need an engineer and a designer but I did not know any. People want to do business but they do not know other people who would complement them with the desired skills. I won a university contest DigiPrize and pitched my idea at the Start-up Week-end at the ÉcolePolytechnique. Two people out of the eight who helped me develop the idea stayed.
How does MeetHarry&Co work?
It is a website where entrepreneurs seeking a co-founder with complementary skills and people wanting to work for a start-up can register. These two groups then match together based on the skills. We wanted to add education and mentoring but since this was something we always did on the side, we needed to stop because we eventually had no free time.
But you did not stop for long.
You are right. Since my life’s goal is to have a positive social impact and protect the environment, I wanted to further engage myself in something. I now take care of marketing for the association Data for Good which gathers +600 data scientists and developers who consult pro bono NGO’s and public sector by finding use for the big data.
Big data is a buzz word. What does it mean?
For the past several years quantum of data has been gathered by various means. If you know how to analyze the data, you can understand your market and customers better. Today we have all this data but we do not know how to use it. Say, scientists are able to take data of some phenomenon from 1990-2017 and based on an algorithm predict what will happen in 2017-2020. It is called machine learning.
Sounds sophisticated. So is that what you do?
It depends. In one of the projects we assisted we created an algorithm for the Red Cross which could predict where there will be a need for food delivery. In another project we analyzed 80 000 comments and provided the Ministry of Agriculture with a list of restaurants which do not comply with the food hygiene standards.
It sounds unbelievable. I am curious whether you were always fascinated by technology?
Absolutely. When I was 14, I created a blog about videogames and learnt HTML to edit the site. I then became an editor of the website Nintendo Attitude and founded a website similar to Lifehacker. I have learnt almost everything on my own. The internships and personal projects helped me develop my skills.
I find it unique that you connect technology and its social impact.
From childhood I have been telling my parents that I want to change the world and I do not agree with the state of things but they have been telling me that I am an idealist. I think the main difference nowadays is the level of transparency and sophisticated technology. One of the best examples is the platform Change.org which does great work and has a real impact. The ambition of Data for Good is also to have a positive impact.
Do your parents believe you now?
Not yet. My parents come from the “old world”. Today many philosophers, economists and writers have come to a conclusion that we are at the end of one ere. I am convinced that we are entering a new world. If you have an opportunity, watch the film Demain and En Quête de Sens which present feasible solutions for a better world. The film Demain has completely changed my life.
I see it in pretty much the same way.
You see. I know many young people who have great projects and I believe we will make it.
Thank you for the enthusiastic ending, Alizée. Good luck with your endeavors.
Copyright: Alizée Breton