Meet Bert Vermeire: Q&A with our North American Director of Technology

Bert Vermeire recently joined our Los Angeles office full-time as Director of Technology for North America. His passion for design and desire to build products that center user experience made him a natural fit for this rigorous, creative role. To give him a proper welcome in his new role, we sat down with Bert to get to know the person behind the title, understand what brought him to Edenspiekermann, and learn about his treasure-hunting hobbies!

Bert Vermiere

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Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I had always made websites as a teenager. It was kind of an out-of-control hobby. After my product engineering studies, I didn’t really know what to do and I thought, “I’ve always enjoyed making websites, why don’t I continue with that?”

That’s how I ended up working for ad agencies for a long time, which was great fun because you work on a lot of different types of projects, plus, you learn to work really fast and be very efficient because of the tight deadlines. This was all thirteen, fourteen years ago, so it was the time that Flash reigned supreme. Although it aged badly, at the time it was a tool that opened up a whole new world of interactivity on the web, a period before social media, Google Analytics and result driven marketing. It was a playing field for creativity. Often not very user-friendly, but fun.

As the internet grew out of its teenager years and the industry evolved, websites were transforming more into real, user-focused products. It aligned more with what I wanted to do originally, which was being a product designer and making things that people love to use.

What drew to you to Edenspiekermann?

The holistic view on design. It’s not just “we’re going to do a website,” but you look at people, the process, the business, and you try to factor in all of those elements and create products that are actually aligned with people’s natural behavior, that allow them to represent their business better or do tasks more efficiently.

I think that’s the core thing I like about Edenspiekermann. It’s really thinking things through, taking the time to analyze something, and making products that are well thought of.

What do you do as the North American Director of Technology?

Early in the process, I talk to clients and I analyze the technologies they already have in place. I look at the ideas that are on the table and I try to understand their business processes. I love working together with designers and I avoid ever having to say “that’s not possible.” I prefer to find solutions.

Once the design is ready for production, I take the technology lead on turning the designs into a real product. So, when we’ve designed something, I’m there to make sure that we turn this into a well-working and well-performing experience.

What are your interests outside of work?

I like music and club culture in general. I have a bit of a vinyl and CD collection, a lot of it is late '80s, early '90s club tracks. Recently, a friend and I started a project to digitize old mixtapes from clubs of that period. A lot of clubs would record mixes as they were happening and sell cassette tapes at the end of the night.

I also love thrift stores, vintage furniture, flea markets, all of that. I’m basically a hoarder. My German partner refers to it as “schnickschnack,” a bit of a derogatory term for trinkets. I like having fun little things around the house, like little gadgets or stuff you have a memory of or a story behind. I like objects with a story behind them.

Recently, I found this enormous mirror ball at a flea market. Turns out it’s from an old ‘80s discotheque that closed a couple of years back, after it burned down. That’s the sort of stuff I like; treasure hunting.

What’s your favorite thing about Los Angeles?

The combination of climate, people, and architecture. I really like the fact that it’s so big and it has all these different neighborhoods and all these different neighborhoods all have their own distinct personalities. It’s great that you can go downtown one day, then Santa Monica the next day, then go hiking. It offers so much variety. There are very few cities that offer all that.