Advances in audio technology have been increasingly rapid in recent years and French start-up Devialet is to the fore with its range of deluxe high-end speakers and ancillaries. Julien Bergère, Asia-Pacific managing director, outlines the current state of the industry.
What trends have you seen shaping the high-end audio sector over the last few years?
Music storage and streaming capabilities are now finally reaching a stage where most of us will be able to access the music we love in high resolution – sound quality that is better than CD, closest to what audio engineers were crafting in the studio.
What effects are these trends having on careers in the sector in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong, despite its high operating costs, notably in terms of rental, is a great place to bring an idea to life and it allows you to test in one of the most attractive markets in the world. The tech sector is very dynamic here and it is exciting to see Hong Kong backing creativity.
What are the current recruitment challenges for firms like Devialet when looking for talent?
We are constantly looking for talented people who are eager to develop themselves and passionate about innovations. People who are ready to positively challenge accepted beliefs about audio.
One of our key challenges has been to explain who we are, and share our goal to revolutionise the experience people get from listening to music. The best way to do this is through demonstrations of our products.
Has Devialet made any changes to its recruitment strategy recently?
We haven’t, but it has in the past few years been increasingly easy to attract top talent for every position, as the company has enjoyed higher brand awareness.
What separates a great professional in your field from just a good one?
Being passionate about what you do, and not hesitating to challenge the status quo to find better ways of achieving your goals.
Can you outline the path your career took to get to your current role? Is this a typical one?
I designed my first speakers at the age of 13. I then studied electronic engineering and, after a 15-year career in audio technology on the R&D side, Devialet gave me the opportunity to move from product creation to sales and, subsequently, business management.
This is not so uncommon in start-ups, but such a step would probably have been very difficult to make in a larger corporation.
Are there any formal qualifications you would recommend for people looking to work in your industry?
For retail, which is where we will be hiring the most in Hong Kong and APAC this year, qualifications in business management would be best. But it is not all about formal qualifications. Actually, it is mostly about personality: sharing the vision and having your own personal goals aligned with the company’s.
What is the hardest part of your job? And the most rewarding?
The hardest part of the job is probably to get our business partners to understand the full potential of Devialet as a luxury retail brand. It takes us a considerable amount of effort to convince landlords to grant us the best retail locations.
The most rewarding part is seeing people smile when they get a demo of our products; some actually get visible chills when they listen using them.
Is a good work-life balance possible in your line of work? Do you have any tips on how to achieve this?
My wife is wonderful and has been extremely supportive of my work, even as she runs her own business here in Hong Kong. We have two little boys and try not to be away from town at the same time so one parent is always around.
We also keep special moments for the whole family to be together, with a holiday back in France or across Asia every quarter.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Audible rush.