Interview with Vlad Savov of The Verge


The Verge is one of our preferred websites for coverage of the leading events in the world of technology. Its fresh design and the quality writing of our collegues won’t render any tech enthusiast indifferent.

Since this interview was taken by the Bulgarian chapter of MobileNews, can you imagine what a plesant surprise it was when we accidentally discovered that one of the key names involved with the media is Bulgarian? The title “Senior Editor” of The Verge belongs to Vladislav Savov – better known as Vlad Savov. He is a Bulgarian who has finished his education and has spent more than half his life living in London, which made us question him what language shall be used for this interview. “My Bulgarian survives, but English will probably be the easiest.” – admits the successful immigrant, but as you will be able to tell, this isn’t a conversation with an Englishman. Introducing Vlad Savov – the Bulgarian trail in The Verge.


Introduce yourself in front of the the cheering masses.

I’m Vlad Savov, I write news, reviews, and polemical editorials for The Verge, a tech news and culture website. Previously, I worked at Engadget.


How did you become an Englishman and end up doing what you are doing now?

Not unlike the vast majority of Bulgarian emigres, my family and I moved to London in the pursuit of better economic prospects. That was over 15 years ago, meaning I’ve now spent more than half my life living here, though I still take grave offence at being called ‘English.’ I wouldn’t wish to be associated with the general culture of the country or its dreary weather.


As to writing about technology, I fell into it by a stroke of luck. My education and qualifications are in the legal sphere, though I wasn’t exactly keen on pursuing such a career since there’s a major difference between debating / thinking about law and actually practising it. The latter is more akin to accountancy with words – a ton of rote, brain-rotting activity.


So, with that obvious avenue holding little appeal, I was looking for something more creative and it just so happened that Engadget were looking for a London-based news writer. It turns out that there are a lot of transferable skills between law and journalism, primarily around the issues of checking your facts, working to a deadline, and structuring complex information lucidly.


The Verge, at least at its outset, was an offshoot from Engadget. A group of senior members of staff wanted to start something new that we could call our own, so we took the leap into the unknown. Being one of the founding editors of the site, I take great pride in hearing our name increasingly talked about at trade shows and events – while it’s also pretty satisfying to meet people and not have to introduce myself!


Are you still connected to Bulgaria in some way?

My home is, and always will be, in Bulgaria. Whether I’m there is another matter, but my family and entire heritage are both rooted in my rodina. I keep in contact with family and a few industry colleagues from Bulgaria. To be honest, though, I’m completely out of touch with what’s happening in the country.


The Verge

How is working for The Verge. Are you always on the verge of something?

The best thing about this job is its variety. Well, maybe it’s the second best thing after not having to go into an office every day. Technology is increasingly touching on every aspect of society and culture and our daily coverage is growing accordingly. Recently, I’ve been able to write about net neutrality in the Netherlands, the CEO of HTC carrying the Olympic torch in London, and the 20th anniversary of Wolfenstein 3D – and that was just Wednesday!


When you’re not seeing my name on the front page, I’m usually editing junior writers into shape or writing a longer piece about something I find exciting or frustrating.


Tell us an entertaining story from your life involving Londoners or technology events…

I don’t know about entertaining, but here’s an attempt to combine the two by talking about London press events. Nowadays, I know exactly how much of a pain an event will be by reference to its venue – if it’s a hotel or some similar building in the city center, all will be fine. If it’s a big exhibition hall like Earls Court, where Samsung held the Galaxy S III launch, or the ExCel Center, site of Nokia World 2011, then I’m pretty much assured I won’t be able to connect to the internet.


Those cavernous halls kill mobile reception, while the press Wi-Fi network is useful right up until the point the presentation starts, which is when the deluge of live updates and pictures inevitably brings it down. That’s the most frustrating experience in the world: sitting and watching news develop right in front of your eyes and being powerless to actually convey it to your readers. Companies are starting to wise up, though, and HTC has been providing wired connections at its press events ever since I complained about the wireless connectivity it was offering (I choose to believe there’s causation, not mere correlation between the two).


If you had to take one single piece of technology on a lonely island, what would that be?

Would I have a connection to the internet on that island? How about a power supply? Actually, it doesn’t matter. I’d take my MacBook Air. I don’t think many people recognise how far ahead of its time the 2010 Air model was (and remains): it’s one of the most rugged laptops while also being among the thinnest and having especially long battery life. Additionally, I’ve grown highly dependant on the Alfred app for Mac, and this laptop runs the necessary operating system to keep me and Alfred together.


What’s in the future for you and The Verge?

I think you’ll find clues to the answer to that question all over our site. We’re only 6 months old, so a lot of really cool ideas haven’t been fully brought to fruition, but check out the work of our video production team, look at the things we do with On The Verge, and you’ll see where we’re heading. I like to joke that in a few months’ time, The Verge will be just an adjunct to the Verge video team’s work – those guys are really setting a new standard in terms of production quality in our industry.


Aside from that, I really love the way our forum members are contributing long, thoughtful pieces (which we often feature on our front page). I’ve never seen that kind of participation before, and I love the idea of being a member of a vibrant, interactive community, rather than just a mouthpiece. I hope to see that grow, with the link between the writers and fans growing stronger.


Vlad Savov is on The Verge and can be reached by Facebook, Twitter and Google+.