Digital Proust Questionnaire #4: Thierry Willer

Author: Thomas Halter

Emakina Group has rapidly grown in recent years, in part thanks to our managing directors leading the way. But who are these MDs, besides leaders in digital, creative and business growth? Let’s sneak a peak inside their heads with this new series: Emakina’s Digital Proust questionnaires!

The Proust Questionnaire has its origins in a parlour game popularised (though not devised) by Marcel Proust. The French essayist and novelist believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature. This is an adapted basic Proust Questionnaire for the digital age.

Thierry Willer, managing director of Emakina.CH, has been heading the Swiss agency for over a year, having previously held various positions in the group since 2008. He’s inspired by things that help transform our world and loves being out there in the wild – but don’t let his next EasyJet flight take him to London’s Trafalgar Square: he holds a strong grudge against pigeons!


1. What is your idea of happiness?

Be out there – in the wild – with my kids and breathe…

2. What is your greatest fear?

To get locked in a pigeon loft – I hate pigeons!

3. Which historical figure do you most admire?

Manneken-Pis – the famous urinating bronze figure of Brussels – for his typical indifference and his casualness towards the matters of our world.

Little Julien is not impressed by your worldly problems.

4. Which living person do you most admire?

No specific people but a lot of respect and humbleness towards people working actively to make a better world – it can go from Elon Musk to a permaculture farmer…

5. Who is your favourite writer?

Haruki Murakami

6. Who is your favourite fictional character?

The Steven Spielberg/Melissa Mathison creation, E.T.

Get it? GET IT?

7. What part of the digital media industry makes you happy?

I still have the feeling that I’m contributing to transform our world – if not the world 😉 at my little scale the projects for our clients that have a positive impact for its audience/users.

8. What part of the digital media industry makes you unhappy?

As long as I wake up every morning thinking that I’m doing the right thing, I would say none! All the constraints and frustrations that we are facing are part of the everyday life – nothing is perfect.

9. Who/what inspired you most in your career?

My first Commodore 64 – I didn’t know exactly what was the full potential of it but I was convinced that it was the future.

Pictured: the future.

10. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

No specific highlights. In a nutshell: I work hard – and play hard.

11. What tech company do you wish you had started?

Emakina 😉

12. What digital project would you have most loved to be a part of?

In the early days of the internet, i was frustrated by the lack of content. I wanted to develop websites for every company. I’m doing it right now.

13. What is your favourite digital app/ tool?

My easyJet app – not sure that it is my favourite but I use it a lot!

14. What digital app/tool that does not exist would you would like to create?

Should I really tell you my next million dollar idea?

YES! You absolutely should!

15. What is the trait you are most proud of in yourself?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any talents, so I’m a hard worker to compensate.

16. What is the trait you most admire in others?

Passionate people! They give the best of themselves.

17. What is the trait you most dislike in others?

The lack of emotional intelligence.

18. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Aren’t we suppose to end up in ashes? I never found the answer…

19. What is your most treasured possession, and why?

A beautiful tree that I have planted in my garden – hopefully it will last for generations.

20. What is your motto?

This Japanese proverb: ‘Fall down seven times – get up eight.’

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