Digital Proust Questionnaire #7: Anja Cappelle

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.

Managing director of The Reference, Anja Cappelle has always been an innovator, from her early days working on Belgium’s first webzine to the dream app that turns feelings into poems she’d love to create. Her inspirations include impressive women like Great Britain’s Queen Victoria, Borgen’s Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg, and the stubborn fictional young lady Anne of Green Gables. Also: if she could step back a few years, she’d have loved to be in Tim Berners-Lee’s inner circle as the Internet was being created…


1. What is your idea of happiness?

Inner peace.

2. What is your greatest fear?

The greatest fear is fear itself.

Of all three nazi-killing, not-looking-right-at-the-camera, sitting-like-a-boss dudes on this picture, only one of them said ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself’. Hint: he doesn’t love hats.

3. Which historical figure do you most admire?

Queen Victoria, the great British monarch.

4. Which living person do you most admire?

Noam Chomsky, the American linguist and philosopher.

This guys is oddly popular with managing directors. Y’know, for a libertarian socialist & sympathizer of anarcho-syndicalism, that’s a bit surprising…

5. Who is your favourite writer?

American poet Sylvia Plath, early modernist Virginia Woolf, Dutch writer Harry Mulisch, Dave Eggers, Graham Greene, and Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

6. Who is your favourite fictional character?

Anne of Green Gables and Birgitte Nyborg (from the Danish drama Borgen).

Birgitte Nyborg is the one with the glasses. On the left, dummies! No, she doesn’t have a beard! Are you for real?! No more questions, thank you and good day!

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

What’s not to like?

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

Again, what’s not to like?

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

There are so many people who inspired me in one way or another, but all of that would have been in vain if my mother hadn’t repeatedly told me to “never give up!”.

Anja’s mum is apparently a big Sia fan.

10. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I’m quite pleased with some of my achievements, but I’d like to believe that the best is yet to come.

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

The Reference (instead of joining in the early days).

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

I would have loved to be in the inner circle of Internet inventor Tim Berners-Lee in the early nineties.

Not this Lee-guy, but a badass nonetheless.

13. What is your favourite digital app/ tool?


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

The “Feeling2Poem” app.

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


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

A seamless blend of IQ and EQ.

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

Intellectual dishonesty.

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

My partner’s dog: what a life! 😉

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

Though one can’t possess a person, I treasure my kids beyond words.

20. What is your motto?

Things evolve, that’s tradition.

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