Philippe Ernzer: “Put the effort in and prove them wrong!”

Philippe Ernzer (@ernphofficial ) is the founder of Météo Boulaide, Luxembourg’s biggest private weather platform. The 20 year old has a weekly reach of over 100‘000 people and is one of Luxembourg’s most followed people on the internet. Read about his story and his ambitions for the future in our interview!

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How are you Philippe? Tell us more about yourself!

My name is Philippe Ernzer, I am 20 years old and I‘m the founder of Météo Boulaide which is the biggest private weather platform in Luxembourg. On the website, you can find general information about the weather, but it is more than that: Météo Boulaide is focusing on accurate and real-time information, which is extremely important during dangerous weather conditions.

In case there are storms, the followers are instantly informed about any changes in the weather. During summer, people can therefore anticipate the danger of a storm and secure their furnishings or themselves. This service is not available from a governmental point of view.

Of course, you can find daily weather forecasts on the website and on my facebook pages. A unique procedure that I developed myself makes the forecasts for Luxembourg more precise than the applications you find on your phones.

Moreover, besides the forecasts, I publish articles related to the latest weather news on the website.

 

Let‘s get a bit personal. Tell us about your background.

I am Luxembourgish and live with my mother, my two younger sisters and my two cats in Boulaide. That‘s why the platform is called Météo Boulaide. I‘m in a 1TPIF class which has IT as the main topic.  Once I‘ve graduated, I want to take on a job in media or develop myself and my platform into the media landscape. Who knows, if my work pays off, I can turn independent.

 

How did you start Météo Boulaide?

It all started when I was 9 or 10 years old. I‘ve been interested in astronomy (which I still am, but not as much as I used to). When I saw a documentary on Discovery Channel called “Storm Chasers”, I honestly fell in love with what was shown. It is a series where scientists use special forecasting devices in order to reduce the danger for the public which can be caused by eventual storms. That was when I found out that there was no such service in Luxembourg. Around 10 years old, I had the idea to do my own forecasts. At first, I sent these forecasts to my family and friends via e-mail. Back then, it was just a fun thing to do for me. The content of these emails was the weather forecast for the days to come.

 

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In December 2009, my parents bought me my first weather station. It was a starter model, but I got the main functions and the weather analysis data on it, for example wind speed, humidity, temperature etc. A year later, in December 2010, I discovered Facebook and founded Météo Boulaide in form of a Facebook page. At first, my audience has been my family and friends, but after a certain time there were strangers that started to take a look into my work, and reached 1000 followers. It was absolutely mind-blowing how many people were looking at my forecasts. At the end of 2013, I had around 2000 followers.

In 2014, my life changed completely. I‘ve just turned 16 (born on June 20 1998). I don‘t really know how I did it, but somehow I was able to forecast a dangerous storm before it even existed. The first update has been released around 11 AM. You could see an area that stretched from the south of France to Luxembourg all the way to Nordrhein-Westfalen in Germany. Luckily, the storm developed perfectly and according to my predictions. The storm caused a lot of damage because of it‘s strength (131 km/h), the heaviest impact could be seen at the Foire Agricole in Ettelbruck. On this day, multiple people were injured due to the storm, but fortunately without major consequences.

I was capable to inform the people around 6 hours earlier than the governmental weather forecasting service (MeteoLux), who only released a danger warning moments before the storm started to take on our country. As I was the only one who documented and warned on multiple occasions about the upcoming storm, MeteoLux and the media were exposed to a shitstorm.

The day after this event, I couldn’t hide from all the interviewing questions from radio stations, the press and television. I was omnipresent in national media, and Météo Boulaide was ready for takeoff.

 

I have to say that I‘ve also been exposed to a shitstorm after I predicted another storm to hit the country in Summer 2015. All the requirements were fulfilled, but the storm itself just passed right next to our country.

Instead of being grateful that no major incident occurred, people started to send me angry messages; question my abilities and even made fun of me on the radio. Nevertheless, my follower count raised by around 5000 people during these hours. The hate was quite unnecessary if you take a look at the bigger picture: hail with a diameter of 7 cm and wind speeds of around 120 km/h would‘ve caused major damage.

My platform grew with time, and today, I count around 45000 followers. By now, I also created a personal Facebook page due to friend request restrictions.  This page has over 21000 followers. During a week, my reach is at about 100000 people on the entirety of the platform – in case of a storm or other weather warnings even higher.

Since 2009, I work a lot to make the most out of my passion. When I entered high school, both students and teachers picked on me and tried to play down the efforts I made. This is still the case today, but I realized that the students became more respectful. Just believing in a dream doesn‘t make it happen! You have to put in maximum effort every day!

The most important thing is to not let the hate get to your head and demotivate you. Take it and use it to motivate yourself – show everyone what you are capable of and prove them wrong!

 

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What are your recent projects?

My project right now is to expand my weather station and to create a better workspace in which I can work more efficiently and collect data in a more precise way. Another project that never stopped since I started Météo Boulaide is to improve the service for the people. I am strategizing about how to increase my presence by joining other social networks (Instagram and Twitter, f. ex.).

Since February, I have my own radio show on Radio 100,7 called “Reen a Bou – Op Schratt an Tratt mam Wieder” in which I share interesting stories around the weather and explain the weather in a playful way.

Also, I cooperate with a whole bunch of companies that support me in my daily work.

What does the future hold for you? What are your plans?

I can‘t imagine my future without weather reports. I said to myself: In life, I want to focus on the things that make me happy. We only live once and there is no need to do something that you don‘t like at all. That‘s why I continue to do my best and hope to work in media later on. As I said before, with a bit of luck, I will be able to transform my passion into my job!