CEOs / Founders / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Aaron Hilton, CEO & Founder at PowerPlay

Aaron Hilton is the CEO & Founder at PowerPlay, the world’s first Web3-led energy retailer that shares the benefits of cheap renewable energy with consumers that cannot get solar panels.

Learn about the daily routines from the most successful people in the world by signing up to our newsletter

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I have worked in the renewable energy industry for the last 11 years, specifically in solar. It has been a ride of ups and downs often referred to as the ‘solar coaster’ but the industry has matured a great deal in that time. 

Working in the sector has allowed me to meet lots of great people – both customers and business colleagues. During this time I have learned a lot about the energy sector, innovation and leadership. 

My current role is as the founder and CEO of PowerPlay, which aims to increase Australians’ use of renewable energy and reward them for it. PowerPlay is the world’s first Web3-led energy retailer that shares the benefits of cheap renewable energy with consumers that cannot get solar panels.

Our mission is to help people who are unable to install solar – such as most renters and people in apartments – to gain access to cheaper energy costs by using the renewable energy already in the grid each day. 

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Most days I will head into the office in my Tesla, which is charged with energy from my solar system. I enjoy the concept of zipping around with energy fresh from the gigantic fusion reaction of the sun in my batteries instead of dead dinosaurs (fossil fuels). 

Sometimes I’ll drop my two boys off at daycare and school, then I’ll head to our office in Brisbane city to work alongside the team. My day is a mix of things, whether it’s working with my CTO, Drew, to develop our app, plan our gamification, our upcoming NFT release or figuring out how we can best integrate energy concepts with blockchain technology. 

With my COO Damian, we work on innovative approaches in energy retailing including our Web3 demand management incentive model and the tokenomics that goes with it. Tokenomics is a new social science that involves the planning of cryptocurrency economics with the view to growing the token’s value while beneficially improving the underlying cash-based traditional business model. It’s an extremely interesting frontier and I believe time will prove it to be a powerful technology for positive change. 

I’ll also be working with Phoenix, my CMO, in communicating our innovative Web3 energy use model to a market that is traditionally very disengaged from the energy retail customer experience.

This is all taking place between talking to potential and current investors, building partnerships, and keeping up to date with the energy and blockchain sector news while also planning and implementing our go-to-market strategy.

3) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

Balance is the right word. For me, flexibility is the best approach. For example, if work is at a critical juncture then it gets my focus, but then when I’m home, my focus is always on being present with my family. 

I try to make some of my daily routines into quality time – when I’m cleaning up or doing some gardening, I’ll engage the kids to help a bit or play around. It’s definitely going to take longer with kids involved, but you can have a bit of fun doing it. 

It also helps to have a bit of fun at work. A joke or a laugh can make work less emotionally draining, meaning your tank is still full when you get home. Doing your job as best you can is also rewarding, and when your work is your passion that helps a lot too. 

Elon Musk, Kobe Bryant, Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles, receive a new daily routine each week about some of the most successful people in the world.

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

Like many of us, I got into the habit of drinking a little bit too much through covid. To cut out that habit, I did one month with no drinking, which was a great reset and I found it wasn’t as difficult after the first week. 

I now drink more herbal tea in the evening which can be just as relaxing after a stressful day at work as a glass of wine. Cutting back has made a big difference to my energy levels, my health and my general sense of well-being.

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson is a good read. He blends a bit of fun with gutsy and disruptive business really well. The common thread of his success is finding niches where he can make things better for the stakeholders.

His record label gave the musicians recording studios that were more conducive to the art while offering consumers a lower price. His airlines disrupted monopolies by making air travel more accessible to more people. 

He has done all this with a kind of tongue-in-cheek humour and irreverence that has endeared him to many. To me, his example demonstrates that building a business that helps a lot of people is the pathway to a well-rounded definition of success.

I read a lot about energy locally, which I also supplement with listening to the Redefining Energy podcast which focuses on global energy trends. The global perspective really helps me see the bigger picture. 

I also really like The Coin Bureau on YouTube, which is a macro view of the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. It has lots of high-level information as well as deep dives into certain projects.

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Perhaps a little off-topic, but I find it interesting to read the diaries of explorers or soldiers who were called away from home. The ultimate lesson from these stories is a reminder to truly value the day-to-day things that you can easily take for granted. 

7) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Don’t be too hard on yourself, nobody is perfect. 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, they are often the best lessons. 

If you really don’t like your job then find another one, because being in a job you take no satisfaction from can really drag you down after a while.

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.