CEOs / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Nick Piggott, Co-Chief Executive Officer at Nutrition Technologies

Nick Piggott is the Co-Chief Executive Officer at Nutrition Technologies, which operates an integrated biotechnology platform to manufacture and supply sustainable insect proteins, oils and frass to help feed the growing aquaculture, agriculture and animal feed industries around the world.

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

Yes, sure. After I left university I worked for an educational travel company taking school groups on month-long personal development programmes, then transitioned into NGO and development roles in London, which led me to a position at the UN in Sierra Leone in West Africa.

While I was there I was exposed to the looming global protein crisis, and saw an opportunity to make a real impact. I moved directly to Vietnam to set-up Nutrition Technologies – a company upcycling organic waste into feed ingredients using insects (Black Soldier Fly larvae).

Then my business partner Tom and I moved the company to Malaysia where we built our first industrial-scale production facility. 

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

Up walking the dogs at 06:15, then breakfast with the BBC global news podcast and Wordle/Quordle, and replying to overnight emails. Then into the office at about 8:15, and usually a project meeting about production or new product development, or a sales meeting.

I share an office with the other directors and we have an open-door policy, so we usually have someone visiting to talk through what’s happening across the site. 

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

Weekdays are generally for work, exercise and the dogs, and on the weekends I try to do something for myself – either playing golf or home-brewing. Beer in Malaysia sucks! 

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

I’ve always been motivated by concrete goals – I registered for and completed a 140km cycling race in June, and have just signed-up for my first triathlon next month. Exercise makes me feel amazing, but I struggle to get motivated if I don’t have something specific to train for.

I’ve also started doing bedtime meditations / sleep hypnosis which has really helped me wind-down at the end of the day and get to sleep at a decent time.

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

Regenesis, by George Monbiot is a book about the broken global food system, and how we can fix it. Devastating read, but highly recommended. 

Grit, by Angela Duckworth is a book about how determination (or Grit) is a better early predictor of success in later life, how you can develop it, how to harness it, and how you can develop it in others. 

How I Built This is a podcast hosted by Guy Raz, where he interviews founders of successful companies and talks through their founder journey. Really motivating to hear how challenging the early years were for these massively successful people, and how they accomplished so much.

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

Probably Angela Duckworth. She is a leading Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, NYTimes bestselling author, cofounder of the CharacterLab, co-host of a podcast with Steven Dubner (of Freakonomics), and still seems to manage to have a full family and personal life!

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

 It’s important to be intentional about W/L balance, rather than just thinking about it abstractly. There are structural ways to think about work-life balance, such as the LifeDesign matrix, which ensures you’re paying attention to each of the 10 key areas of your life.

Or the ‘5-salaries’ approach to work, and making sure that you’re happy with each of the ‘salaries’ you’re currently receiving. See below:

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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.