Balancing the Grind with Peter Horsten, Chief Growth Officer at AgUnity

Peter Horsten is the Chief Growth Officer at AgUnity, a global technology platform that empowers the thousands of organizations working to address UN SDGs.

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

My whole life I have been amazed by (the possibilities of) technology and inspired by people. Having studied both Electronics and Sociology, I have been working in different sales, consulting, and managerial roles for the Dutch telecom operator KPN and an independent business and technology consulting agency in the Netherlands. My main focus is and has always been how people can profit from technology.

In 2006 I felt it was high time to try something by myself. Which resulted in the launch of Goyello, a Poland based Agile software development agency, founded together with a former colleague. After 12 years of successful growth, we got acquired, after which I left the company in 2020, just when COVID had started. 

During the following years, I have been supporting a few management teams with (re)defining their growth strategies. Besides, I work as a (life)coach and in this role, I am supporting a few entrepreneurs. 

AgUnity approached me in October 2021 to share our visions on how technology can empower the smallholder farmers across the globe. Our minds seem to match perfectly. Therefore, I decided to join the team and in February 2022 I became AgUnity’s Chief Growth Officer, looking for new opportunities to scale our solution and to support an increasing number of farmers.

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

To be honest my days are rather dynamic. I am based in Poland and some days I start with early morning calls with my colleagues around the globe. 

Other days I first jump into the swimming pool, because triathlons are one of my hobbies. Twice a week I go to the gym as well for a session with a personal trainer. 

During my afternoons, I can mostly focus on preparing proposals, new ideas, our growth strategy, etc. Contacts with our partners in Africa, I generally schedule in the afternoon as well.

When a week involves travelling to our clients, partners or events, the days look completely different. 

  • For example last Tuesday:
  • 5:30 alarm clock
  • 6:00 – 7:00 am Steering Committee meeting, our weekly management catchup discussing how things are going within AgUnity
  • 7:00 – 7:30 am Call with our marketing & communication leader to discuss campaigns, etc
  • 7:30 – 8:00 am weekly alignment call with one of our business development managers to discuss opportunities
  • 8:00 – 9:00 am weekly meeting with the Business Development Team to discuss ongoing opportunities and to celebrate successes
  • 9:00 – 9:30 am Breakfast
  • 10:00 – 11:00 am Gym with personal trainer
  • 11:30 – 3:00 pm Getting things done
  • 3:00 – 4:00 pm Introduction call with potential business partner for Kenya
  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm E-mail handling and preparation for next day’s meetings

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

This is so hard to answer, as sometimes it is not so clear what is work and what is life. When work is fun, I do not care that it takes a bit longer. So, for me it is more about having the freedom to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.

For me it is important to feel fit, which means I need to train sufficiently, and in addition to that I want to have enough quality time with my family. Therefore, I have reserved quite some fixed training moments and during the weekends I will plan longer bike rides and runs, often with one or more family members.

And sometimes I just need some time for myself. This can be watching sport events on TV, browsing the Internet for nice stuff to read, or trying a new technology. In addition, I love taking/editing sports pictures, which is another hobby that gives me this inner peace with a lot of reward in the end.

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

To be honest, I continuously try new things, but rather often I end up rather quickly with doing the things in the old way again. Despite the fact that this might not be the most efficient way, it is probably my best way, but anyway I keep exploring new habits. 

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

I love reading fantasy books, like The Lord of the Rings and The Witcher. My favourite podcasts are Formula One related, Dutch podcasts and Triathlon podcasts. 

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

Barack Obama.

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

Many people seem to feel they have to prove something. Most often this means that they feel some kind of an obligation towards another family member, often a parent, based on events in the past. Too often this causes people to end up in the so-called rat race.

We should try to listen more to our inner self, our intuition, and do what we like. Better to not do what you think others want you to do. This will most likely bring happiness and balance will follow easily.

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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.