Swiss Ocean Tech





Meet Nilo – Our Zen Master and Sounding Board


What attracted you to Swiss Ocean Tech?

It all happened pretty much organically.  Being part of Thomas Frizlen’s family, I just seamlessly became the company’s sounding board and “Zen Master”.  By the way, those descriptions were not my idea, but I think they suit me.  I am the kind of dog who likes harmony, peace and lots of loving (and LOTS of food) and I strive to enforce that atmosphere wherever I am. 

When did you first begin sailing?

My family took me with them at a very early age.  They are sailing the Swedish archipelago every year and expected me to get accustomed to it as soon as possible.  As long as I am with them, I am happy.  But I must admit, the fresh northern air, the cool water, the heated island rocks and the multiple daily swims, I could live on a boat if it weren’t for my bad joints.  It does become rather difficult for me when we are tilted and coursing through the water with the sails up.  Then I slide back and forth in the den below.  Someone from the family is always with me to help me if I have a problem.  And getting ashore in Sweden can be a bit of a balancing act but we have always managed.

If I understood it correctly, you have had quite a few visits to the doctor’s office. Care to talk about it?

That is true.  My family calls me a “Montagsmodell” which isn’t very flattering.  I believe the English translation is somewhere along the lines of…a lemon.  Sort of like, I break down a lot.  When I was 4 months old, I was diagnosed with elbow dysplasia which was terribly painful.  I had my first operation two months later and I wasn’t ever able to run after a ball again.  Luckily for me, we live along a large river and my family loves to swim.  We would go swimming almost every day in the summer and that helped build up my muscles even if I couldn’t run. 

Between 1 and 2 years of age, I experienced my first epileptic fit.  Now THAT is scary!  I would first flop around on the floor for a couple of minutes and then become very aggressive and confused for the following 5-10 minutes.  I don’t remember a thing.  My family would barricade me in a room if they had the time but if not, they would all hold out in their rooms until I “returned” to consciousness.  Then I would begin to whimper and they knew they were safe to come out.  It was exhausting for everyone.  Once I had a fit whilst on a walk and ran away.  The police brought me back about 4 hours later.  These fits continued up until only a couple of years ago.  It was always a little nerve-wracking when we were travelling on a train, public bus or otherwise on the go.  No one really knew what would happen so my family carried a muzzle with them at all times. 

I have had many other moments where I had to be taken to the emergency ward.  The personnel all know me by name which isn’t something to be proud of.  The latest diagnosis was Morbus Addison.   My entire cardiovascular system just collapsed one day, and I had to be hospitalized for 2 weeks.  Somehow, they managed to bring me back from the dead and now I have to take my daily dose of cortisol to survive.  It is okay but it makes me terribly thirsty and I am always hungry!  You can imagine, I was hungry before the cortisol, now I am basically ravenous all the time.  But life is full of challenges and these are mine. 

Luckily for me, I have an incredibly loving, caring and intuitive family.  They take great care of me and pay attention to tell-tale signs.  When I was small the doctor said we should all be happy if I make it to 5 years of age.  Here I am, 11 years old.  Not bad for a lemon!

I am beginning to understand where the “Zen Master” description comes in.

I accept my ailments with as much grace as possible.  Sometimes I just can’t make it out the door and then I tell my family.  They always accept my decision.  For the most part however, they keep me active and we are outside for 1-2 hours a day.  That does me good.  In the summer we are in the river and that serves both my body and my swimming heart good.  I absolutely LOVE being in the water and so from that perspective, it makes sense to be a part of Swiss Ocean Tech. 

What do you “bring-to-the-table” in the office?

I have learnt that running a start-up comes with many ups and downs on a very regular basis.  It is pretty stressful and there is always that unknown.  Will we make our timelines?  Will our suppliers deliver?  Will we find the right investors?  How can we better serve our team in times of uncertainty?  The thing is, if the cards aren’t played right then everything falls apart and then the start-up is no longer.  It is a do-or-die scenario. 

To your question, I have a very soothing effect on people.  When they need to de-pressurize, recalibrate or just take a moment to regain their sanity, a cuddle with me goes a long way.  I listen to their sorrows, their worries, and their concerns.  I never judge.  Luckily no one in the office has any allergies and they all love to have me around.  That makes me happy and proud to be such a valued team player.  I also love the office; it has all round good energy and I can totally relax.

You seem to be a pretty level-headed and balanced guy. Is there anything which still manages to upset you?

To be honest, and it does embarrass me to admit this, but there is a white Berger Blanc Suisse which lives just down the road from me.  Man, he gets me going.  I don’t know what it is about him but as soon as I see him my fur stands on end, my pulse shoots up and I have to bark loud and hard.  I am not a barker, but he brings it out of me every time.  The worst of it is?  He does nothing in return.  He just sits there and stares at me with this blank disinterest.  I just don’t get it.

Thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk with us on your birthday.

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