Horace Luke is not a fan of the word “no”.
“If I ask for the first time [whether] Can I do something and it’s ‘no’, I’ll find someone else to ask. If the second guy says no, then I’ll do it,” said the businessman.
“I’ll do it myself because I really believe in the idea.”
His philosophy of “don’t ask a third time” took the 52-year-old man away far – he is the founder Gogoroa Taiwanese electric motorcycle manufacturer and battery swap network.
Launched in 2011, the startup says it has since built a network of more than 2,300 swap-and-use battery stations, powering 350,000 two-wheelers’ daily battery changes.
“By the end of this year, we will have more locations than gas stations in Taiwan,” said Luke CNBC Make It.
Despite his success, Luke’s approach to urban mobility and sustainability has not always been welcomed.
“Not only did no one work on such a topic, at the same time no one believed in us…when we opened our flagship store, people came. [and] asked, ‘Who will own [this] battery when you go bankrupt? ‘”
The laughing CEO added, “That’s a really rude question. But I think the utility and convenience of swapping batteries has really captured the hearts of consumers.”
Before founding Gogoro, he was also the chief innovation officer of the smartphone manufacturer HTC.
With over 15 years of experience, Luke has some tips for developing new products. CNBC Make It finds out what they are.
“When it comes to innovation, it’s never yours and yours alone,” says Luke.
“If you come to my office, you will see that my office is really noisy. Lots of people coming in and out… chatting and talking about a lot of things.”
The most important part of creating a new product, he added, is using “your ears”.
“It’s the ability to listen to 1,000 ideas and choose those [that work]combine them and then bring people together so that now they’re working culturally in the same direction. “
However, having great ideas isn’t enough – the ability to execute them is what “really matters.”
Luke added: “The man said a car could fly, but he never made the car fly – he was just a madman. But the man who made the car fly, he was a genius”.
That’s why in addition to listening to the team’s ideas, he also finds himself playing a huge role in rallying them to work towards the same goal of creating new products.
“I think of innovation as an upward spiral, and my day job is to keep that spiral going.”
One thing Luke would never do? Work on projects where “someone might say, ‘You mean, like this?'”
“Immediately that project was killed because I didn’t want an example out there. You have to come up with your own idea… think it through,” he added.
That, he said, was the approach that led to the creation of the original Xbox.
“That’s why Xbox was born – it’s a box that delivers computing technology beyond what a console can do,” says Luke.
“Instead of a gaming device, what about a PC for entertainment?”
Convincing consumers to use electricity is a challenge. But Gogoro’s mission to provide a seamless experience when charging the car has paid off.
Its battery swap system allows drivers to change batteries in seconds – unlike charging points, which can take hours to turn an EV back on.
“You have to offer something more convenient, with a better user experience for people to scroll through. It’s not about the price,” says Luke.
“No matter how cheap something is…no one wants to use it. You have to provide something that makes people smile. [faces] when they use it, then they will apply it. ”