How business can change the world

images-33Once in a while, you see or read something that makes you think “Holy cow, this is REALLY going to change the world!”  I don’t mean the everyday stuff, like a new fart app (no matter how much fun it might be), but the BIG stuff.  You know, like if someone discovered sentient life on another planetanti-gravity, or edible paper.

For me, Gogoro is one of those ideas that, while not getting nearly as much press as extraterrestrial life would, could change the world.

I especially like the rental service they have introduced in Berlin:

With 10,000 smartscooters sold, Gogoro powers up a rental service with Bosch in Berlin

Imagine you have a 20 minute daily commute to work. You can drive (have to own & park a car, gas, maintenance, etc), wait on a bus or train schedule (inconvenient, not fun), or take a taxi or Uber (expensive). Now, with this, even a 20 minute commute is only about $2 each way. Even if you had a car, this might still be the better option than driving. These scooters are clean (electric), fun & easy to drive, and cheap (about $1 for every 10 minutes). You have nothing to maintain, park, or worry about.  It is all of the good parts about mobility, with none of the bad.  Except for bad weather, I think this “rental electric scooter” idea could totally take over cities.

It seems Gogoro really spent some time thinking about this product offering from the user’s point of view all the way through.  They tried to make it what users would ideally want from beginning to end, and only then worked backwards to see if they can build a business around it.  It is so rare that businesses actually do this.  They typically take the core of an idea that they think user’s would want, but instead of continuing with the user mindset all they way through, they break off their thinking early and switch to the “how to make this a business” mindset.

A perfect example of this is right here in Denver.  We have B-Cycle, which is a bike sharing program like Gogoro, but for bikes not scooters.  At first, you think “wouldn’t it be fun to be able to grab a bike and just ride around town, and then drop the bike off when you get to where you want to go?”  And that is a good start, but they didn’t think it all the way through.  A little more thinking would have realized that a bike is not nearly as useful as a scooter, and so this would be more for fun, or leisure, than actual constructive use.  have to be inexpensive to get used.  This program, however, is much more expensive than Gogoro.  You can see in the link that the price is $4.95 for a single half-hour ride, AFTER you’ve paid your $135/year membership.  This is crazy pricing, and, not surprisingly, they are having trouble getting enough riders…hmmmm, I wonder why….

I very much hope Gogoro is successful.  Not only because is it a great idea, one that can make the world a better place, but also because coming up with services that are clearly user-centric, rather than business-owner-centric, is in itself a great idea that can make the world a better place.

 

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