We are so honored to have an amazing guest for this week’s installment of Wild Ingenuity™. Established five years ago, the dazzling electric motorbike company CAKE is making waves as a fresh progenitor of new ways to reach the outdoors. We sat down with Stefan Ytterborn of CAKE to get his take on nature, culture, and future. We learned much from him in the process and hope you do too. Enjoy.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your company, and how your product brings people closer to nature…
I’m Stefan Ytterborn, Founder and CEO of CAKE. I have always been an entrepreneur. Right out of school I was struck by 16th century design and I began to absorb everything I could. I was infected by the idea of understanding everything and the whys. While my interest eventually turned toward the contemporary, this journey through the history of the built environment and interior design has informed a career of striving to create purpose-driven products and establish classics with long and durable lifecycles. I combined these principles with my interest for outdoor sports such as: skiing, surfing, mountain, biking and road cycling. In 2005, I established POC, which was a merger of purpose, innovation, and relevancy with better, more accurate protection for outdoor sports. And now with CAKE, we have a product that’s changing the industry. It doesn’t pollute, it’s not noisy or disturbing. And there’s an ease of driving — without gears or a clutch — that opens up nature to everyone.
How do you use culture to fuel your perspective?
Culture is everything. It’s the reason behind everything. I am very interested in what’s going on in contemporary space, including all the social, political, and intellectual aspects. And, while I spend a lot of time digesting information, my career has been like a funnel. In the beginning, it was really wide. Now I focus on one thing at a time and go deep. With POC, for instance, I knew everything about the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, the teams, exactly who was riding, and so forth. But if you asked me today who was likely to win next year’s Tour de France, I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer because I’m all about electric motorbikes at this time. So having a broad perspective on culture and society is the fuel that I use to point toward one project at a time.
What traits are you banking on your future audience having that are informing your decision making now?
I have high expectations on the market that we’re addressing. So from a wide perspective, it’s all about their search for products that are respectful, honest, and true — objects that support the general idea of sustainability — and then being able to combine that with an active lifestyle.
To succeed there’s an obligation not to cheat. We need to establish mutual respect between us and our customers. So we promote the idea of premium, as opposed to luxury. I define premium as something that has purpose, innovation, quality, performance, and deliberate design. Luxury is the opposite of premium. Luxury doesn’t need to have a purpose or innovation, while premium really supports the obligations we have to planet earth these days. Inspire the market towards that… responsibility with excitement.