THE STORY

When an adrenaline junkie turns entrepreneur, the result is wild.

In 2002, 26-year-old Nick Woodman went on a surfing trip to Indonesia. His first dotcom had failed and the boy needed a break. Between waves, his entrepreneurial mind raced. Could he film himself surfing? With zero engineering skills, he bought a camera from Alibaba, hot glued plastic-y bits to it and FedEx’d it back to China for a prototype.

With $30,000 in savings and $35,000 from mom, he invested and recruited friends and family. Now they needed a name. What did he and his surf buddies dream of? Going pro, duh. “GoPro”… perfect.

The “HD Hero” was launched, and GoPro footage began appearing in commercials, movies, ski footage… everywhere! In 2014, Nick took the company public—IPO-ing at a staggering $24 a share—and became America’s highest paid CEO.

Then the cracks started to show.

With no new release, stock rocketed. New models flopped, competition grew, and an attempt to turn GoPro into a media company nose-dived. In 2016, they announced a long-awaited new product—a drone called Karma! But alas, a technical failure led to an embarrassing recall. With stock down to $3.80, four rounds of layoffs and the smart phone getting smarter, times were tough.

So, they decided to do fewer things better.

In 2018, they launched their best-selling camera of all time, the Hero 7 Black. Due to a strong brand and an age of socially-sharing millennials, they still have 98% market share in North America.

Nick Woodman.

LASER-FOCUSED

When you’re just starting out, you might be tempted to offer a “panel of services”. While this can sometimes be strategic, most of the times it’s just FOMO. Do one thing very well, gain traction, then diversify. After all, Amazon started out selling books.

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© Story by Tarek Issa.

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