The fastest growing camera company makes a product that doesn’t appeal to couch potatoes, doesn’t follow conventions and doesn’t need marketing. Its free marketing material comes from customers who upload video to the internet about every two minutes. So goes the story of GoPro, the little video camera that could. GoPro defies conventional thinking that a camera should be all things to all people. It is a very limited product line of small cameras with fixed lens and no viewfinder. Weighing 3.3 ounces and costing around $300, the GoPro Hero series of cameras accounted for a rumored $250 million last year. It is distinguishable as a wearable camera that can be mounted on anything, with a waterproof housing option that allows it to go anywhere – even inside a shark’s mouth. It isn’t clear how the camera was recovered from such a place however.
The GoPro was invented by an active person for active people. Surfer Nick Woodman says the idea came to him while surfing in Australia. He wanted to be both the camera guy and the surfer. A surfer doesn’t want to take turns being the camera guy, and a camera guy who isn’t a surfer can’t get close enough to action. It is widely reported that he sold beaded belts to acquire financing for the product launch, but his stepdad happens to be Irwin Federman, a respected scientist who is also well known in venture capital circles. In any case, the GoPro has become the camera of choice for skiers, surfers, kayakers and thrill seekers of every type. They don’t have to brag about their adventures because proof of their prowess is in the incredible video that they posted on social media. Meanwhile even George Lucas is using it in “Red Tails.”