Founder and billionaire Nicholas Woodman tells the story of GoPro: his initial inspiration, the early years, and how he grew it into the world’s hottest camera company:
Woodman recounts his “classic 10-year overnight success story.” In 2002, he wanted to capture action shots on a surf trip, but couldn’t find the right camera to do the trick. He decided to fashion his own with a point-and-shoot on a wrist strap, but only succeeded in breaking each version he made.
At some point a lightbulb went off that other surfers likely have the same problem, so he set out to design the perfect on-the-go camera–visiting trade shows across the country before finding an existing model that he liked. He made a deal with the Chinese manufacturer to modify the camera according to his specifications, and the first GoPro was born.
However the work was far from over. He and his initial crew spend countless hours peddling the product. They traveled from trade show to trade show, sold to surf shops and even appeared on QVC before the camera took off. “It’s that passion that has made us so successful today.”
The GoPro design has come a long way since the early days, and a lot of smart minds have contributed to today’s small yet incredibly versatile video camera. The HERO3 won a D&AD Professional Award in Product Design in 2013, with an impressive team including Fred Bould of Bould Design.
Bould is considered among colleagues to be a quiet genius–lesser known beyond the product design world, but very accomplished with multiple Red Dot, IDEA and D&AD awards under his belt. He worked on both the Nest and Roku, among numerous other products over the past 20+ years. His firm is among countless other industrial design firms who collaborate on products like the GoPro but don’t necessarily get media attention.
Along with Woodman and Bould, here are the faces behind the camera’s most recent design…
These days, the GoPro is used by everyone from the US Military to the Discovery Channel, as well as snowboarders and surfers, as the best way to capture life on the go.