In all my years of travel around the world I’ve carried my professional SLR camera around with me and overall it’s been perfect for capturing all the amazing sites I’ve visited. But sometimes it’s not the right tool… Swimming in the Red Sea with a whale shark, riding a motorbike down Route 66, or crossing the Sahara Desert on a camel, I have wished I had a different type of camera that could capture the experience as I live it. So last year I bought myself a GoPro camera, which does just that: I can clip it on a helmet or strap it to my chest and capture every minute of my adventures around the world.
I’m at the San Francisco Design Center to meet the inventor of this extremely cool “life-capture device”, Nicholas Woodman. Nick is often described as ‘the mad billionaire’, a thrill seeker who drinks Red Bull, eats McDonald’s and howls his way down ski slopes. But he’s also an entrepreneur and the CEO of the world’s hottest and fastest-growing camera company.
After we grab a coffee and sit down in the atrium of the SFDC, I ask him how he came up with the idea of GoPro.
“I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur but I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he says. “So for inspiration I planned a five-month surf trip with friends to Australia and Indonesia. And the inspiration came before I even left: I wanted to capture photos of my friends and I while we were out surfing.
“There was no camera that allowed you to do that, so I set out to develop a wrist harness to which I could attach a disposable camera. It wasn’t even a business idea; I simply wanted to document our experiences on this trip. And as soon as I got it working well, the light bulb went on and I realized: ‘There must be so many other surfers in the world who want something like this!’”
“The challenge was that all cameras that were on the market at the time weren’t designed for use during rigorous activity like surfing, so I kept breaking cameras. I spent two years trawling all the trade shows until I found the camera that was close to the one I would have wanted to design. I got in touch with the manufacturer and he agreed to make the modifications so it could fit on the wrist harness. The GoPro that everyone knows today was built on $265,000 capital.”
“How is GoPro changing the way people capture and share images?”
“GoPro allows people to capture meaningful life experiences in an engaging, immersive way by attaching the camera to their skis, surf board, bike, pole,” says Nick. “It enables people to share their lives through incredible photos and videos.”
“Thanks for the inspiration, I am going to mount my GoPro to my helmet while cruising through South America for my next Storytelling Expedition.”
© 2014 CoolBrands – Around the World in 80 Brands