Nick Woodman

nick woodman

Nick Woodman. Founder/CEO of GoPro, AMA!

Aloha, Reddit! Iโ€™m Nick Woodman.

In 2002, I had an idea for a 35mm waterproof wrist camera that would enable me to shoot photos of my friends while we surfed. My homemade prototype worked so well I decided to turn it into a business…and GoPro was born.

And today, thirteen years later (!), our purpose remains the same – to help people self-capture and share incredible footage of their favorite experiences. GoPro has become a global brand and a global movement thanks to the millions of people around the world who are capturing and sharing their lives with their GoPros. And as rad as this is, we’re just getting started. With even more capable cameras, editing tools, VR capture solutions and flying machines on the way, GoPro is about to get even mucho mas rad.

Thanks for having me on Reddit for this AMA, let’s have some fun with it! I’ll start answering at 3pm (PST).

Hi5 – Nick

PS – we just launched our smallest and lightest camera ever, HERO4 Session. Check it out here and then you can grill me about it on the AMA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjGkVCAo8Fw

Proof: https://twitter.com/GoPro/status/621711304001089536 EDIT: I’m here and ready to take your questions!ย http://imgur.com/z0VSHLT

How many prototype did you destroyed in order to find the good one that was not taking in water?

TONS

And test days are awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

What kinda music are you into? I see all these bands having gopros all over the stage do you guys sponsor them or do they just go out and buy them?

Our media production team sources my favorite music these days…so good. I love dubstep, good roots reggae, jazz, and Middle Eastern remixes. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook collaborations…look ’em up. I developed GoPro listening to that stuff. Good Stevie Wonder, too…I’m very superstitious.

Do you think that GoPro will ever develop a camera more focused in the “typical” photographer? Just like Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc…

GoPro already is a killer camera for typical photographers…! It’s just a different take on how to capture our world. Some of the best photo content we’ve seen is when typical photogs put down the DSLR and let it rip with their GoPro. I love hearing people tell me they grab their big camera(s) less once they own a GoPro.

But I know what you mean…and above is all I can say about that!

Hey Nick, have you ever used a Go PRO in the bedroom?

uhhhh…hehehee…good one.

Take a guess.

Will the future GoPro models follow the Session’s design or will it remain with the traditional design?

Only time will tell. What do you think? You dig Session?

How have your investments on ‘Shark Tank’ panned out?

Swimmingly.

What was the early design of the GoPro like?

Clunky and analog (35mm film). Check it out…all for just $19.99 back in 2004:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xMahecM+L._SL250_.jpg

But that said…that wonderful brick got us where we are today! GoPro’s early days are a great lesson the potential of a humble beginning. You don’t have to start of with a bang or a big idea…you just have to START.

(and then stick with it)

Do you have any plans or talks for more deals/partnerships for sports leagues similar to the one with the NHL?

The NHL is extremely innovative and aggressive in their adoption of new tech that can improve the game and viewing experience. The Commissioner, Gary Bettman, is a total stud. He gets it. While these things take time because of all of the parties involved within the NHL (and any sports league) Gary and the NHL are making it happen faster than anyone else in sports, so hang tight. You’re going to be stoked.

After being a gopro owner for many years I’ve noticed that the customer service isn’t very good. I’m saying this because I’ve had a few cameras get damaged or broken due to housings or attachments failing while using them and not having the luxury of a warranty is kind of annoying. Yes, you do offer a discount off your next gopro but money adds up over time. Have you ever thought of introducing a payed protection plan in which if the camera breaks you could trade it for a new one?

I’m bummed to hear our customer service has left you short, Aaron. CS is something we take super seriously. We respect that you’ve chosen GoPro and because it’s a GoPro S#!& often happens and we work hard to be the company that takes care of its customers…we only exist because of you guys. A payed protection program is something we are reviewing…it’d be an awesome thing to offer. But if you feel like we aren’t even covering the basics then we want to know. Consumer brands live and die by their customer experience and service.

If you were told you are invited to go on a trip at a unknown location to do a sport/activity (also not told), what GoPro would you bring and what mounts?

I’d bring 3-Way (love the name btw) and a bag of adhesive mounts. Straight forward versatility. I can get most shots done MacGyver-style with those mounts.

What kind of people is the HERO4 Session aimed at?

HERO4 Session is aimed at everyone. For GoPro power-users it’s the perfect additional perspective-grabber to have in the bag. It’s so fast and so easy to use that you end up falling in love using it whenever you don’t need 2.7K or 4K. And for new customers I think it’s the way to go in terms of ease of use…it’s just so freaking easy to use. Finally there’s a GoPro I can give to a newb and they can understand it in 3 seconds.

And the sound…no more housing means epic sound. Lots of use cases for this thing. Think of it as an additional “lens” for your GoPro bag of tricks.

Do you have any other business ventures (other then messing around on shark tank ;D) that you wish to pursue?

Absolutely, but not anytime soon. I’m not a great multi-tasker and between GoPro and family I’m tapped!

Have you ever thought of integrating solar energy into a GoPro product?

Yes.

Why is GoPro’s slogan “Be a hero”? Where did the idea come from?

Originally, GoPro was just supposed to be a company that made wrist cameras for surfers. When trying to come up with an idea for the company name I asked myself, “What do my friends and I all want to do most?” And the answer was “Go pro…we all want to be pro surfers.” As I thought about it more I realized that GoPro was a great name in that it meant “attack it full on” no matter what your passion or interest is…get after it and live life to the fullest. ‘Be a HERO’ came out of the name of our first product, the HERO Camera. The idea was that our camera could help you capture photos (and eventually video) that made you look like a HERO. Be a HERO similarly inspires you to do your best at what ever you do. For example…being a HERO as a dad means dragging myself out of bed too early every morning to play “the wall game” beanbag battle with my kids. Not quite the same as what Be a HERO means to Kelly Slater…but I’m older than he is.

Oh wait…

hehehehe…sorry Kelly.

Whats your favorite video filmed with a GoPro?

The first one that comes to mind is THE SKI MOVIE which was the video we launched the original HD HERO with back in 2009. Abe Kislevitz and Chris Farro were in college at USC at the time and we asked them if they’d rip up to Mt. Hood and shoot it for us. We gae them full creative license (as they’re way cooler than we are ๐Ÿ˜‰ and they nailed it. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEyrEiC4Ucw

I cried when I first watched this video as it became clear to me how big GoPro was about to blow up. Thank you Abe and Chris!!!! It still holds up today.

As the CEO of an extremely successful company, how would you describe your day to day activities? Enlighten us to a day in the life of a CEO.

Mornings start early with my little boys waking me up to play “the wall game” which is a multi-beanbag battlefest in their playroom. I protect my mornings as often as possible for family time and take them to school whenever I can ’cause once I am at work it’s full on and often hard for me to get home in time for dinner. At work, I’m lucky that I get to focus mainly on things I enjoy: product, marketing and overall business vision and strategy. My days at work are awesome because I get to sit down with crazy smart and passionate people that help turn our ideas for GoPro into reality. Product days are my favorite…sitting down and imagining the future with engineers and designers that can make it happen is like a dream for me. By the end of the day I’m completely zonked…head home for a snooze and then wake up and repeat!

What was the moment when you realised that GoPro had really hit the big time?

I first felt it coming when I used the first HD HERO proto in the summer of 2009. I took it longboarding just north of Santa Cruz and I teared up when I watched the footage at home. I called my gf, now wife, in to watch it with me and we both knew…the HD HERO was going to change everything.

I KNEW it was going to change everything when I watched our HD HERO launch video, THE SKI MOVIE. Link elsewhere in this thread. That was the ‘Oh shit…” moment.

What can you tell us about the drone plans?

We’re so excited for our quad-copter…it’s a labor of love. I’ve been an RC nerd since I was a kid and my first business idea out of college was actually for a small live feed video camera that people could put into RC cars and planes so that they could control them from a first person perspective. After a couple of months of hacking at it, I totally failed at making that concept happen and I gave up. It’s cosmic to see that idea come full circle now with GoPro being the small camera that most people put in their RC vehicles! I guess it wasn’t such a bad idea after all. I cannot wait to see what people do with their GoPro quads…it’s going to be a childhood dream come true for me.

And what is your favorite non-GoPro GoPro accessory?

My favorite non-GoPro accessory is my surfboard ๐Ÿ˜‰

Is there any plans on making a mouth mount, or a mount that could get a better first person point of view?

Mouth mounts are awesome for sports like surfing and snowboarding where a chest mount can be challenging. I regularly stick my GoPro (and foot) in my mouth with or without a mount to capture “on the fly” first person POV when I don’t have a mount handy. Session makes this WAAAAAAY easier. That said, I apologize for the overabundance of “camera in the mouth” photos of me…I find them annoying, too!

Iโ€™ve gotten a few drones that carry GoPros โ€” their awesome but howโ€™s the gopro drone going to crush them?

For starters, it’ll be developed by GoPro! Our baby has some serious passion behind it…as well as expectations. We understand you all expect us to kill it and that’s what we’re focused on…both for you and us. We are frothing for this to come out.

On a personal level, what’s one thing you would have done differently along your journey and why?

I would have sought out professional help earlier on. It took me 8 years to realize that I didn’t need to ‘make it up as I went’ and that there are other people out there with experience that could help me. Duh…but I didn’t know where to look, sooooo…that said…given where we are now I wouldn’t change a thing!

What type of spread(fruit based or otherwise) do you like with your peanut butter and bread?

Strawberry jam and bananas!

Love your products! I’m sick of all the poor quality LCD/phone-based HMD solutions out there. Are you looking at high quality mobile solutions for viewing your content (regular GoPro or Jump 360ยบ) and for drone FPV?

I feel you. The tech is going to be insane soon. Don’t worry. Where we are in a few years is going to be mind blowing! Many thanks to Zuck and FB for instigating the revolution.