After two failures he invented a gadget that we can no longer do without. But he risked making another disaster



Tenacity and perseverance are the characteristics that most distinguish Nick Woodman, the founder, and inventor of GoPro.


It is no coincidence that, after a first failure, he formed the company that made him known to the whole world, for having revolutionized the way to make perfect videos for extreme sports and in everything we do on the go.


Success didn’t come easily for him. Nick had to learn not to give up, and not to lose faith. How? Read on and I’ll explain it to you.


Today Nick Woodman is one of the richest men in the world, but that hasn’t always been his reality.


Nick started his career as a surf photographer and immediately realized the need for a camera that could withstand the extreme conditions of the sea and still offer quality worthy of a pro.


Lo and behold he had an epiphany …




Nick Woodman spent his childhood in Menlo Park, California. His family has always been rich, but that hasn’t stopped him from developing a strong sense of responsibility.


From an early age, Nick has shown himself to be very lively and full of energy. He ran and played basketball in the backyard, in front of his incredulous neighbors.


At 15, Nick moved to San Diego, California to attend high school. The city was known for its beaches and surfers.


Woodman was “extremely confident” from a young age.


A lover of sports more than studying, he manages to maintain a good average at school but does not commit himself too much.


He decides to enroll at the University of California at San Diego, to have the sea as close as possible: his true passion is surfing.


After college, in 2000, he created Funbug, his first company, and his first bankruptcy.


Funbug is an online service for games, which proves unsatisfactory with the dot-com bubble in 2000-2001 and must close.


In 2002, he decides to find out what to do with his life and leaves for a trip to Australia and Indonesia. The main goal, however, is to surf.


The journey takes over a year and Nick doesn’t find peace. His family urges him to “move on” and begin investing the money from his inheritance in more concrete businesses.


Nick returns to the United States but is still confused.


In 2003, he enrolled at Stanford Business School, but after one semester he decided it wasn’t for him.


Just studying, he wants to put into practice what he has learned.


In 2004, with $ 25,000, the last of his inheritance, Woodman founded GoPro.




It is while riding the waves that he has a lightning-fast idea.


“Why not film the surfing on videos and show them to friends?”


He begins with the first rudimentary experiments: with rubber bands he then creates a bracelet to which a Kodak camera can be attached. The idea is there, now it needs to be perfected.


After five months of surfing, Nick returns home to California. Woodman is 27 and quits working – and avoids friends and family so as not to waste time – to make his prototype.


A drill and sewing machine are the tools he uses. He starts working about 18 hours a day. Then he decides to invest in his company.


To begin with, Woodman puts in his $30,000 and gets a $235,000 loan from his parents.


Until 2011, GoPro does not accept funding. The first funds of 88 million dollars come from the Riverwood Capital fund.


In 2004, during a sporting event in San Diego, his digital – small, with a long-lasting battery that can be hooked up anywhere – was sold for the first time.


Then, within the first twelve months of activity, in 2005, sales have already reached 350 thousand dollars. Until 2012, sales are doubling every year … and then … the risk of disaster again.




Growth is constant until 2013. In that year, sales reached 985 million dollars, with a + 87% in the previous year, while the net profit went from 32 to 61 million dollars.


Driven by success, GoPro hit the stock exchange in 2014: 17.8 million shares were sold during the IPO, at $24 each.


Woodman is one of the richest men in America, thanks to his 30% in the company and an estimated $3 billion fortune. For Bloomberg, he is the highest-paid CEO in the United States. In 2012, GoPro sells nearly 2 million cameras and mortgaged the house to raise funds.


The money is used to further grow the company, but it is not enough. The company is in dire straits and risks bankruptcy.


Woodman, who had put everything in the company, is forced to sell his shares to keep GoPro floating.


To tackle the crisis, GoPro is laying off 20% of its employees and reducing investments.


In 2016, the company is back in the black and doubled its profits: 103 million dollars vs. 52 million in 2015.


Sales in 2016 are 1.6 billion dollars, + 40% on 2015.


The results also improve in 2017: GoPro ends the year with sales of $1.8 billion and a net income of $291 million.


In 2018, things are even better and GoPro returns to pre-crisis levels: 2.2 billion in revenues and a net profit of 377 million dollars.





Here, is the story of Nick Woodman a man who failed one and a half times but managed to reinvent himself and create an empire.


A man who never gave up and who once again risked disaster.


But in the end, he made it. Today GoPro is one of the most innovative companies in the world and its CEO is a rich and famous man. Despite his difficult beginnings, Nick Woodman managed to make his dreams come true.


This is the true moral of his story.


“It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, the important thing is to get up and keep fighting for your dreams,” Nick Woodman.


Which in practice means:


– Never give up.


– Keep fighting for your dreams.


– Always believe in yourself.


– Perseverance always pays!


With this, I give you a front-row seat to the next story of a self-made man or woman!


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