Careers at GoPro
GoPro’s mission is to make the world’s most versatile cameras.
GoPro’s story begins with a vacation. In 2002 Nicholas Woodman shut down his games promotion startup, Fun Bug, after its performance declined. He consoled himself by taking his girlfriend Jill on a trip to Southeast Asia, where he spent time surfing. The art major wanted a way to take top-quality photos of the incredible waves and other surfers in action. Unfortunately, there was no means for attaching a camera to oneself in a way that would prevent it from getting damaged in the water.
Woodman started thinking about a strap that would enable such an attachment. During the trip, he began designing prototypes from surf leashes. When he and Jill came back to California, they tried to raise the funds to get his idea off the ground – specifically, by selling bead-and-shell belts he purchased in Indonesia for $60 apiece. He used those earnings and a $35,000 family loan to refine his prototypes. However, he found that while the straps worked, cameras kept getting destroyed.
That’s when Woodman realized he needed to design a new camera – an action camera. He did research and saw that there was no offering on the market that could accomplish what he desired. So he spent two years trying to identify an existing product that could be modified accordingly. In 2004 he came across a Chinese factory that manufactured a cheap, reusable camera for snorkelers; it expressed its willingness to adapt the device to accept strap mounts.
Woodman sent the company $5,000 and his design, a prototype made using plastic blocks, glue, and a Dremel tool, that shot in 35-mm film. The factory brought his product to life, and later that year he debuted it at an action sports trade show in San Diego, CA. He marketed it under the name “GoPro”, as it was targeted at athletes (particularly surfers) who wanted professional angles with their action shots. The event brought him his first customer, a Japanese distributor that purchased 100 units.
Over the next year, Woodman worked to drastically improve the camera, incorporating every image capture innovation he could find. New models were quickly released featuring digital stills, audio, and video. The most important advancement was a 170-degree wide-angle lens, which enabled users to shoot their full selves in action. This element would ultimately become a signature feature of GoPro videos, and contributed to the camera’s image as not just a device, but a system. The firm, realizing its product was also desired by non-surfers, began selling accessories such as mounts.
2006 saw the phenomenon that would catapult GoPro into prominence: the rise of YouTube. Everyone began recording themselves, and the company’s HERO brand of cameras was the perfect solution for individuals wanting to document and share their extreme sports activities. Sales tripled that year. GoPro’s use grew further, among every industry from film and TV to the military to the medical field. The combination of all of these niche audiences helped the firm to essentially go mainstream. It went public in 2014, partly in an effort to become a media firm and obtain extra revenue from its camera content. It now estimates that it controls 90% of the action-camera market.
Benefits at GoPro
Business model of GoPro
GoPro has a mass market business model, with no significant differentiation between customer segments. The company targets its lines of cameras to any individuals who want to be able to capture imagery without having to hold the devices in their hands.
GoPro offers three primary value propositions: convenience, accessibility, and brand/status.
The company’s cameras create convenience by allowing users to attach it to themselves hands-free, which particularly comes in handy during physically demanding activities such as extreme sports. The products are also easy to use due to their small size and light weight. Moreover, it is simple for customers to share images thanks to easy integration with mobile devices through the GoPro app.
The cameras enable individuals of all backgrounds and in all industries to capture professional-level images at reasonable prices. This increased accessibility has led to the product going mainstream.
The company is a well-established brand due to the fact that it essentially created a new market – that for action cameras. Its status has been enhanced by the fact that it has continued to innovate over its lifespan, offering incentives for customers to purchase new versions. GoPro’s powerful reputation has led to sales of 20 million capture devices, 24 million downloads of the GoPro App, and 2015 revenues of $1.62 billion. It is sold in over 100 countries through 40,000+ retail outlets.
GoPro’s channels are relatively evenly divided; retail sales account for 52% of revenues and distributors account for 48%. Its retail channels include independent specialty retailers, big box retailers, mid-market retailers, and its online store at gopro.com. It sells its products to more than 50 distributors who resell the items to chains in foreign markets and certain verticals in the U.S.
The company also promotes its offerings by integrating original content into ad campaigns across numerous platforms, including print, online, TV commercials, and billboards. Further, it forms brand partnerships with prominent athletes and attends events such as trade shows/conferences.
GoPro’s customer relationship is of a mixed nature. There is a self-service component in that customers who buy its products through retail channels utilize the items while having limited interactions with employees.
That said, there is also a personal assistance component as resellers provide significant support to customers (repairs, etc.). Furthermore, the company offers phone, e-mail, and chat support through its website.
Lastly, there is a strong community component as the firm encourages customers to communicate with each other through its social media platforms.
GoPro’s business model entails designing its products for production. It outsources the majority of its manufacturing to contract firms in China, believing that doing so allows it to have greater flexibility and scale than if it were to produce the items itself.
GoPro works with retail and dealer partners (resellers) to have them sell its products effectively. It provides training to partner staff for this purpose.
The company maintains an Affiliate Program through which it works with websites to promote its products through their platforms. However, as of April 2014 it is no longer accepting new members (though the program remains in operation).
GoPro’s main resources are its various employee groups. Its product development team engages with consumers and opinion leaders in the camera market to ensure a user experience-driven approach to product design. Its media production team conducts regular travel to capture images using GoPro equipment, which helps aid design and inspire concepts for new devices.
Its engineering team develops technologies to support the ideas brainstormed by the product development team. Another key resource is intellectual property – as of 2016 GoPro has 114 issued patents in the U.S.
GoPro has an “economies of scale” structure, aiming to lower cost-per-unit of output as output grows. Its biggest cost driver is cost of revenue, which includes variable costs (product costs, third-party logistics and procurement costs, and warranty repair costs).
Other major drivers can be found in the areas of sales/marketing, research/development, and administration, which are all fixed costs.
GoPro has one revenue stream, product sales. This involves sales of cameras and accessories. Its camera pricing is as follows: $199.99 for its basic Hero Session camera, $399.99 for its Hero4 Silver camera, and $499.99 for its Hero4 Black, which has the most advanced features.
info: Nicholas earned a B.A. in Visual Arts from the University of California, San Diego. He previously served as the Founder and CEO of online game promotions company Fun Bug. He sets and oversees the strategic direction of GoPro.
info: Anthony attended South Bank Polytechnic in London before dropping out of its Mechanical Engineering program. He previously served as the EVP, Business Development and Evangelism at Microsoft Corporation, the CEO of Skype, and in various roles at Cisco Systems.
info: Brian earned a B.S. in Finance from California Polytechnic State University and a Certificate in Management Accounting. He previously served as VP of Finance at GoPro. His past positions also include VP of Business Operations at Qualcomm and CFO at Intellon.
info: Sharon earned a J.D. from the University of Chicago and an A.B. in American Studies from Smith College. She previously served as VP and General Counsel at Marketo, a marekting software firm, and in various roles at Electronic Arts.
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