Nick Woodman: Surfer, Entrepreneur, Billionaire
For an entrepreneur, true success is finding a way to make money…lots of money…doing something that you love. This is exactly what happened to GoPro Inventor Nick Woodman, who recently became the world’s newest billionaire. His story is one of passion, ambition, and entrepreneurial victory that will inspire others to follow their pastime pleasures into big time money and business.
While some innovative ideas are hatched in a think-tank, boardroom, or office locale, others are produced when the mind is free to dream and the soul is soaring with the crest of a wave. The phenomenon that has become GoPro cameras and Woodman Labs started as a surfer’s dilemma on the shores of Australia. Nick Woodman, avid surfer and extreme sports enthusiast, saw how frustrating it was for himself and other athletes like him to take up close action shots of themselves in motion. This simple problem launched Woodman into a quest for a solution…a strong, adjustable band made of elastic …that would change his life completely.
To fund his idea, Woodman combined a $35k loan from his mother with some money that he and his girlfriend had made selling seashell belts along the coast of California. This invested capital, along with about two years worth of hard work perfecting the strap, finally paid off in 2004 when a Japanese company purchased 100 of the products at a trade show. It wasn’t long after this first big sale that word spread in the extreme sports arena and additional product orders came rolling in.
In addition to the wearable elastic straps that began the business, GoPro now offers their own line of cameras, mounts, and sport specific add on accessories to enhance and capture everything from race car driving to extreme skiing and surfing. Prices range, depending on options, but a basic setup costs only about $300 and gives users a convenient and affordable way to get the extreme shots and videos that they desire.
In fact, the consumer response to the product line and to the business model that Nick Woodman has developed became so popular that Foxconn recently announced that they had purchased 8.88% of the camera company at the whopping price of $200 million. Because Woodman is the majority owner, holding at least 51% of the company himself, that brings his estimated personal net worth to over $1 billion. Not too bad for a 36 year old “surfer dude” with an idea.
So, the next time that you are indulging in your favorite sport or splurging on a hobby of choice, remember to take your entrepreneurial spirit along for the fun. You never know when a simple discovery can lead you to the next big thing. So, play hard, dream big, and keep your eyes open for innovations everywhere you find yourself.
Here's what footage taken by GoPro looks like:
[Image via Robert Scoble/Flickr]