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Nick Woodman found the inspiration and funding for GoPro from Bali
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Nick Woodman found the inspiration and funding for GoPro from Bali

Is it any surprise that lifelong surfer Nick Woodman found the inspiration for his massive technological success on Bali waves? 

It all started when Woodman, at 22, gave himself until 30 to make it as an entrepreneur. Four years and one failed business later, he decided to take his savings and go on a five-month surfing trip to Indonesia and Australia for inspiration. 

Of course, carving up waves was nothing new for Woodman. When he was eight-years-old the Silicon-Valley-born entrepreneur spotted a Surfer magazine spread pinned to the wall of a buddy’s bedroom and declared he wanted to “live in that world.” As a senior in high school he founded his school’s surf team, and when it came time for college he picked UC San Diego largely due to its proximity to the ocean. 

Nick Woodman and GoPro | The Daily Beast
Nick Woodman and GoPro | The Daily Beast

But before he even left, Woodman stumbled upon what would become the idea behind GoPro. 

There was only one problem: How to document it?

Woodman had been frustrated that he couldn't take good action shots of himself or his friends while they were catching waves. Surfers were using disposable cameras strapped to their wrists with a rubber band. It would often fly off in the middle of the action and hit them in the face.

First GoPro | The Phoblographer
First GoPro | The Phoblographer

"In preparation for that trip, I had this idea for a wrist camera that I could surf with to document my friends and I on the trip," he reflected. "The irony was this trip was meant to inspire me for my next business and I had my business idea before I even left."

Woodman wanted to invent a strong, adjustable, elastic band that could secure a camera to a person's body as they participated in an extreme sport.

To fund the project, Woodman and his now-wife purchased 600 belts made of sea shells from a Bali (Indonesia) market. Each cost them $1.90. When the Woodman returned to the states, they drove up and down California's coast selling the belts for as much as $60 a pop.

With that money and a $35,000 loan from his mother, Woodman created the first GoPro camera straps. It took him 2 years to perfect the product. 

And now...everyone wants a GoPro. 

Source and reference : Business Insider | Daily Beast | | Executive Style


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