Coming from Costa Rica and going to school in Boston, has helped me to appreciate other cultures even further and to enjoy traveling even more. As a millennial that likes to stay active in social media, I have opted for sharing my experiences through the lens of my GoPro. GoPro started as an action camera designed for extreme sports but it has become something much more than that. Nowadays it is becoming trendy to share short lapses of your day in Snapchat or even an instant in Facebook or Instagram, but sometimes that is simply not enough when you want to share a life changing experience such as a trip to a different continent or your time when you were studying abroad. For me, editing videos filmed with my GoPro was not only a creative way to share my life with others but also an entertaining and informative way to encourage others to explore the hidden corners of the world. I started off with videos of Costa Rica to show others what a great destination it is for adventurous activities, and to see the wildlife in the tropical rainforests or at the beaches. Then I recorded some urban scenarios when I first got to the States to begin college, and finally travels through Asia while I was studying abroad in Hong Kong. Luckily, the feedback I received from friends wasn’t terrible and some of them actually decided to take up the challenge to study one semester abroad in Asia because they liked what they saw in my videos.
One week ago I came into a news article from Business Insider saying that GoPro is having a hard time achieving profitability so they had to lay off 270 full-time employees and their stock suffered a 76% fall since their IPO value in 2014. They managed to cut costs which increased the value of the stock by 15% to $8.53 on Thursday. The company is optimist that they will be able to cut costs even further, but Jerry Liu from Morgan Stanley says that, “While we are encouraged by further cost cutting, we are not convinced GoPro can achieve profitability this year yet.”
CEO Nick Woodman says that the company recognizes their error:
“We failed to make GoPro contemporary and failed to align GoPro to the smartphone movement,” Woodman said.
Even though smartphone cameras cannot truly capture all the clips that can be recorded on a GoPro. Consumers who are using their cameras on a daily basis (and not for an extreme sport) usually prefer convenience over anything else. Also, current models have become less user friendly as they have removed the back screen so you cannot longer see the picture that you are taking in the moment unless you are connected to the GoPro app, and that brings additional difficulties if you are traveling and do not have time to spare setting up the camera. Furthermore, the karma drone has failed to overcome competitors as the product do not hold a competitive advantage on features, and the company had to recall 2,500 units that lost power in the middle of the flight. Considering that the company made $1,185M and still managed to have a loss of $419M, it is reasonable that CEO Woodman has decided to shift focusing on growth to costs. However, as a GoPro enthusiast who is hoping for the company to do financially well and continue producing more exciting gadgets, I would like the company to focus on feature development for two kinds of consumers: travelers (or casual users) and extreme sport athletes. Although the company was originally meant for athletes and their marketing revolves around extreme sports, they do have to realize that many, if not most, of their customers are regular people who just want to take selfies on their pole while doing something fun.
In order for GoPro to continue boosting sales, they will have to realize that they are competing against smartphone cameras that are getting much better with time, and if they do not manage to keep up with changes in the market, they will (sadly) end up as the next Kodak in the photography industry. Personally, I would really like seeing GoPro partnering with other tech companies to see their products on more devices such as cellphones, tablets, etc. In my personal opinion, recording on my cellphone will never have the same benefits as the experience of using the GoPro, so I do see optimist in the future of the company if they manage to lower production costs and adapt to the customer’s demands.