"Parahawking in Nepal," by Scott Mason
The industrial designer of today would have much to explain to the industrial designer from 50 years ago. Back then, if you designed a successful product, you'd be expected to regularly design subsequent updates to that product that consumers would want to continue buying, thus growing the company you were working for. It's simple math: Move More Product, Make More Money.
While that phenomenon of course exists today, what's different is that now companies can grow by moving beyond physical devices and enhancing the user's experience through technological, networked means that then emotionally tie you to the device. The hardware, the physical object, is meant to draw you into the company's larger world of diversions and thus become an indispensable gateway. Consider the iPod followed by the development of the iTunes Music Store. Or look at the X-Box, and ask yourself if it would be a success without connecting you to millions of strangers you can play Call of Duty with.
So perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised to hear that GoPro, the inventors of a bad-ass little camera, are seeking to expand beyond the physical device and into the realm of media. While you've undoubtedly read news of the company's recent IPO, you may not have read the fine print on the filing:
To date, we have generated substantially all of our revenue from the sale of our cameras and accessories and we believe that the growing adoption of our capture devices and the engaging content they enable, position GoPro to become an exciting new media company.
"Trampoline Good Times," by Paolo Ferreri
"Using Burst Mode to catch water balloons being popped!" by pedro grimaldi garcia
"Paragliding Thermik.net Cloudbusters," by Daniel Kofler
To be clear, the company does not mean to stop producing cameras. They mean to continue upgrading their hardware while simultaneously using the IPO money to create some type of network or channel where GoPro users and viewers can congregate. If we drill down further into the IPO, we see this:
We intend to expand our existing capture business with content management, editing and sharing solutions to provide increased value to our customers, introduce new revenue streams and further differentiate us from competitors. Key components of our strategy include the following:
Continue to introduce innovative capture devices
We relentlessly pursue our goal of developing the world's most versatile capture devices and enabling self-capture during any activity. To stay at the forefront of our industry, we are focused on continued product innovation and leadership. Areas of innovation include custom sensor and digital signal processing technologies as well as custom lens, audio, battery and accessory design.
Develop seamless content management, editing and sharing solutions
We are developing an integrated content management platform to simplify the organizing, editing and sharing of engaging content. Our October 2013 acquisition of General Things Inc., a web development firm, has provided us with additional software competencies to accelerate this process. In addition, we may seek to leverage our content management platform as a new revenue stream.
Scale as a media brand
We are investing to scale GoPro as a media entity and develop new revenue opportunities by increasing production of GoPro originally produced content while simultaneously increasing the aggregation and redistribution of our customers' "best of" UGC....
The "UGC" of course refers to User Generated Content, a GoPro strength that we've covered many times in this blog. It will be very interesting to see how they harness this into a media enterprise, and precisely what form it will take.
"2001: A Space Odyssey - Mind (and Earth) bending skydive photo" by Andy Godwin