Nick Woodman: The Eccentric Billionaire

Nicholas D. “Nick” Woodman  was born on June 24, 1975. Nick  Woodman is an American businessman, the founder and CEO of GoPro. Woodman is known as the “mad billionaire” due to his unconventional behavior and eccentricities.

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Woodman’s father was a Quaker Christian who co-founded the investment bank Robertson Stephens; and his mother is of Hispanic descent . Woodman is married to Jill R. Scully and they have two children. They live in Woodside, California.

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He earned a B.A. degree in visual arts and a minor in creative writing from the University of California, San Diego in 1997. After school he founded a marketing company called funBug but after it did not succeed, in 2002 at the age of 26, he decided to travel around the world surfing.

It was while on hiatus in Australia and Indonesia, he used a 35mm camera attached to the palm of his hand by a rubber band to try and capture his surfing activities on film.

Seeing that amateur photographers like him – who wanted to capture quality action photos of their activities – had difficulties because either they could not get close enough to the action or were unable to purchase quality equipment at affordable prices, his trip became his inspiration to found GoPro. His solution was to develop a belt that would attach the camera to the body.

Woodman and his future wife Jill financed the business by selling shell necklaces they bought in Bali (for $1.90) from their car along the California coast (for $60) combined with $35,000 borrowed from his mother and $200,000 borrowed from his father.

His desire for a camera system that could capture close up footage inspired the ‘GoPro’ name. The original cameras he developed were point-and-shoot 35mm film cameras which mounted to the user’s wrist. The product has since evolved into a compact digital camera that supports WiFi, can be remotely controlled, has waterproof housing, records to a micro SD card, and is affordable to the average action sports enthusiast ($200–$400).

In 2004, he made his first big sale when a Japanese company ordered 100 cameras at a sports show. Thereafter, sales doubled every year and in 2012, GoPro sold 2.3 million cameras. In December 2012, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn purchased 8.88% of the company for $200 million which set the market value of the company at $2.25 billion making Woodman, who owned the majority of the stock, a billionaire.

Nick Woodman won the 2013 National Award Winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

As of 2014, he is worth an estimated US$4.8 billion.

Culled from Wikipedia

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