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GoPro's 'Unusually Tan' CEO Talks Drones, Virtual Reality and 'Content-Enabling' (Full Video)

Why GoPro is not just a "device maker," according to Nick Woodman, who showed off a new spherical camera at Code.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

GoPro has sold millions of its tiny, durable action cameras and is now making a drone — but don’t call it a “device maker,” its founder and chief executive Nick Woodman said at this year’s Code Conference.

“We’re a content-enabling company,” Woodman told Re/code’s Kara Swisher. The surf-loving CEO talked about how the future of GoPro may not necessarily lie in its hardware business, but rather in the company’s ability to scale its media business and sell merchandise around the GoPro adventurers people love to watch.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Watch the whole interview here:

“We don’t expect the average consumer to go out and buy six GoPros in a spherical mounting array rigged to capture spherical content, although they will.” — Nick Woodman

Kara Swisher: This is an interview I’m looking forward to. I did some GoPro things, and there are some new things to introduce here. First, the video, correct?

[Video plays]

Swisher: We’re going to introduce Nick Woodman with his new product. Come on out. Good to see you.

Nick Woodman: Lovely.

Swisher: Are you vegan?

Woodman: No.

Swisher: Okay, all right. So let’s just get to the obvious. You have a new product.

Woodman: We do.

Swisher: And this would be it?

Woodman: We’re in the business of coming out with fun new stuff and …

Swisher: I’m right now riveted by your hair, but I’m going to try to focus on your product.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

Woodman: Well, we haven’t come out with this yet.

Swisher: Okay.

Woodman: But this is a six-camera spherical array that we’re working on. It’s actually six Hero4 cameras combined in a mounting accessory that will make it easy for people to combine six GoPros to capture spherical photo and video content.

Swisher: And what’s the reason for this? Explain what you’re trying to do here.

Woodman: We’ve been playing around with this concept for a few years now — multiple combinations of multiple GoPros to enable new forms of capture. We’ve done a dual Hero system, which is a product that we commercialized that allows you to take two GoPros, combine them to capture stereoscopic 3-D footage, or capture photo and video simultaneously at very high rates and resolutions. We’ve done arrays up to 50 cameras in a linear array to do bullet-time matrix-type effects. We didn’t commercialize that. It’s just more for R&D purposes and demonstration of our tech camera-syncing technology.

When Facebook dropped the gauntlet and acquired Oculus, it sent a message that, okay, there’s going to be heavy development and investment in virtual reality, and we recognized that all of the development we’ve been doing over the past few years with multi-camera lends itself extremely well to spherical-captured, which enables the type of content format that you need for VR. VR is going to be popular just based on gaming alone. It’ll be a successful business platform or a successful business because of the gaming industry. But for VR to be appealing to non-gamers, it’s going to need content. It’s going to need photo and video content, and GoPro is positioned better than anybody in the world to enable that type of content.

Swisher: When is this kind of product going to come out? Who would be buying this?

Woodman: We’re going to come out with this in the second half of this year, and importantly, it’s going to make …

Swisher: Is it going to look like this?

Woodman: This is a working developmental model that we …

Swisher: If you put it down, it would take pictures? It’s not very heavyweight.

Woodman: No, you could mount it in any way you mount a GoPro. I don’t know that you would necessarily be able to use it in this current iteration in every way you can use a GoPro today, because it’s still too big. It’s still six cameras.

Swisher: Yeah, that on a helmet is a little not …

Woodman: It’s still complex, but you know, GoPro is a tool used by professionals around the world for creating some of the most engaging professional content today. I mean, the Hero3 won an Emmy for enabling new perspectives in television. So GoPro is already widely used by professionals, and this is really going to be most appealing for professional production companies, for commercial purposes and by pro-sumers. We don’t expect, you know, the average consumer to go out and buy six GoPros in a spherical mounting array rigged to capture spherical content, although they will. You can imagine putting this at the center of a table for a reunion or a wedding or something like that. It’s going to enable some fabulous content that you’re going to be able to go back and relive. But it’s not until we make this much smaller, much more convenient, much lower-cost that it’s going to be adopted by general consumers.

Swisher: How much would this cost?

Woodman: Well, six Hero4 blacks, you know …

Swisher: And then the …

Woodman: $3,000, plus whatever we sell the mounting rig for.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: So it’s more of a DSLR-class solution, which, if you think about it, though, is still a heck of a deal, because not only would you be investing in a spherical, the world’s most advanced spherical-capture solution, you could also take the six GoPros and use them as individual cameras where you’d have three 3-D cameras. I think that that’s something that’s pretty interesting about a GoPro — it’s the one camera that we know of that you can combine with like cameras to form new cameras. So it’s a bit of a modular system.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

“You took me up in a helicopter above the Golden Gate Bridge and under the Golden Gate Bridge and tried to scare me. It didn’t work, even slightly.” — Kara Swisher on her GoPro adventure

Swisher: You took me up in a helicopter above the Golden Gate Bridge and under the Golden Gate Bridge and tried to scare me. It didn’t work, even slightly. But we flew there, and we had a bunch of cameras all arrayed around it. And then what I saw on an iPhone was astonishing, where you just … what was going on? What happened was, when you see it, any time you turned it, it was as if you were looking above and below you. Explain what that was.

Woodman: Well, that was enabled by Color. A French company that we acquired earlier this year just — well actually just closed. And they are the best in the world at stitching together multiple video sources to form a spherical video or a spherical photo. And then they have a fabulous player that enables you to view that content through a mobile device.

Swisher: But you didn’t need a VR component at all.

Woodman: No, and whether the content’s on your device or whether it’s streaming from the Web, you can view the content on your mobile device and move around that …

Swisher: Without touching the screen.

Woodman: Well, you can move it by touching the screen.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: Or it’s really great if you’re sitting in a chair like this, and you can spin around and look at your world. [Spins in the red chair]

Swisher: We’d be the first person to ever do that. That’s really cool. Do it again.

Woodman: You don’t have to mount it on your head.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: From what we’ve seen, it’s the most convenient and immersive way to, on the fly, enjoy spherical …

Swisher: I also saw it in a VR setting, too. Was that just an iPhone in front of …

Woodman: Pretty special. Or you can drop your smartphone into [Google] Cardboard or VR gear, or any heads-up virtual-reality head-mounted display and view it in that way, too. But to be fair, it takes a bit of forethought to bring your viewer with you. It’s great if somebody shares some spherical VR content with you, and using ColorEyes, which is the app, which all of you that want to take a look at that video that we just shot of you.

Swisher: Yeah, we’ll have it on our site.

Woodman: At, or your site. Download the app and it’s an incredible …

Swisher: It was quite surprising, how good it was.

Woodman: It’s really good.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

“So do you guys all want GoPro to make a quad copter?” — Nick Woodman

Swisher: I want to talk about another product you’re coming out with, and then I want to know why you’re doing all this — drones.

Woodman: Are we coming out with a drone?

Swisher: Are you, quad something or other?

Woodman: (To audience) So do you guys all want GoPro to make a quad copter? Oh, come on. Do you guys want GoPro to make a quad copter?
[Audience cheers] Okay, GoPro is making a quad copter.

Swisher: All right.

Woodman: It’s official.

Swisher: All right, okay, so what …

Woodman: You may think that I’m joking. No, we thought it’d be terrific here with you to drop the news that we are officially developing a quad.

Swisher: Yes, I know I just dragged that out of you. I take credit when I do the good kills, but not this one. Explain what you’re doing there. What is the quad copter, besides sounding pretty cool and I have to buy it for my children?

Woodman: It’s going to be extremely cool. Quad copters and the whole movement have a special place for us at GoPro, because I was a huge radio-controlled-plane enthusiast as a kid, and I could never really get anybody involved in it with me, because either it was too geeky or took a lot of time to learn how to fly these things. You’d crash them all the time. And so I was really surprised to see how quickly the general consumer was adopting quad copters. They’re expensive. They’re not particularly easy to fly, although they’re getting better. And people would crash them and buy another one, and there’s a viral growth and awareness and adoption of the product, similar to GoPro being driven by a similar phenomenon. And that’s the content that the quad copter plus a GoPro enables.

Swisher: Right, which are these beautiful pictures of a …

Woodman: My god, it’s incredible. And quads plus GoPro have enabled some of the most — it’s been one of the most democratizing combinations in terms of enabling people to capture professional-quality content and see themselves in their environment in a way that they’ve never seen before. It looks like you’re in your own movie, professionally produced. As a result, we’re seeing growth in the quad industry that reminds us of the early days of GoPro, and that we recognize that it’s content that’s driving the sale of quads. It seemed natural to us that we’re in the content-enabling business. A quad represents, in some ways, the ultimate GoPro accessory, and because we’re genuinely passionate about the space as consumers ourselves, we thought it made sense for us. All the, you know, rationale we needed to say, “Hey, okay, we’re going to invest in this.”

Swisher: So you want to make your own rather than just be attached to all the others?

Woodman: Yeah. I think that it’s core enough to our business that it makes sense for us to make our own. At the same time, we’ll still be compatible with other quads as long as they’ll have us.

Swisher: Mm-hmm.

Woodman: And we recognize that the specific path that we may be going with our quad may be different from what other companies are doing.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: And consumers and professionals may be looking for different alternatives, and that’s fine.

Swisher: When are these coming out? When is this quad coming out?

Woodman: First half of next year.

Swisher: First half of next year, and what will they cost?

Woodman: I can’t comment on that, but we’re a consumer-focused company, although I’ll say we’re consumer-focused but always with the requirement that everything we do is at a professional level, professional quality, whether it’s the image quality our cameras capture or the performance of our quad.

Swisher: But it’s aimed at consumers.

Woodman: It’s aimed at consumers.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

Woodman: “And what’s exciting, too, about the quad opportunity is there’s a number of related products that go with that.” Swisher: “Throw in insurance.”

Swisher: Aimed at the regular consumers.

Woodman: Yeah, and what’s exciting, too, about the quad opportunity is, there’s a number of related products that go with that, as well.

Swisher: Throw in insurance.

Woodman: Wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Swisher: No, it wouldn’t.

Woodman: But as soon as you enable people to fly their camera around, we believe that it sparks the imagination, and that people are going to be looking to use their GoPros in even more inventive ways.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: So, us officially entering the quad copter business has also opened up some new opportunities for us that we’re really excited about.

Swisher: Okay, let’s talk about what you’re trying to do in media. And I also want to talk about what it’s like. How long have you been public now?

Woodman: It’ll be a year …

Swisher: A year?

Woodman: … this June.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

“You’re unusually tan for a CEO. I think only Richard Plepler reaches your levels of tan.” — Kara Swisher

Swisher: You’re unusually tan for a CEO. I think only Richard Plepler reaches your levels of tan.

Woodman: I’m half Puerto Rican.

Swisher: Oh, now you’re making me feel bad. But you look great. You look healthy and …

Woodman: Oh, no, that wasn’t — that wasn’t meant to make you feel bad.

Swisher: Well, diversity, great, okay. Okay. I love diversity. Everyone’s laughing backstage. First, let’s talk about what it’s like to be a CEO now. You’ve had an up-and-down thing. There’s lots of people saying, oh, your business is under pressure from this, under pressure …

Woodman: Oh, it’s always been up.

Swisher: Right, okay.

Woodman: Perception is that it’s been up and down, but I’m in my …

Swisher: Well, it actually is up and down, like a quad copter.

Woodman: Well, the stock price is up and down, but the business has always been phenomenal.

Swisher: So why is that? What is going on in that? Is it going to continue? Is it going to be a fad? Is it going to be this?

Woodman: Sure. I think that part of the attraction to GoPro is the strength of the brand and the excitement around the business, and part of the concern investors have is the strength of the brand and the excitement around the business, because things that burn very brightly, we wonder how long can they keep burning.

Swisher: Right, so how long?

Woodman: Like, certainly it can’t just keep going up and to the right.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: But to those of us who are on the inside — you know, I’m in my 13th year since I started GoPro. And these things become more obvious to you over time, just like any subject matter. The more that you’re immersed in it, the more that it consumes you, the more you can see the future, see around the corner, if you will, as to where this business is going. And so if you work at GoPro, you’re very comfortable with our vision. And more than comfortable, you’re very excited with our vision and where we see the business going and what our potential is. If you’re on the outside, you’re wondering, is this a fad?

Swisher: So you’re going Flip camera, is that kind of thing?

Woodman: You know, that was a …

Swisher: That’s the same thing. That’s a different product, but the devices market …

Woodman: Exactly. When we went on the road a year ago for the IPO, everybody asked us, is GoPro the next Flip? And the answer is really easy — no, because we enable a different use case.

Swisher: Well, a yes would have been bad on a …

Woodman: Yeah, that wouldn’t have worked. In fact, you know, people said, well, what happens when the smartphone really challenges you?

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: And the answer is, well, we actually grew up during the era of the smartphone, right?

Swisher: Right, it’s very different from the smartphone.

Woodman: It’s a very different use case. I mean, the smartphone is the world’s ultimate reactive-capture device. Something is happening and you reactively pull your smartphone out to document it. But that is the same use case that the traditional camera has always been addressing, is one human filming another human, or another thing happening, me filming you living your life. And the fundamental aha realization that opportunity has enabled GoPro to succeed as a business is that we recognize that there was an unaddressed use case, which was allowing the individual consumer to turn the camera around and film themselves. That’s a really big deal, and in this age of user-generated content, the socializing of that content online, it’s … talk about great timing.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

“We’re a ‘content-enabling company,’” — Nick Woodman

Swisher: So do you imagine yourself as a device company? I mean, you’re making devices. You’re making a quad copter. You’re making this thing. Are you a device company, or what?

Woodman: Content-enabling company.

Swisher: Oh, that’s a new one.

Woodman: If you asked me four years ago, I would have said we’re a device company.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: And then, shortly thereafter, we came to recognize that what was making GoPro so successful was not how great the device was, but was how great the content was that the device enabled.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: And what was going viral on Facebook and YouTube wasn’t talking about the device. It was talking about, “Did you see the latest video?” This is incredible, and so consumers were quick to see other people’s great GoPro videos and think, wow, I’d love to capture my life like that. And so we have a viral model that is essentially the more cameras that we get out there in consumers’ hands, the more great content they capture and share, the more they virally drive awareness of our business.

Swisher: You hired Zander [Lurie, GoPro’s SVP Media] and others …

Woodman: Fabulous.

Swisher: … who were in the media area. Are you the new YouTube? How do look at it? And then, how do you make money from that?

Woodman: No, we’re enabling some of the best content on YouTube.

Swisher: Okay.

Woodman: That’s how we see it.

Swisher: Why don’t you have a YouTube GoPro network?

Woodman: Because everybody’s watching YouTube.

Swisher: Okay.

Woodman: And so we see ourselves as a contributor to these existing megatrends — you know, YouTube is a user-generated megatrend. You’ve got Facebook and Twitter and Instagram as these megatrends of socialization around content. You have the quad megatrend that we see coming that is being driven by content. You have the, a little bit further out there, virtual-reality megatrend that is going to be fueled by engaging content.

Swisher: Lots of megatrends going on.

Woodman: You got it, but if you look at them, these trends are all driven by engaging content.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: And we see ourselves enabling that content and contributing to it. We don’t have to be the platform itself. We can plug into the platform.

Swisher: Okay, and then how do you make money from that because … Ellen [Pao, Reddit CEO] earlier today, with Reddit. They create a lot of content that other people take advantage of.

Woodman: Yes.

Swisher: The company, is it just to sell more devices? What is the business of content?

Woodman: Stage one, that we’re currently in, is to leverage that content to drive awareness, enthusiasm for products in our brain, and sell more of our products. And when we do a better job of enabling people — not just to capture great content but to offload it from another camera, get it in the cloud, give them easy edit tools and service options to help them go from an hour of footage over the weekend and do a one-minute video they can share with other people — we think that we can increase the pool of GoPro content out there by 20, 30, 50 times. Then when we get to that type of scale, then our ability to aggregate the best of that content and redistribute that as entertainment programming is very significant.

Already today, GoPro is the No. 1 brand channel on YouTube. We’re number No. 1 on Instagram on terms of engagement — No. 6 in terms of overall following, but No. 4 in terms of engagement. It’s this great proof of concept already that people love GoPro-captured content because it’s some of the most interesting perspectives of our world we’ve never seen. And soon it’s going to the skies. So we think that we’ve got a bright future there in terms of maintaining that engagement. And then with it comes the scale, that you’ve got the GoPro channel programming that has more scale than it does today. And then the ability to monetize that in other ways comes to us.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: But first and foremost, we first need to enable the content, to then get it to scale, to then monetize it.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

“What would you correct about your CEO-ness?” — Kara Swisher

Swisher: Would you ever imagine yourself in the network, because Evan Spiegel called himself “entertainment” yesterday. Are you entertainment?

Woodman: We are entertainment. I think it’s the world’s first … It’s a little bit like Disney in how Disney produces fabulous movies that drive tons of interest and engagement around certain characters, and then they go and commercialize that interested engagement through toys, books, park visits, cruise vacations, etc. Similarly, we’re in that business now where we’re leveraging the content to drive the sale of our products, but because people are watching GoPro content, not to learn about the product and decide whether they should buy or not. They’re watching it for entertainment. With that comes the opportunity to monetize that in a traditional sense.

Swisher: Last question, and we’ll get to some questions from the audience. Do you think you’ve been a good CEO this past year? And what would you correct about your CEO-ness?

Woodman: My CEO-ness?

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: I’d get around the company more. The hardest thing for me is, you know, having grown the business from me on a card table at my dad’s house to what it is today. We’re over 1,200 employees. I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of scaling, because I got some great mentors along the way that helped me realize I just have to build a phenomenal team around me that makes my job a lot easier. But at the same time, it’s hard for me to keep up. I remember when I knew everybody’s names. So that’s the weirdest part for me, like, when I walk around the office and people are, like, “Hey, Nick, what’s up?” And I’m just, “Hey.”

Swisher: You do this?

Woodman: That’s, “hey.”

Swisher: I’m going to do that.

Woodman: That’s challenging, and that’s probably my biggest disappointment, is that it’s hard for me to go around my own business and know everybody the way that I want to.

Swisher: Mm-hmm.

Woodman: But I do feel like I’m doing a good job, because I think that we have a very clear vision for the business. Everybody at the business is very excited about it. They’re doing a heck of a job executing against it, and that’s my job, is to get everybody aligned and passionate.

Swisher: What are you scared of? What are you frightened of? Who do you imagine your competitor — or when do you go, “Oh, this could be …” Because, like, I wake up in a BuzzFeed sweat all the time.

Woodman: Yeah, I …

Swisher: Shark videos now.

Woodman: I’ll tell you, I used to be more fearful before we were public than now. People say, why is that? I want to say because of the quality, that the hires that we had to make, and the upgrades across the whole company to get people in the business that could help us fully realize the vision. I’d say, two years ago, we were a whole lot of dreaming and not enough doing, not enough execution.

Swisher: Doing?

Woodman: Everybody meant well.

Swisher: Thank you, George Bush.

Woodman: Yeah, but now, I’m happy to say, with people like Tony Bates.

Swisher: So what are you scared of? You still haven’t answered yet. What are you worried about right now?

Woodman: It’s more, maybe, that we don’t execute fully on a vision. I think basically that the prize is ours to enable some of the greatest content, consumer-generated content that’s ever been, and make it really easy for people to capture and share compelling professional-quality content. And I think that if we execute on that vision in a timely manner, I don’t think there’s another company in the world that can achieve that, and under the brand umbrella that’s GoPro that gets consumers so excited about it. What I’m afraid of is that we don’t execute on that fast enough, that we leave the door cracked open for somebody else to get in there and actually give us a good run for the money. That would really disappoint me because, when it’s all there for you to realize it, and realize the full vision for your business with almost no competition, I mean, how often does that happen? So if we don’t achieve that, that’s going to be very disappointing for me.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

“I think that like anything new, where there are perceived risks and unknowns, fear is the natural first human reaction.” — Nick Woodman on the proliferation of drones

Swisher: Questions for Nick from the audience?

Question: Nick, my question is about software. I’m a GoPro user, and the content, it turns out, is great. But sometimes, like, I hesitate to pull it out because I’m thinking about, “Okay, what am I going to have to do to get the content out of the camera? How much time is it going to take me?” So when you’ve got your spherical array, when you do come out with your drone, it’s going to mean you need even better software to help people to create compelling content out of these complex images that they get. So how do you think about standing up a consumer software organization that has good processes, user-interface expertise, all that stuff that you need? Because that’s a massive task.

Woodman: That’s what we’re doing now behind the scenes, and that is, when people ask me, how are you going to go from selling five-plus-million units a year, like we did last year, to selling 50 million units a year.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: How are you going to do that?

Swisher: Yeah, how are you going to do that?

Woodman: That is all about the software experience. We’re going to sell more devices by making a better device, for sure. But we believe that the secret to massively scaling adoption of GoPro and, most importantly, helping you and the rest of our customers and myself included, realize the promise of why we bought a GoPro in the first place, which is that great piece of content that we can share and use to relive an experience. That’s going to come through in a seamless experience where you come home from capturing a great weekend out with the family. You plug your GoPro in to charge. It’s cloud-syncing all of your content, archiving it for you. You never have to touch the SD card. You never have to touch a USB cable, so that the next time you think about that weekend, you can launch the GoPro app, have instant access to all your content, so that importantly, you can watch it, become inspired to do something with it, and share it. Not to interrupt, but that is the future of the business. And I’m happy to say, you know, we’re in alpha stage, testing internally. Everybody in the company is using the early-stage solution of what I’m talking about. It’s phenomenal, and it’s going to be totally game-changing. And I am our biggest critic, in terms of user experience. I have got three little boys.

Swisher: Mm-hmm.

Woodman: Them and my wife are all trapped on these growing towers of SD cards on my desk at home. And I, too, suffer from what you say. Sometimes it’s an anxiety. If I pull out my GoPro, it’s going to create more overhead for me to deal with.

Swisher: So in that vein, like, a Periscope is super easy. Now that’s something that you look at, the live streaming …

Woodman: Yeah, well the share is as it’s happening; there’s no homework afterward.

Swisher: You worried about that?

Woodman: No, because just like with the difference between smartphone and a GoPro …

Swisher: That could be a pretty good …

Woodman: There are different use cases.

Swisher: It could get pretty good, though.

Woodman: Yeah, and you know, there’s a lot of stuff you can do with your GoPro soon that you haven’t been able to do yet.

Swisher: All right, well another secret.

Woodman: I know software is hard, any time horizon from when we might see it. I know it’s an alpha but …

Swisher: All right, I got it.

Woodman: I can’t give a timeline, but I can tell you it’s one of the top priorities within the company right now.

Swisher: They’re going to make it super quick.

Woodman: And why we brought on people like Tony Bates to help us get it sorted.

Question: There seems to be some growing opportunity among the public these days among drones of any sort, because people don’t seem to understand it at all, and tend to see it as dangerous. Is there a role the industry could pay in both setting public intention, and also the police, lawmakers, for people to understand what’s safe and what isn’t safe?

Woodman: Sure, absolutely. I mean, GoPro is involved with a small UAV coalition to do just that and help educate policy makers on the opportunities that are both to be gained and lost by overregulation of drones, quad copters and the like. And I think that like anything new, where there are perceived risks and unknowns, fear is the natural first human reaction.

Swisher: Well also, a drone dropping on your head.

Woodman: Yeah, but I mean, there’s a lot of things. Our belief is that the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Swisher: Well, you would, though.

Woodman: You could look at so many things. I mean, the automobile industry. Automobiles are dangerous as all get-out.

Swisher: I know.

Woodman: Look at how many people those kill a year.

Swisher: Yeah, yes.

Woodman: But the benefits of allowing people to drive automobiles en masse on the roads obviously outweighs the …

Swisher: So drones don’t kill people. People driving drones kill people.

Woodman: But if you had a GoPro on your car …

Swisher: Yeah.

Woodman: You could determine what happened, and then …

Swisher: That is true. The video.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

“If it’s a bunch of dudes like me sitting around the table, you know, throwing darts and wondering how we’re going to address that market, that obviously doesn’t work that well.” — Nick Woodman on his company’s diversity

Swisher: Diversity, very quickly. What are your thoughts? It’s still like — meritocracy? What needs to be done, super quickly? Sorry to rush you.

Woodman: Let me just speak for GoPro, I feel really good about the diversity of the company. It was a joke before about me being Puerto Rican, but I …

Swisher: Okay, because I didn’t know …

Woodman: I am Puerto Rican, and you know, I experienced some things when I was younger that made me very sensitive to it. And I’d like to feel that GoPro is actually a good manifestation of …

Swisher: What did you experience? I’m just curious.

Woodman: Well, no, I mean, I don’t want to get in …

Swisher: You’re, like, the tallest, whitest guy I’ve ever seen.

Woodman: I know, I know, I know, but it’s what’s in here.

Swisher: Okay, all right.

Woodman: That’s my perspective.

Swisher: Okay, all right.

Woodman: And to be honest, it’s not something I consciously manufactured at GoPro, that we were going to be a diverse organization. But when I think back to the early days of GoPro, I mean, the first 10 employees, I think there were only, like, two white people in the business. And as it works with organizations, when you get great people in, they hire in great hires to get great people. And when I look across GoPro now — I mean, I’ve been thinking about it in preparation to talk to you — we have an incredibly diverse workforce. The one area where we are really lacking, another topic, is executive, women in executive leadership.

Swisher: Yeah, it’s kind of a trend, for some reason.

Woodman: We had a … well, and that’s another thing I didn’t really think about. So we’ve done well in the diversity front.

Swisher: Right.

Woodman: We have done poorly on the women in leadership positions. We definitely have some. I mean, our general counsel, our head of brand design, who I work with really closely. Nina Richardson was our COO for a couple of years, and she was phenomenal. It was actually having her there that made me realize how important it is to have women around the decision-making table, especially when you’re in a consumer products company, because at least half of your market are women, and if it’s a bunch of dudes like me sitting around the table, you know, throwing darts and wondering how we’re going to address that market, that obviously doesn’t work that well. So that’s something that we need to address.

Swisher: Great. Nick Woodman and his spherical camera.

Woodman: Thank you.

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