I have never owned a GoPro but I have always wanted one for the once a decade trip I take to do something adventurous such as white water rafting. One of my favorite past times as a child was playing with a digital camera, pulling photos or video I captured (MiniDV will forever be alive in my heart) into Final Cut Pro or Aperture, and spitting out results to keep in the growing media library on my Mac. As the years progressed, I began to rely on an independent camera less and less, and now I do not even carry one.
Google introduced their Photos offering last year and for the first time since the launch of iPhoto and Aperture I saw progress occurring in the digital photography storage space. I stopped acquiring digital cameras that were obscure and sold off my Rebel XS (something I now regret), simply because I did not need them anymore.
Even if I had a GoPro, I cannot imagine using it everyday… especially now. I see the new models as they get released and dream of a life where I could randomly spend $200 for an item I would use once in my life, but that isn’t the reality of someone coming of age during the Great Recession.
An action camera does what none of our other devices do. But upgrading to this year’s version doesn’t do much more. It’s not your phone, that you use all day every day and that every one sees. It’s not a status object.
The GoProblem by Josh Constine
GoPro as a brand needed to diversify and become a platform, similar to the way General Electric has been working to “own” the Industrial Internet. Establishing a company as a brand that controls a software ecosystem that is more broad than the one app to manage the camera, is more valuable than the GoPro camera itself. I am not a management consultant and am not attempting to be one but imagine a world where GoPro had purchased a startup like Instagram. Imagine a world where GoPro is the camera used in commercial drones. Any business attempting to grow in the twenty-first century economy needs to internalize the fact that software and ecosystems are not only strategies to grow slightly larger but necessary to survival.
GoPro can survive, grow, and learn to thrive but it will take a lot of work investing in emerging technologies that span both hardware and software ecosystems.