One of UC San Diego's newest success stories is Nick Woodman (UC San Diego, Muir ’97), founder and CEO of GoPro, one of the world's fastest-growing camera companies. Its product line is billed as "the world's most versatile camera."
Click here for his recent conversation with Armin Afsahi, assistant vice chancellor for alumni affairs and executive director, UC San Diego Alumni Association.
With 800 employees in four facilities (two in China) producing hand-sized cameras fastened to helmets, handlebars, ski poles and surfboards (his passion since age 8), Woodman's firm is now estimated to be valued at $2.25 billion.
IN FOCUS: "What brings me happiness is that I love what I do."
"What brings me happiness is that I love what I do," Woodman says in the interview. "There’s been periods at work when it hasn’t been fun. Now I’m happy to say, I’m in a place where I wake up every day and I’m super-psyched to go to work.”
Growing up in Atherton, California, Woodman's childhood goal was to attend a university where he could surf as often as he wanted. That led him to apply to UC San Diego, but he was not accepted, at least initially.
He was, however, accepted at UC Berkeley, his parents' first choice, but not his.
Determined to pursue his dream, he sent UC San Diego a letter of appeal. Much to his surprise, he was accepted.
"My motivation was, it was the best education combined with the best surf," he says. "Just being honest."
Woodman's entrepreneurial spirit, joined by a select group of friends from his college days, eventually led to his invention of a series of small cameras designed for a wide range of his favorite action-adventure sports -- surfing, sky-diving, motocross, and skateboarding.
"We're helping the world capture and share their passions," he says. "The deal is, that for the first time, thanks to GoPro, people can turn the camera around on themselves, and document themselves engaged in their passions and living out their lives."
GoPro's devices not only capture the up-close thrills of adventure seekers, but they're now popularly used in major movies, reality TV shows and even beneath the sea in oceanographic videos.
"Ultimately," he says, "the karmic payoff is we're helping the world communicate in a new way."