One of the only ways to get really good at doing something extreme is to find, and become comfortable with, the limits of that action. To become a world-class snowboarder who hucks corkscrew 1080s 20 feet above a half-pipe made of ice, for example, you’ll inevitably slam into some of that ice along the way.
GoPro started 2018 on the floor of that proverbial half-pipe, bruised and bloody. The company’s stock had flatlined, it had just finished its second year in a row operating at a loss, and GoPro admitted defeat in the drone market by pulling the Karma quadcopter off store shelves. CEO Nick Woodman announced a new round of layoffs — the fourth in the last few years — and started talking publicly about the possibility of an acquisition. He even reportedly hired JPMorgan to suss out the possibility. To top it all off, GoPro’s newest camera, the Hero 6, didn’t sell well enough to help the company meet its own grim prediction for the 2017 holiday season.
Just nine months later, though, there’s a renewed current of optimism running through GoPro’s leadership. The ill-fated Karma drone, the layoffs, and last year’s culling of the company’s bloated camera lineup were all necessary moves, they say, to get GoPro to the exact point it finds itself at now. With any luck, they’ll wind up like those failed half-pipe attempts, and become swiftly forgotten when the company stomps one of its best tricks in years: the new lineup of Hero 7 cameras.