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The GoPro is an excellent example of how product design can be hindered by an excessive feature list. The conventional wisdom is that consumers always want more features and removing features or failing to support the features your competition does is a recipe for business suicide. But the truth is that often times some features are not necessary and supporting them can serve as a roadblock toward developing other features or improving the core meta-features (usability, performance, robustness, cost, etc.) GoPro was smart enough to realize that there is a huge market for a camera which is not a jack of all trades, which is optimized to be compact, light, super easy to use, good for action shots or establishment shots and also inexpensive but not necessarily good for still photography, portraits, close-ups, low-light shots, etc. By making those compromises they were able to create a product that excelled in its niche, cemented its brand name, and destroyed the competition.

If you want to learn how to disrupt existing industries and build billion dollar companies from nothing, there are few better examples.




> a camera which is not a jack of all trades, which is optimized to be compact, light, super easy to use, good for action shots or establishment shots and also inexpensive but not necessarily good for still photography, portraits, close-ups, low-light shots, etc.

This sounds exactly like Flip (RIP). What do you think the difference was? The GoPro anti-shake technology & the ability to attach to helmets?

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That was my first question as well.

I think Flip was unlucky in that their releases coincided with the rise of smartphones, which took their lunch. When one device just takes video and costs around as much as an subsidized smartphone, there isn't any question which one I'm going to pick.

GoPro, though, wasn't hurt by the rise of smartphones. Surfers won't use smartphones for footage; they'll use the GoPro, since it's waterproof, has anti-shake, and other inportant features, targeted specifically at surfers.

Perhaps the moral is: when the rest of your industry is declining, focus on a niche, and execute well.

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I think mostly it was that the flip didn't have sufficient feature differences from smartphones, as both were fairly limited in how you could use them, whereas the GoPro was more rugged, had waterproof housings, could takee longer videos, was mountable, etc. Also, the GoPro managed a high level of adoption in the extreme sports market which served as an effective endorsement system.

The flip probably could have found a new niche but cisco wasn't interested and basically let them be consumed by the advancement of technology.

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