GoPro’s genius discount grows larger. The wearable-camera maker styled itself a media company when it went public in 2014, but even its hardware business is suffering job cuts as sales fall short. Success is even harder than usual when — as at Snap, which fancied itself a camera company — the boss wastes time and resources chasing whims.
The company’s portable cameras are popular among snowboarders, sky divers and mountain bikers, but its media partnerships and attempts to launch action shows never amounted to much. GoPro shut down those efforts in 2016. A bid to crack the drone market hasn’t fared any better. The firm now says it will exit that business, blaming competition and a hostile regulatory environment.
While GoPro chased those dreams, competition in its core business of making portable cameras grew ever tougher. Asian rivals caught up on quality while cutting prices. And the emergence of waterproof smartphones with quality lenses and better editing software has caused some customers to wonder why they need a separate camera at all.
It’s one thing to turn a good idea into a thriving business, as GoPro’s founder, Nick Woodman, did with small, rugged cameras for action sports. But one success hardly guarantees another, no matter how clever the vision. Snap, for example, has seen features like its disappearing messages, face filters and story format copied by Facebook. And the company’s camera glasses have proved to be a dud, prompting it to take a $40 million charge against inventory last quarter.
Investors now attach a hefty discount to the idea that Mr. Woodman can produce a string of hit products. GoPro stock is down more than 90 percent from its peak. It doesn’t take a genius to see that knowing your limits can be more valuable than trying to defy them.