America's highest-paid CEO shares the moment he knew he made it big

GoPro's Nick Woodman Becomes $2 Billion Man As Stock Shoots Higher

GoPro has humble beginnings as an 8-employee company that sold camera straps in 2004, but today it employs more than 800 people and has made founder Nick Woodman the highest-paid CEO in the US in 2014, according to Bloomberg.

Woodman revealed during last week's Reddit AMA that he knew GoPro had made it big time in 2009.

"I first felt it coming when I used the first HD Hero [camera] prototype in the summer of 2009. I took it longboarding just north of Santa Cruz and I teared up when I watched the footage at home. I called my girlfriend, now wife, in to watch it with me and we both knew the HD Hero was going to change everything."

The HD Hero hit the shelves in November 2009, the first camera in GoPro's history to offer full 1080p video quality.

"I knew it was going to change everything when I watched our HD Hero launch video, The Ski Movie," Woodman says. "That was the 'Oh s––t' moment."

"By the time we launched the original HD Hero at the end of 2009, there were only seven or eight of us," Woodman told the University of California San Diego last year. "We were doing the work of 40 people and the company that year did $19.1 million. That's crazy. Then the next year, we grew to 35 people. That was 2010, the year of the HD Hero succcess."gopro
Photo credit: Business Insider

"The whole 'hire my friends and family thing' was great up until the HD Hero," he says, "The HD Hero was the turning point where GoPro was going to become a global success and I realized the days of keeping it small and rootsy were over or else we were going to fail. But over time, we brought in people who did know how to build departments and grow them out."

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Click through the slideshow below to see the top 10 highest paid CEOs:

10 highest-paid CEOs
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America's highest-paid CEO shares the moment he knew he made it big
10. Jeffrey Bewkes, Time Warner, $32.7 million

Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Inc. Jeffrey L. Bewkes speaks during Tribeca Talks Industry: The Business Of Entertainment - At The 2011 Tribeca Film Festival at SVA Theater on April 27, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

8. Jeffrey Leiden, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, $36.6 million

Jeffrey Leiden, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

7. Marc Benioff, $39.9 million

Marc Benioff of, winner of CEO of the Year, collects his award at the TechCrunch 8th Annual Crunchies Awards at the Davies Symphony Hall on February 5, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

6. Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, $42 million

Leonard Schleifer, founder and chief executive of the biotechnology company Regeneron, in an interview on March 9, 2015 -- (Photo by: Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

1. David Zaslav, Discovery Communications, $156.1 million

President and CEO Discovery Communications David Zaslav speaks onstage at Discovery Communications TCA Winter 2015 at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 8, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Discovery Communications)


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