Apple loses influential industrial designer Danny Coster to GoPro

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Industrial designer Danny Coster -- one of the Apple design team's longest serving members -- has left the company and will join action camera maker GoPro as Vice President of Design.




Coster has been at Apple nearly as long as design chief Jony Ive, coming on board in 1993. His move, in the works since earlier this year, was first noted by The Information.

Though the exact details of the design group's composition and the designers' roles therein are closely guarded, Coster has been attached to some of the highest profile projects in Apple's recent history.

He and Ive are believed to have collaborated closely on the Bondi Blue iMac, the product that launched the second Steve Jobs era. Coster is credited -- along with several others, often including Ive and Jobs -- on dozens of additional Apple design patents.

Coster's resignation marks the first known shake-up in the small, tightly knit industrial design team since Ive handed day-to-day oversight to another longtime member, Richard Howarth.

Speaking to a high school student from his native New Zealand last month, Coster expressed a wish for more time with family and friends. He indicated that the pressure of working at Apple can be overwhelming, which may help explain his departure.

"Sometimes it seems too daunting because the pressure of things can be too large," he said.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 32
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,813member
    Pressure is a good thing, too much of it and you become burned out which hampers creativity. Train your employees that they're able to leave, treat them well that they stay.
  • Reply 2 of 32
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,970moderator
    It's hard to imagine that industrial design would add much value to the form of an action camera. People don't handle, and interact with, that type of product the way they do a phone or tablet, or even a laptop PC.  GoPro's stock irrationally popped on his being hired.  It'll likely fade back down once the reality of the matter settles in.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 3 of 32
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,381member
    It's too bad, but he's joining a rapidly dying company. Their sales were down over 31% last year, and still dropping. They must have offered him a lot, and I don't see what good it will do. These action cams are losing sales because of the increased quality of smartphone cameras, both still and video. That will just continue.
    patchythepirateurahara
  • Reply 4 of 32
    "Shake up"

    Uh-huh. Just like "overclocked A9". When the manufacturer increases the clock, it's not "overclocked."
  • Reply 5 of 32
    smiffy31smiffy31 Posts: 173member
    melgross said:
    It's too bad, but he's joining a rapidly dying company. Their sales were down over 31% last year, and still dropping. They must have offered him a lot, and I don't see what good it will do. These action cams are losing sales because of the increased quality of smartphone cameras, both still and video. That will just continue.
    Probably also due in part to the fact that people do not buy multi hundred dollar actions cameras every year.
    aaron sorensonai46urahara
  • Reply 6 of 32
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,381member
    smiffy31 said:
    melgross said:
    It's too bad, but he's joining a rapidly dying company. Their sales were down over 31% last year, and still dropping. They must have offered him a lot, and I don't see what good it will do. These action cams are losing sales because of the increased quality of smartphone cameras, both still and video. That will just continue.
    Probably also due in part to the fact that people do not buy multi hundred dollar actions cameras every year.
    In addition to phones now having high enough hi-Rez still photos, they now shoot 4K, which was a defining feature of GoPro. And yes, even every two years as opposed to phones.
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 7 of 32
    foadfoad Posts: 697member
    This story is going to get some weird spin but leaving after 23 years of probably one of the highest pressure gigs in the industry isn't surprising. He probably got a pay bump and a bit more time to relax.
    aaron sorensonai46propodjakebafrodri
  • Reply 8 of 32
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    Shame, but good luck to him.

    ai46potatoleeksoup
  • Reply 9 of 32
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,734member
    foad said:
    This story is going to get some weird spin but leaving after 23 years of probably one of the highest pressure gigs in the industry isn't surprising. He probably got a pay bump and a bit more time to relax.
    I'm sure he gained salary-wise and responsibility-wise. Unlikely he will have more time to relax. More responsibilities means more work, not less.
  • Reply 10 of 32
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,381member
    foad said:
    This story is going to get some weird spin but leaving after 23 years of probably one of the highest pressure gigs in the industry isn't surprising. He probably got a pay bump and a bit more time to relax.
    I'm sure he gained salary-wise and responsibility-wise. Unlikely he will have more time to relax. More responsibilities means more work, not less.
    With a company that's sinking, he will likely have the responsibility of saving the company on his head. It's ridiculous to think that he could do that, but his hire will be thought of as doing that. He will have more headaches there than at Apple, where he was a much smaller cog in a much bigger machine.
  • Reply 11 of 32
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,773member
    Seems to me this is a complete non-story. The bigger story IMO is that he's been at Apple for 23 years. That's a long time for anyone to stay at one company.
  • Reply 12 of 32
    foad said:
    This story is going to get some weird spin but leaving after 23 years of probably one of the highest pressure gigs in the industry isn't surprising. He probably got a pay bump and a bit more time to relax.
    I'm sure he gained salary-wise and responsibility-wise. Unlikely he will have more time to relax. More responsibilities means more work, not less.
    I am more inclined to agree with foad, in that he was offered equal or slightly better pay and less responsibly. Other wise he'd have no point in mentioning "Sometimes it seems too daunting because the pressure of things can be too large" about working at Apple if he is going to up and take a position somewhere else with by your assertion has even more said pressure in the form of enlarged responsibility.  This logic doesn't seem to make much sense.
  • Reply 13 of 32
    foadfoad Posts: 697member
    foad said:
    This story is going to get some weird spin but leaving after 23 years of probably one of the highest pressure gigs in the industry isn't surprising. He probably got a pay bump and a bit more time to relax.
    I'm sure he gained salary-wise and responsibility-wise. Unlikely he will have more time to relax. More responsibilities means more work, not less.
    I wouldn't be so sure. I mean, Apple is operating at full tilt on a much broader product line and with how long he has been there, I expect he was in a senior role. GoPro comparatively is a much smaller company with a smaller product portfolio. While his responsibility has increased, I would expect the pace is different.
  • Reply 14 of 32
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 3,773member
    My Twitter feed is full of tech people who think this signals bad news for Apple. Good grief. Everyone knows what the pace is at Apple. Perhaps after 23 years this guy is looking for something different that's perhaps not as stressful. Also I highly doubt he was a VP at Apple so this was probably a promotion and/or pay increase. 
  • Reply 15 of 32
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,215member
    The guy is already wealthy. Perhaps he just wanted a Senior VP post and to have near autonomy over the direction of a company, in the area of design. I wouldn't blame him. Not everyone will become a Senior VP at Apple.
  • Reply 16 of 32
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,003member
    smiffy31 said:
    melgross said:
    It's too bad, but he's joining a rapidly dying company. Their sales were down over 31% last year, and still dropping. They must have offered him a lot, and I don't see what good it will do. These action cams are losing sales because of the increased quality of smartphone cameras, both still and video. That will just continue.
    Probably also due in part to the fact that people do not buy multi hundred dollar actions cameras every year.
    There are maybe fewer left too.  I wonder what the injury rate for those action types wearing GoPo head sets is?
    edited April 2016
  • Reply 17 of 32
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    Better a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pressure cooker?
    Good luck over there at GoPro, Danny.
  • Reply 18 of 32
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,137member
    melgross said:
    It's too bad, but he's joining a rapidly dying company. Their sales were down over 31% last year, and still dropping. They must have offered him a lot, and I don't see what good it will do. These action cams are losing sales because of the increased quality of smartphone cameras, both still and video. That will just continue.
    I don't think they are losing sales due to smartphone cameras. Phones can't do what you can with a GoPro. You wouldn't be mounting your phone on a surfboard or using it on a drone. Plus, a GoPro has a way better FOV than a smartphone. GoPro made a huge mistake releasing the inferior Hero Session as the same price of the way better Hero Silver camera. GoPro has since dropped the price a few times, but still, I have no idea what they were thinking. I think another huge factor is people aren't buying action cameras every year. I love my Hero 4 Black. Depending on what features are on the upcoming Hero 5, it's going to be a tough sell to upgrade.  I imagine GoPro will start doing better once they release their drone later this year. 
    volcan
  • Reply 19 of 32
    73dray73dray Posts: 12member
    I wish him luck. My buddy applied at GoPro a couple years ago and said the owner/inventer/engineer was a jerk who was set on not redesigning the product. This is likely another reason for GoPro's decline, stubbornness.
  • Reply 20 of 32
    isteelersisteelers Posts: 738member
    The guy is already wealthy. Perhaps he just wanted a Senior VP post and to have near autonomy over the direction of a company, in the area of design. I wouldn't blame him. Not everyone will become a Senior VP at Apple.
    Your post makes the most sense to me.  If he was at Apple that long, odds were he was not going any higher up the ladder.   Probably wanted a shot at the big chair to see what it is like and have creative control. No shame in that. 
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