Despite his convention-defying appliances scooping him a cool £206 million in one year alone, James Dyson does not call himself a businessman. In his own terms, he is a designer and an engineer. This focus on what makes him successful keeps him producing innovative products that have changed the way we think of domestic appliances.
While studying at the Royal College of Art, Dyson designed the Sea Truck, built to land goods on beaches without ports. The Ballbarrow (a wheelbarrow with a ball for a wheel) and the Wheelboat (capable of travelling at 40 mph on both land and sea) followed. Big success eluded him.
Then, inspired by paint shop equipment, he conceived the idea of the dual cyclone vacuum cleaner. A game-changing invention, it negated the need for disposable bags in cleaners. However, since the bag supply market was worth £100 million a year in the UK, industry players were not interested. Dyson manufactured his own vacuum cleaner himself, offering it for sale by catalogue in Japan in the late 1980s. It was a huge hit that finally broke into the UK and worldwide markets.
Driven on by a mixture of vision and determination, it is no wonder that his self-conception is as a designer and engineer. This is the well-spring of his genius.
“He focuses on what makes him successful and keeps him producing innovative products that have changed the way we think of domestic appliances.” Bernardo Moya
“Enjoy failure and learn from it. You can never learn from success.”