Stories and Lessons from Dyson


On Sales

“Inventions, though, no matter how ingenious and exciting, are little use unless they can be translated through engineering and design into products that stimulate or meet a need and can sell. And when a product is entirely new, the art of selling is needed to explain it, What it is. How it works. Why you might need it”

Words from Sir Dyson himself.
Section by Steve Procter

On Product Development

“Jeremy Fry talked of the need to listen to your customers, aiming to improve products wherever necessary and, if you are an inventor, simply for improvement’s sake” … “This is not to say we at Dyson ask our customers what they want and then build it. That type of focus-group-led designing may work in the very short term, but not for long”

By DeFacto — Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,
By Anna Gerdén —
An early design for the Dyson cyclone

“Experts tend to be confident that they have all the answers and because of this trait, they can kill new ideas” … “But when you are trying to break new ground, you have no interest in getting stuck in engineering conventions or intellectual mud.”

On Advertising

“In the late 90’s, a Belgian court banned us from talking about vacuum cleaner bags. I didn’t realise they could do this, I would have thought it was illegal. But Belgium had tight comparative advertising laws and our European competitors ganged up together to sue us, arguing that we shouldn’t say that we didn’t have a bag as this gave Dyson comparative advantage, while this seems absurd, the court found us guilty”

By Investopedia
#1 Example of Comparative Advertising
#2 Example of Comparative Advertising
The Drum

On Patents

“I twice took cases before the European Court of Human Rights to have Patent Renewal fees declared illegal, on the basis that non-payment of the renewal fee, essentially a massive income to the government, results in the creator losing their rights. This loss does not happen to any other creator of art.”

“In a patent and misappropriation of confidential information case, words matter more than anything. Inventions are described in patents by words rather than by drawings. Although drawings are included the substance of the patent are words”

Lessons in Grit

“I went to see Electrolux, Hotpoint, Miele, Siemens, Bosch, AEG, Philips — the lot — and was rejected by every one of them”

The James Dyson Foundation



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