James Dyson, my hero

Dyson AirbladeOK, I have to admit that James Dyson is one of my all-time heroes.  The guy struggled for years and years to get his cyclone vacuum into people’s houses.  People laughed at him and the big companies ignored him (and subsequently copied him), but he kept on inventing and selling until he became a household name.

I’ve been eagerly searching for one of his new Airblade hand drying units and found one at a local resort this past weekend.  I must have gone into the bathroom four times before my wife asked if everything was ok.  I told her what marvel lay in the latrine and she said “not Dyson again!” – I was on a big Dyson kick for a long time after reading his autobiography – which I HIGHLY recommend.

So how does the awesome new hand dryer lend itself to a sales lesson?  Well at his heart, I sense that James is an engineer that simply wants to solve problems.  Now he went about it and actually solved the problems himself – I’m not suggesting that you have to do that.

But why not look for your customer’s problems that your company might be able to help alleviate and work with your team to at least propose a better solution.  You can bet Hoover laughed at Dyson until they noticed significant market share going his way – what if one hard working Hoover sales engineer would have spotted the need Dyson recognized, do you think Dyson could have survived?

I contacted Dyson’s PR department to ask for permission to use this photo (granted) and to see if I could shoot Mr. Dyson a few questions about his sales philosophy – I was told that they had to prioritize his time and he was too busy; oh well, it didn’t hurt to ask.

BTW, Mr. Dyson, if you ever read this I have a few product ideas for you that I think your cylclone technology would perform brilliantly at and the markets are enormous.

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3 comments ↓

#1 Kevin Toolis on 10.18.08 at 8:01 am

Enjoyed this piece – I am a big Dyson fan too. He talks in the Times online today which you might enjoy too.
http://timesonline.typepad.com/schoolgate/2008/10/james-dyson-tel.html

#2 Eric on 10.18.08 at 8:00 pm

Kevin – thanks for the comment, I read you linked story. I think James Dyson should be in charge of a design school for sure. He’s lived the good and bad times of his own dreams.

#3 5+5+ on 09.09.10 at 8:41 am

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