August 10, 2022

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Sir James Dyson — Founder of Dyson and Master Inventor on How to Turn the Mundane into Magic (#530)

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“There’s nothing wrong in always being dissatisfied; always look for improvement.”

— Sir James Dyson

Sir James Dyson is the founder and chairman of Dyson. Through funding in science and know-how and dealing alongside Dyson’s 6,000 engineers and scientists, he develops merchandise that remedy issues ignored by others. Sir James was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015 and appointed to the Order of Merit within the 2016 New Year Honours. He was awarded a CBE in 1996 and a Knight Bachelor in 2007.

James is the founding father of James Dyson Foundation, inspiring the subsequent technology of engineers by scholarships, engineering workshops, college partnerships, and the annual James Dyson Award, a world scholar design competitors. In 2017 James established The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, the place undergraduate engineers pay zero tuition and earn a full wage whereas finishing their diploma research and dealing on real-life initiatives alongside world-experts in Dyson’s world engineering, analysis, and know-how groups.

James is the creator of the brand new ebook Invention: A Life, the story of how he got here to be an inventor himself and constructed Dyson, main it to develop into one of the ingenious know-how firms on this planet.

Please take pleasure in!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or in your favourite podcast platform.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

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What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to listen to an episode with one other ingenious tinkerer? Lend an ear to my dialog with chef Chris Young, by which we talk about the signs of maxing out the training curve, reverse engineering, OCD superpowers, getting employed by hard-to-reach individuals, why essentially the most fascinating jobs are those you make up, Victorian train regimens, killer greens, how geniuses present disappointment and immediate correction, apocalyptic-scale BBQs, and much more.



  • Who was Jeremy Fry? [05:39]
  • What did James research at college? [08:15]
  • What does it imply to suppose like an engineer? [09:43]
  • Were enthusiasm, fascination, and curiosity qualities that have been fostered by anybody in James’ orbit as a youth, or did they arrive regularly by experiences alongside the best way? [10:52]
  • How may James counsel mother and father encourage these qualities of their youngsters? [12:06]
  • What’s the origin story of the unique Dyson vacuum? [14:05]
  • How many tries did it take to get a prototype that labored as meant, and what did the method of financing and improvement appear to be? [19:26]
  • Why invention is just not about being good — it’s about being logical and chronic. [23:07]
  • What compelled James to persist for so long as it took to create the primary ultimate prototype? How lengthy wouldn’t it have taken for him to throw his palms up and admit defeat if that prototype had by no means materialized? [25:53]
  • Was growing the primary prototype James’ full-time occupation on the time? Did he have a plan B if issues didn’t work out? [29:29]
  • Once the specified prototype appeared, why was the vacuum trade initially proof against its improvements? [30:17]
  • When did James lastly get a foothold on the commercialization of his now-famous vacuum? [34:41]
  • Encouraging suggestions reinforcing James’ perception on this new product should have been overwhelming by this level, proper? [36:46]
  • How did James’ spouse deal with the uncertainty of prototype improvement and commercialization? [39:17]
  • Even although surveys advised that prospects wouldn’t wish to see the filth and dirt sucked up by the Dyson vacuum, James determined to make the cleaner’s bins see-through anyway. Why? [40:15]
  • How costly have been the primary Dyson vacuums in comparison with their up to date competitors? How laborious was it to get retailers to hold them, and why did the client demographic run counter to expectations for a “premium” model? [42:16]
  • Rather than designing to a value, what does James intention to attain along with his innovations? [44:42]
  • Who is Akio Morita, and what does James recognize about him? [46:35]
  • Other inventors, designers, or engineers who stood out for James when he was growing his chops. [47:56]
  • What led to the event of the Dyson Airblade? [51:38]
  • On the Airblade being the primary product Dyson focused for an industrial relatively than client viewers, why this made James uncomfortable, and what its main promoting factors have been. [54:39]
  • Why, regardless of being fantastically environment friendly, James has to think about the Dyson washer a favourite failure. [57:36]
  • Why the Dyson N526 electrical automotive was canceled, and options James hopes to see carried over into future initiatives. [1:00:36]
  • Dyson is a privately held firm. What makes James uncomfortable about going public or accepting funding funding? [1:09:00]
  • What prompted James to write down Invention: A Life and begin the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology? [1:16:46]
  • On expertise as baggage that may get in the best way, making use of cross-disciplinary curiosity to resolve issues in distinctive methods, and the ability of asking naive questions. [1:24:27]
  • What would James’ billboard say? [1:28:44]
  • Parting ideas. [1:29:46]


“Experience is a baggage that can get in the way.”
— James Dyson

“Drop your fear of failure; don’t be afraid of failure.”
— James Dyson

“Invention is not about being brilliant; it’s about being logical and persistent.”
— James Dyson

“I did want to call my book A Life of Failure because failure’s exciting and you learn from failure. If you’re taught something and then what you do works, you haven’t really learned anything. You haven’t learned what doesn’t work, which is usually more interesting.”
— James Dyson

“The best questions are naive questions.”
— James Dyson

“Whenever I look at anything, I wonder how it works, and then I wonder how it could work better. Could I make it work better? Is there a technology I could use? Is there a way I can reconfigure it? Is there a radical breakthrough I could do for lateral thinking that would make a huge difference?”
— James Dyson

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or in your favourite podcast platform.


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