Coming up fast: Decisions - James Dyson

Coming up fast: Decisions - James Dyson - My best ... 'Becoming a manufacturer as well as a designer, and employing engineering and art graduates to help with manufacturing. Being a manufacturer seems unpopular - plenty of people told me I shouldn't do it

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

My best ... 'Becoming a manufacturer as well as a designer, and employing engineering and art graduates to help with manufacturing. Being a manufacturer seems unpopular - plenty of people told me I shouldn't do it. But I get immense pleasure and fun and satisfaction out of it. It's also rewarding seeing the graduates go through the angst of designing and manufacturing a product and finally making it work. It was a perverse decision, like having the choice of taking an aeroplane across an island and instead swimming from one shore to another, but the perversity appealed to me.

No-one in the UK wants to manufacture any more, but the ability gives enormous freedom. It's more than just knowledge - it's practical know-how and experience. If you try to design without that ability then you are slightly impotent.'

My worst ...

'Trying to license my technology to others. I developed vacuum cleaners in the early '80s and spent eight years trying to license them to others.

It seemed the obvious route, but it was a huge mistake. Only about one in 20 said yes. It was typically other manufacturers who weren't interested, so I wasted several years giving away design details to my competitors.

It wasn't until 1992 that I decided to become a manufacturer, and the business was up and running by 1993. I wish I'd set up my own business in 1984 instead of going through all that struggle and heartache.'

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