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.'