Billionaire Inventor James Dyson On Why Failure Is So Valuable

james dyson

James Dyson is best known for designing a bagless vacuum cleaner, but his success didn’t come without a few failures.

Bloomberg Businessweek interviewed him on one of his biggest flops, the Contrarotator Washing Machine. It was both innovative and effective, but Dyson says it failed because he charged too little and made it too complex. 

“As a washing machine, it was a great success. As a business, it wasn’t,” Dyson says. 

Here’s what he had to say on why he has no regrets:

A huge amount of what we do is wasted because it doesn’t work or it’s the wrong direction or whatever. That’s the nature of being an engineer. That’s the nature of R&D. We spend two and a half million dollars a week on R&D, and a lot of it is failure. 

….But you learn a lot from all that failure. Making this washing machine was the most wonderful educative failure. Success is not always as enjoyable as you might think. When something’s a success, the results are clear. Failure is an enigma. You worry about it, and it teaches you something.”

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