How James Dyson became a billionaire with his invention

On this day, May 2 in the year 1947, James Dyson was born in Norfolk, England. According to the latest Forbes list, he is the #268 richest person in the world with a net worth of about $6.3 billion, a phenomenal jump from his 746th ranking in 2018. Although he is not an engineer himself, his company employs more than 5,800 engineers around the world.

James Dyson
James Dyson (Credit Royal Society Uploader via wikicommons)

James Dyson was the inventor of a vacuum cleaner that bears his name. His company is also named after him: Dyson Company. What is so interesting about him is his determination to succeed. In fact, he claimed to have failed 5,127 times while building his prototypes. Read that again: 5,127 times! Finally after four and a half years and at 32 years of age, he came up with a saleable product which he launched in Japan and not in his own country.

In his own words, James Dyson and his wife lived in debt while working on the project. But he was determined to succeed. He learned his “don’t give up attitude” while he was a student and an athlete in running. Let’s listen to him. “I was quite good at it (running), not because I was physically good, but because I had more determination. I learned determination from it.”

His advice to would-be entrepreneurs: “Do it the way you want to do it, don’t listen to other people.”

Yet he is actually ambivalent to give any advice. He says, “I don’t give any advice, because I think it’s better for people to work it out for themselves.”


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