James Dyson on failure, fear, and making new products

I try to always employ graduates [young people] because they have no fear. They have no experience. I don’t want experience. I want people who haven’t done something before and who want to find a new and better way of doing it. [6:29]

I want people who have no fear of failure. Failure is so important. You learn from it. If you always succeed you are learning nothing. [6:45] 

Managers always want to employ someone with experience. It is laziness. They think the experienced person won’t need to be trained. But it is the reverse. You have to knock their experience out in order to get them back to thinking originally. [7:12] 

There are very few jobs in life where you know the answer before you do it. You have to work it out. So why don’t we teach people at school to have failures and learn from the experience? [9:10]

We can’t go on producing me-too products. Products like everyone else. We have to produce products that have far better technology and that everyone wants to buy. [10:14] 

Anger is a great motivator. [16:31] 

Bringing out new products is a risk. A huge risk. But it is exciting. It is fun. If you don’t do it, it is very dull. If you don’t do it people will catch up, so it is absolutely essential to do it. [21:00]

There are businesses that make their money by copying people and there are businesses that try to make a living by creating things. I know which camp I’d like to be in. [21:20]

I’m so focused on what I am doing I don’t really look around at what other people are doing. [22:35]

There is only one word I ban from my company and that is the word brand. I don’t believe in it at all. You are only as good as the product you are making. People buy a product, they don’t buy a brand. They don’t buy a company. They buy a product. [23:07]

Full interview here.

I highly recommend reading James Dyson’s autobiography. You can listen to the Founders podcast about James Dyson here.