James Dyson hopes to follow Sir Clive Sinclair into the ‘electrical Hall of Fame’, alongside Metal Mickey and the brains behind Windows Vista. Having made one product – which gained a foothold in a stagnant market by being a bit different – Dyson now has enough money and enough publicity to produce a succession of un-related other over-priced, slightly-different but crappier products; thus destroying both his wealth, reputation and fuse box.
As Dyson’s ineffectual but widely installed one-handed hand driers illustrate, knowing bugger-all about an established product and its manufacture helps to accelerate this decline. All he needs is a little bit of innovation and an advanced alien civilization to tell him how to make the battery. ‘Like Clive Sinclair, he needs to learn to quit while he’s ahead,’ said one bearded founder of Amstrad. ‘You usually only get lucky once, with a weird design which is too unusual for the punters to realise how crap it is. You need to be able to recognise the true worth of your products, like Gerald Ratner’.