james dyson

In the last blog post, I looked at what makes startups successful. It is something that can be sliced and diced in many ways but, in many respects, it comes down to creating a product that addresses a need or solves a problem and delights.

Entrepreneurial inspiration happens in different ways. Sometimes, it is a problem experienced by someone who decides to create a solution. Sometimes, someone decides to improve a product by changing how it is delivered (e.g. Freshbooks vs. paper documents), or by upgrading the technology.

A great example is James Dyson, who disrupted the vacuum marketplace by developing technology that made vacuum more powerful. Emboldened by his success, Dyson decided to leverage his technology to disrupt another product: the hand-dryer.

Now,  Dyson is going after another huge market: the hairdryer. 

“With the Dyson Supersonic our priority is about alleviating the frustrations with conventional machines which are unwieldy, tend to have weak airflow, and have the ability to damage your hair,” he told The Telegraph newspaper. “At Dyson, we develop products to solve problems. It isn’t about making a quick buck.” 

After learning Dyson is targeting the hairdryer market, it struck me that he is the smartest entrepreneur, the best entrepreneur or the luckiest entrepreneur.

I mean, hair dryers have pretty much been the same for decades. It is a business ripe for innovation. In some ways, it is surprising that no one really attacked the market before Dyson.

The Dyson Supersonic hairdryer (note: great name, by the way!) is a classic case of an entrepreneur who saw and decided to seize an opportunity.

It illustrates the startups don’t have to create disruptive technology or solve a problem that no one needs or wants to be solved. Instead, it can be as straightforward as developing something better or slightly different. These products can have a big impact on a market. They can change consumer expectations and raise the bar when it comes to technology, performance and features.

Instead, it can be as straightforward as developing something better or slightly different. These products can have a big impact on a market. They can change consumer expectations and raise the bar when it comes to technology, performance and features.

If anything, James Dyson makes it clear that sometimes the best opportunities are right in front of you.

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