Sir Dyson,

Let me start by applauding your skills as an industrial designer. You’re an entrepreneur and an inventor. Skills lacking of many people these days. You’re a billionaire and rightfully so.

But that’s where I stop. In the last few years I’ve seen your face in commercials in the US as your company expands into my country. But after seeing these commercials featuring your inventions, I have to ask you a question:

Why are you solving problems no one has?

Let’s take the Dyson Ball. Your kickball inspired vacuum cleaner. Your commercials tout its engineering breakthroughs and agility. I’ve vacuumed plenty of carpets in my day, and never once has “agility” been on my list of wants in a vacuum. Consumer Reports thinks your balls suck, and not in a good vacuum cleaner kind of way, and they cost hundreds of dollars more than vacuums that work better. So what problem did you solve? People weren’t spending enough on cleaning supplies? Well, problem solved my friend.

And I can’t ignore your newer invention, the Air Multiplier. I would like to thank you for taking the 3 things I want out of a fan, removing them, and charging me 800% more for a fan than I normally would. What do I want in a fan?

  • Ambient noise: The Sheconomist and I like to sleep with a fan on. But the noise was a problem for you. So you made your multiplier quiet.
  • Blades: Apparently the blades produced annoying buffeting for you. That choppy air just wouldn’t cut it. Well the blades actually work just fine, and no one has ever had a problem with buffeting. And let’s not forget the the fact that you killed the Darth Vader effect, something every child must experience.
  • Wind: I want the fan to actually blow wind, not just move air around. Your stupid multiplier is really good at taking air from one side of the fan and putting it on the other. Your Nobel Prize is on the way.

So what exactly are you doing? Are you really solving problems? Let’s be honest with each other, you’re solving problems the same way Steve Jobs is curing cancer.

But you are doing something really cool. You’ve found a way to make cleaning supplies into status items. That Dyson Ball is probably in a bunch of rich people’s houses, or the homes of people that want to pretend to rich. That air multiplier joke of yours is probably going to have the same success as your balls. No one has created a status product out of cleaning supplies before, and that is something the businessman inside of me can appreciate.

Let’s just stop pretending you’re actually solving problems people have.


-The Weakonomist

categories: business