Sir James Dyson believes that his greatest failure was in expecting companies to buy his new technology, but believes that their refusal to look for something better showed him that he could set up in competition.
Dyson famously tried to sell his now well-know vacuum technology to major companies but, in his own words, found them unwilling to sign on the bottom line.
This prompted him to set out on his own, and ultimately rival the very companies that had rebuffed him.
License to fail
"My greatest failure was trying to license my technology and expecting the people who are now my rivals would licence that technology," Dyson told a handful of journalists at a London event attended by TechRadar.
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"I thought they would be interested in new technology and something that would work better. They looked at it but none would sign on the dotted line.
"What I learned from that was that they weren't innovators and even though they were huge multi-national companies I could have a go at them.
"I decided that I could compete because I was prepared to take risks on better technology."
Dyson also talked about one of the high-profile devices that did not become a hit – the Dyson washing machine.
"It wasn't a failure," said Dyson. "It was a great washing machine! It was too cheap; we didn't make money from it and we should have charged more for it.
"It had a lot of machinery in it and there's no point in making something and not making any money out of it."