This thing really sucks! (ok, I had to say it)
Read through Seth Godin's Free Prize Inside last night (actually I got in the mail yesterday, and stayed up until midnight reading it). Seth talks about the Dyson vacuum in his book, and as I was reading through the book, my wife was trying to figure out what vacuum she wanted to buy because we need a new one. We've got 2 enormous dogs that shed everywhere, so a vacuum that really sucks up the dog hair is a big requirement. Additionally, most of our house is hardwoods, so we want a vacuum that can handle both carpets and hardwoods and is easy to switch between the carpet and hardwood "modes."
We had seen the Dyson at Costco and were shocked by the price. However, seeing that the Dyson had gotten a mention in Seth's book, I told my wife to research it in on the Internet and see what real users had to say. She went to Amazon and Epinions and couldn't find a bad customer review -- that is what makes a vacuum worth double the price of any other vacuum. There was not a single other vacuum on either site that had no bad customer ratings. I assume that she is at Costco right now buying the vacuum.
The funny part about Dyson, according to Seth's book, is that he didn't want to getting into the business of selling vacuums. Dyson saw a problem (clogged filters, loss of suction, everything he talks about in his TV commercials) and created a solution. He tried to sell his design to all the big vacuum manufacturers and none of them were willing to buy -- Dyson's solution, while functional, was too out on the edge of the market. "Who would pay $500 for a vacuum?" is the question that must have been floating through the vacuum companys' exec's heads. The answer: everyone. The real end result, Dyson has set the gold standard for vacuums.