The Famous Finger of Success

The ever-present foam finger may not mean success for every team at every game, but it certainly has meant success for the creator.

Foam Hand

Back in 1977, Ceral Fauss, a high school shop teacher, designed and cut out the first finger from poster board after being inspired at his school’s pep rally for an upcoming game. His shop students saw the design and made their own versions of the “finger” and waved them at the game.

Their team lost and the “fingers” were trashed—the fingers were a big failure.

One year later, Ceral Fauss was still not giving up. He spent 3 weeks cutting 400 Finger-hands out of masonite, then took them to the “Cotton Bowl” game.

Fauss spent the night sleeping in his car outside the stadium, and then arranged with the head of novelty sales at the stadium to allow him to sell his “Finger-hands.”

He sold out in 30 minutes.

Now encouraged, Fauss tried several different materials—masonite fingers could do real damage in a brawl—and finally ended up with the polyurethane foam Finger. It was cheap, light and couldn’t be used as a weapon.

In 1979, Fauss had 5,000 foam Fingers made and took them to the “Sugar Bowl.” Again he quickly sold out.

The rest, as they say, is history. Fauss copyrighted a number of different designs, quit his teaching job, and formed a new company, Spirit Industries.

Today Fauss employs 40 full-time people, plus another 35 seasonal, and Spirit Industries also licenses nine other U.S. companies to make the famous Foam Finger.

Failure, sacrifice, investment, and entrepreneurial spirit—all the events and attributes that mark the true entrepreneur.

What is your story—have you ever had a failure in your entrepreneurial pursuits? Have you had to make sacrifices to achieve your goals?

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