• Bill Petrie

The Importance of Sparklers

They aren't as lame as you think

As I sat down to write the brandivate blog last week, knowing it would post on Independence Day, I kept thinking about my favorite firework growing up: the sparkler. To most people, it’s a bit on the L&T (lame and tame) side. But, let’s face it, it’s not as cool as a roman candle (which any boy will tell you can be weaponized), as loud as a string of black cat firecrackers, or cause people to crane their necks like a bottle rocket.

While not as outwardly remarkable as those other celebratory pyrotechnics, the fact is that almost everyone uses the sparkler to light those same fireworks. To me, a sparkler is far more than something you wave around spelling a name while taking pictures; it’s the genesis of all that makes shooting fireworks possible.

As Bruce Springsteen once sang, “you can’t start a fire without a spark” – and he’s right. The same holds true in business. For an idea to ignite to a point where it becomes a conflagration, it first has to be a spark in the form of a concept, a design, or a plan. The spark is what starts it all, and that’s why I love the sparkler.

As you pause today to enjoy the freedoms granted to us some 245 years ago, take time to remember that democracy was also a spark of an idea that developed into something we all cherish as part of our shared and united experience. Nothing will have a chance to grow into something unique or special without a spark.

Next time you have a spark of an idea, don’t just let it burn out to a smoldering aluminum wick. Instead, use that spark to light the fire inside you that drives the work necessary for that spark to light the fire of progress, creativity, growth, and innovation.

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