Campfire Stories


The Campfire Manifesto

What is Campfire all about? Our goal is to create the best managers ever, for as many people as possible. Here's how we're accomplishing it:

Steve Arntz

The solution to every meaningful problem begins with a venn diagram. There’s something beautiful about zooming in on the intersection of two ideas and using that space to create value and solve problems.

We started Campfire with the simple idea that people had a deep desire to “Learn Good Things Together”. Our first venn diagram illustrated that mission by positioning Campfire at the intersection of human connection and personal growth.

Could we tackle every existing problem related to human connection? No.

Could we help people grow in every possible way? Not even close.

What we could do is own the impact at the intersection of the two. That sliver of a place where human connection and personal growth really get along. By doing that, amazing things would happen.

That venn diagram was born in January of 2020. You know, back when handshakes weren’t taboo and pandemic was a word only used in spelling bees and history textbooks.

Like many of you, we matured during the pandemic. We built a company and grew a team in a new and entirely unpredictable world, we created things together without ever being in the same room, and we onboarded our first customers over Zoom. We made the best of a worldwide pandemic while at the same time discovering all of the amazing opportunities afforded us by the post-pandemic world.

We also learned what we believe in.

At Campfire, we believe:

  1. Good things happen when you’re gathered ‘round the campfire. Campfires bring people together, the warmth of the flames drawing you in and pulling you closer as they gradually turn to embers. People trust each other around a Campfire. Stories are shared, relationships grow stronger, and leaders walk away greater than when they arrived.
  2. There is impact at the intersection of content, tech, and conversation. The world has enough content, enough tech, and enough meetings. We’re not interested in adding to the abundance. Instead, we’re focused on the point where all three meet to create magical, problem-solving experiences and achieve the leadership development goals of the companies we serve.
  3. Powerful humans are humans who grow together. Everyone deserves opportunities to learn good things with others around them. Access to dynamic leadership development tools and spaces shouldn’t be exclusive to expensive MBA cohorts or fancy companies with supersized L&D budgets. Leadership development should be all-inclusive, affordable, and accessible.  
  4. We can all be better. Being better is simple, but it isn’t easy. It’s a lifelong journey without a destination. One that requires hard work, learning through failure, and consistently making the right decision.
  5. We can all do better. Doing better is a choice. It’s choosing the best way through instead of the easy way out, and taking the high road rather than ducking down a shortcut. It’s doing the things you know you should, even when you don’t want to.
  6. You don’t need all the questions, you just need the best ones. It doesn’t take much to drive a meaningful discussion. All you need are a few high impact questions and people willing to listen and share around them. The best questions are the ones that spark emotion, dig up past experiences, and, occasionally, stir up a little controversy.
  7. All the ‘verts deserve a seat at the fire. We believe in creating space for those who don’t typically see a place for themselves at the table. We value discussions that include extroverts, introverts, and ambiverts equally.
  8. Amazing leaders should be a rule, not an exception. Most of the ‘people-problems’ organizations face aren’t ‘people-problems’ at all. They’re leader problems. When you respect your leaders, you’ll do anything you can to achieve team goals. We don’t need to solve more problems, we need to develop greater leaders.

I know what you’re thinking. ‘Ok, Campfire. You’ve got cool beliefs and all, but what are you doing about them? What can you actually do for me right now?’

Both fair questions.

Like you, we’ve learned a lot during this pandemic year. The most important thing being that we at Campfire have all the right tools to secure, for as many people as we can, something we believe is a basic human right: an amazing manager.

Managers account for many of the factors of engagement we experience at work. They’re often the thing that draws us to a company or, by the same token, drives us away. Below average managers correlate with sleepless nights, interrupted vacations, dis-engaged family dinners, or mental health crises. Great managers correlate with happy spouses, never missing a child’s sporting event, improved relationships, and engaged citizens.

Developing great managers is a stepping stone to attracting and retaining greater people, scaling greater companies, and solving greater problems.

Every business has leadership development goals, but unfortunately, most management training courses are expensive, unengaged, or too time consuming to be sustainable long-term.

At Campfire, we’re confronting those challenges head-on, perfecting manager development so you don’t have to.

Now, we should clarify something. We still see ourselves sitting squarely at the intersection of human connection and personal growth, just with a new approach for creating impact at that intersection. Rather than focusing our discussions on books, we’re focused on people. We’ve pivoted away from our book club style learning experiences and instead are building the best manager development program for startups and high growth companies.  

You asked what Campfire can do for you right now. Here’s our answer:

More amazing managers, fewer ‘middle-bosses.’

By building outcomes driven leadership development tools, we’re eliminating the ‘middle-boss’ and replacing them with awesome leaders. A ‘middle-boss’ wants to always be in the center of things. They stand between you and the real decision makers, do nothing to impact change, and are disinterested in creating a better working environment. Amazing managers are self-aware, they inspire growth by listening and driving towards common goals, and they prioritize amazing work experiences.

More sustainable manager training, zero tradeoffs.

Believe it or not, manager training can be both effective and sustainable. High-quality and budget-friendly. Thorough and doable. Outcomes driven and entertaining. The best manager training tools are the ones devoid of tradeoffs, which is exactly what Campfire is.

More pervasive discussions, less empty conversations.

Group conversations are broken. Some people have a hard time feeling safe, and as a result they struggle to find their voice in the room (or the Zoom). Others can’t stop talking, even when no one is listening. Worst of all, we’re asking all the wrong questions. Campfire helps people have better conversations with more engagement and fewer ‘meeting heroes’. We create inclusive conversations that ask the most important questions. Questions like, “Where do you want to go?” “How do I do this?” “Why does this matter?” “What should I do?” and “Can you help me?”.

More growth, less growing pains.

The best businesses are the businesses with the best people. These are the companies that grow the fastest because they understand that when your people grow, your company grows – not the other way around. Invest in your people by investing in Campfire’s manager development tools. We’ll do the hard work to ensure your HR department becomes the growth gas pedal, not the brakes.

More alignment, one playbook.

Companies with great manager development run from the same playbook. They align around common values and practices so they can help each other more easily and drive towards meaningful outcomes. Businesses with the right leadership development tools become more ‘small-town’ and less ‘corporation’. They’re places where everyone knows everyone and they seek out ways to support each other’s professional goals without losing sight of their mental & emotional health.

More manager development tools, less complexity.

The problems you’re solving are complex, but the tools you use to solve them don’t have to be. In fact, many of life’s most important problems are solved by incredibly simple solutions. Things like shoes, water bottles, bandaids, and fast-food drive-thrus. Leadership development tools should be just as simple. Thanks to the COVID Pandemic, the tools we build have to be adapted to fit in a world where the ‘traditional workplace’ is nonexistent. We built Campfire to be remote-, hybrid-, budget-, time-, and, of course, user-friendly.

More right people, more right places.

Nothing is more important to your business than putting the right people in the right places. You want to position people for success and growth so they can drive the company towards a common vision while at the same time learning new skills and developing themselves for future success. We believe the right discussions centered on the right questions and complemented by curated resources accelerates your company’s leadership development goals.

We’re not here to create more content, more useless tech, or more when-is-this-going-to-end meetings.

What we’re creating instead is more self-ownership, more inclusive conversations, more vision-driven outcomes.

In other words, more Campfires.


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