A love letter to The Campfire Union
Last week we had to bid farewell to Landon, our University of Manitoba student who just finished his co-op term with us. Upon leaving, Landon sent us this message with the subject "A love letter to The Campfire Union" which he kindly gave us permission to share with you here.
As my 8 months at The Campfire Union come to an end, I’ve taken some time to reflect on everything we’ve accomplished and how far I’ve come as a developer. Coming into this I knew I would get great work experience no matter where I ended up, after all University of Manitoba Computer Science Co-op is the 2nd best in the country (shameless plug). But, what I ended up getting from The Campfire Union was much more than that.
From day one they told me “the best idea wins, no matter who comes up with it” and with that statement, I got invited into the most open, creative, and collaborative environment I have ever been a part of. They showed me an open development process that utilizes the community and outside opinions to create the best product possible. They taught me how to better handle criticism… And had patience as I went through the process of learning how to better handle criticism. They invited me into client meetings, connected me with the sector council New Media Manitoba, and gave me the opportunity to work with incredible artists. They opened their books and took time that they didn’t have to teach me the business side of things and how to run a socially responsible business. They showed me how important it is to have people like Brian Bowman, Kevin Chief, and New Media Manitoba who will step up and go to bat for small businesses. I now understand how much that little bit of extra runway means to startups and how seemingly small daily decisions can shape the future of a company.
The biggest lesson I learned at Campfire was the importance of the professional relationships you make. Taking time out of your day to demo your progress to someone who is interested is not an inconvenience, it’s an opportunity to excite, share, and promote. When you’re as passionate as the people here at Campfire any excuse to talk about what you love and share something truly awesome is a good excuse. Over the last 8 months we’ve had hundreds of people come through our office to try out things we’ve created and that exposure has been invaluable to me. Whether it’s an excited group of grade 5’s or public representatives (who were probably more excited than the grade 5’s) the ability to transport someone to another world with something we created, even just for a minute, is a feeling I’ll never forget.
The number of talented people I got to work side by side with over the last 8 months has been insane. From an Emmy award winning 3D artist Liem Nguyen to two recent Red River College graduates Sam Schoenborn and Brenna Blackman just starting to make their names and an amazing technical artist Graham Wiebe. Also Dr. Pourang Irani and all the people from the Human Computer Interaction lab at the U of M doing incredible work with input, virtual reality, and augmented reality. All the people in the co-working space who took the time to make me feel welcome, thank you. About a month ago Campfire hired their first employee Ryan Hill. It has been a privilege to work with and learn from him over the last few weeks and I know that with his mind for game design and Vinay’s business experience under the guidance of Les, John, and Rachael they are ready to explode right alongside the entire VR industry.
I came here to research multiplayer interactions in virtual reality and data analytics for virtual reality, but I am leaving with so much more. There’s nothing I can say that will accurately express my gratitude for everything you have done for me. Even after 8 months of working with all of you I am still blown away by your raw talent, your determination, your work ethic, and your positive attitudes that kept me going through the last minute pushes. So for the opportunities, the connections, the experience, the exposure, and most of all your friendships, thank you. I am excited to be one of the people stopping by for demos and I can’t wait to see what you create next!
Landon, we said it before but thank you again for all your hard work, amazing attitude, and everything you've done to help push Campfire a little closer towards our lofty goals. We miss you already, dude!
- by Landon Butterworth