Welcome to the first episode of our brand new podcast series, backchannel. Each episode is a deep dive into real world stories of the talent partners helping the fastest growing companies build their leadership teams. Together, we’ll learn where the best in the biz spend their time, how they structure their teams, and discuss real-world solutions to the challenges of executive recruiting. Episode 1 According to Sam Jakola from Craft Ventures, talent is a top-2 reason companies succeed or fail—and boy is it competitive out there right now. In our first ever episode of backchannel, Sam gives us his take on why the VC talent partner role is blowing up, walks us through the ways he’s adding value to Craft’s portfolio companies, and gives us a peek behind the curtain to explain how he’s helping them win the war for talent. Here are some highlights from the conversation: Sam’s background (0:30)Sam’s role at Craft (2:07)Working with portfolio companies (2:50)Why VCs are embracing the talent partner role (4:39)The biggest challenge right now (6:26)Michael Scott joke (8:17)Ways to combat the current challenges (8:35)Why founders are looking to talent partners earlier (10:39)How to be more proactive (11:12)Hardest roles to place right now (14:44)Advice to founders when vetting search firms (15:59) If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel or to the backchannel podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or your preferred podcast app.