Steve Jobs was not a people person. When in a rotten mood - which apparently was often - he’d storm around Apple reducing employees to tears. But he was Steve Jobs. And you’re not. Today’s startup founders are learning that hiring and keeping the best talent may be the most important ingredient for success. That’s the eye-opening conclusion found in ReadWriteWeb’s exclusive new special report, “The Talent Wars.”

The Talent Wars: Today’s Toughest Startup Challenge, written by Tim Devaney and Tom Stein, gathers insights from successful startup founders, investors, recruiters and other experts to show that these days, the toughest part of starting a company may no longer be getting funded or making sales, but attracting and keeping talented people. If you’re not able to get the right people on board, you’ll have a hard time getting investors or customers to sign on.

Smart venture capitalists already know this, of course. Which is why brilliant people with great ideas are no longer enough. Increasingly, they prefer to fund startups whose founders have a knack for recruiting and retaining the best workers.

A Deep Bench

“When we look at a company as a potential investment, we try to understand the depth of the bench in place, what sort of contacts they have in the industry and can they credibly hire versus the competition,” says Jeff Clavier, managing partner at SoftTech VC. “We look for leaders who can attract talent better than others.”

SoftTech has funded Fab, BrightRoll, FitBit and Wildfire Interactive, among many other promising startups. When the firm runs analysis on potential investments, it carefully assesses not only the technical abilities of the founders but also their personalities. Do they have the charisma to project their vision? Are they liked in the right circles? If not, they’re not apt to lure top-shelf talent. Because there are plenty of other companies hiring.

“If you’re not well-plugged-in and have no ability to tap into this informal network of talent to bring your team together, it means your opportunity will be slower to build,” Clavier says. “And in this environment, there is no place for slow execution.”

Pitched Battles for Top Tech Talent

That environment is today’s tech industry, where there’s a pitched battle going on for the best employees. Even as the country as a whole continues to struggle with high unemployment, in Silicon Valley even mediocre people get six-figure salaries and multimillion-dollar stock packages. The most talented (or lucky) people - like the 13 employees of Instagram - get “acqhired” by Mark Zuckerberg for $77 million each.

Download the Free Report

To learn more about how your startup can find, hire and keep the top talent and quality workers it needs to succeed, download The Talent Wars: Today’s Toughest Startup Challenge now.