Meet Our Team: Samuel Braff, Vice President of Product Management
What is your role at Casting Networks?
I am the Vice President of Product Management for Casting Networks and Casting Frontier led by Ram Pitchumani.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The best aspect of this job is getting to work with incredibly talented product managers, designers and engineers to bring to life new features that help people find employment. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to quickly see how impactful your work is on the lives of your customers.
What are you most excited about working on next year?
In 2023 I am most excited to work on Talent Scout for Casting Networks. I truly believe that there is a huge opportunity for us to help connect talent with an agent, and vice versa. This effort will allow us to offer talent new jobs they would otherwise not see, expand the rosters of talent representatives, enrich the submissions seen by casting directors and drive more Premium memberships.
What are some interesting areas you get to focus on at Casting Networks that you didn’t in previous roles?
The most interesting area of focus for me is, without a doubt, the challenge of creating tools that can support both the old- and new-school processes used by casting directors and talent representatives. When we build out our enterprise features we always have to be mindful of the fact that everyone does things in their own particular ways. For many of them, pen-and-paper processing is employed and printable content is a must. And for others, all of their workflow is done via digital means and must be fully functional on devices of all sizes.
What’s something interesting or unexpected about your role that people would be surprised to know?
Considering how many meetings I’m in with so many different individuals in the organization, I’m not sure anyone would be surprised by any answer I give here. But perhaps one unexpected thing would be that I’ve actually written code for the Casting Networks platform. And before anyone asks: yes, they were all thoroughly code-reviewed and adhered to all of our established protocols and compliance guidelines. I’m not a monster!
What drove you to pursue a career in software development?
My career path in software development started in high school. I had a TI-83 graphing calculator and I read the very long owners manual cover-to-cover. I bought a graph-link adapter for it, connected it to my personal computer, and started writing software. My early products were Choose Your Own Adventure games, but I also wrote a very clever application that spoofed deleting your device’s local memory storage. Don’t let anyone at Santa Monica High School know about that last one…
Tell us about a mentor or person who inspired you to get to where you are today.
I don’t know if there’s anyone who I could claim inspiration from, nor have I ever had a mentor. But if I had to credit anyone for assisting me in my career it would probably be a former boss of mine, Brian Alvey. Brian hired me fairly early in my career for his company, Crowd Fusion, which provided me with a tremendous opportunity for personal and career growth. He and I still meet whenever he’s in Los Angeles and he continues to be an amazing resource for all things technology-related. Brian is currently the CTO of WordPress VIP, a content management platform used by CBS, NBCUniversal, Al Jazeera, and News Corp among many others.