Co-founder and CEO of TECHEAD
Philise Conein is co-founder and CEO of TECHEAD.
Please say a few words about yourself and your background. What were you doing before you started Techead?
I had been working as a computer graphics artist since 1985 with Riddick Communications here in Richmond. In September 1988, I left Riddick to join Phil in our first company aptly named VS Graphics. We named it after the VideoShow player that back then was used to play animations of logos that we created in the Lotus Freelance application. Our company name changed a few times until we finally settled on Techead in 1997.
If you could go back, what advice would you give yourself before you started Techead?
Trust myself more and give myself permission to make mistakes. You will learn from them. The sun will still rise in the morning, and you will survive.
What is one nugget of advice that you would share with others looking to start their entrepreneurial career?
Align yourself with trusted advisors early on. We still seek counsel from many of the same attorneys, accountants and insurance folks that we started with in 1988. They have seen the triumphs and the tears through the years of building our business, and they have provided invaluable advice to us. Just as in raising a child, it “takes a village” to start and grow a thriving company.
Being married to your co-founder, Phil, how do you “switch off” Techead when you’re at home?
I won’t lie. This is really tough, and we still struggle to “switch off.” It has been harder during the pandemic, as we have both been working from home remotely for much of the time. We do try to make each other laugh every day, and we (like everyone else since March of 2020) have enjoyed binge watching some streamed shows. A comforting favorite was the “Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories” series on Netflix. A rediscovered pandemic “gift” has been tuning in to the Turner Classic Movies channel (TCM) to revisit old favorites and see some impactful films from the past.
If you could share a beer, glass of wine, soda with any person (dead or alive) who would it be, and why?
I think a dinner party with invited guests Abraham Lincoln, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Christopher Hitchens and Maya Angelou would be fantastic. Can you imagine the delightful banter and inspired debates?
Your life is pretty busy running a company. What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy reading, and I am a big fan of the local library. I am currently reading Mudlark by Lara Maiklem which is a winding history trip told through items she finds on the foreshore of London’s Thames River. It is a fascinating read, and I love how she wraps her discovery of the love/obsession for mudlarking along with the history of the Thames, from the Romans to modern day.
Favorite business book?
I stopped reading business “how to” books years ago. I find that they are repetitive, usually with a couple of catch phrases and flashy cover that lure you to read them. There is no real “secret” to being successful revealed. I do enjoy reading biographies and autobiographies of business people. Some memorable ones are Richard Branson’s Losing My Virginity and the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs.
PS: Fan of your local libraries too? Let’s support local programming and the “extras” that are not publicly funded. Libraries are community treasures for all of us to enjoy.
More about the shirt: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/09/04/dc-library-punk-shirt/