talkTECH Insighter

Vixely | Girl Crush: Rebekah Iliff & Kristen Tischhauser, Founders of talkTECH Communications

The dynamic duo, Rebekah Iliff, Co-Founder and CEO, and Kristen Tischhauser, Co-Founder and President of talkTECH Communications, are out to conquer the world again! In their recent interview with Vixely, they tell us what it feels like to be a female entrepreneur as they give a fresh new approach to marketing and public relations and launching technology startups.

See the article below originally posted on Vixely’s Girl Crush section:

Rebekah, Co-Founder & CEO of talkTECH

Meet Vixely’s dynamic, charismatic Girl Crush duo, Rebekah Iliff & Kristen Tischhauser, founders of talkTECH Communications. Rebekah and Kristen are blazing a new trail in marketing and pubic relations by applying a fresh approach to launching technology startups. Their rapidly growing company assists tech startups by building their digital media brand, harnessing the power of the blogosphere and social media influencers to broaden brands’ buzz and more deeply infiltrate media markets. The result is more effective, brand-conscious media coverage for tech startups at their most crucial time—right at their launch.

Rebekah, Kristen & Nora at General Assembly’s SF launch party.

Vixely had the pleasure of meeting Rebekah and Kristen at none other than startup General Assembly’s San Francisco launch party and immediately bonded. These women are a breath of fresh air in the technology scene, where they stand out as tech-sophisticates with a cool, creative edge. We love their enthusiasm for enabling startup creators to reach their growth and product milestones through media and for Rebekah and Kristen’s role as innovators themselves, putting a twist on traditional PR for more effective communication between tech startups and their audience.

Read on to learn more about their story as female entrepreneurs, what inspires them, dealbreakers and more!

Vixely (V): What is your name and your company?

Rebekah Iliff (RI): Co-founder & CEO, talkTECH Communications.

Kristen, Co-Founder & President of talkTECH

Kristen Tischhauser (KT): Co-founder & President,talkTECH Communications.

V: What is your hometown and college? Where do you live now?

RI: Hometown: Topeka, Kansas. Undergrad: Loyola University Chicago. Grad School: Antioch University at Los Angeles. Live: Currently, I split time between the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

KT: Hometown: Bloomington, Illinois. Undergrad: Butler University (Indianapolis, IN). Live: Currently, I live in Venice, CA (Silicon Beach—yep, I said it.)

V: What made you decide to pursue this path and start your own company?

RI: My co-founder (Kristen Tischhauser) and I identified an opportunity to democratize PR around startup launches, and we are passionate about innovation in the communications industry—as it going through some major changes. Furthermore, we wanted to build something that was sustainable and could continue to operate without our full-time engagement as we “grow up” and do things like snag hubbies and pop out babies. Ultimately, we felt there was a void in the startup space and wanted to offer an affordable, streamlined approach with realistic solutions to boost visibility across all channels. The game plan: we’re in the works of “productizing” the activities around tech startup launches.

KT: My co-founder (Rebekah Iliff) and I have always had an interest in anything and everything innovative and tech-related. Combine that with our love for communications and startups and you get talkTECH!

V: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of being a female entrepreneur or changemaker?

RI: I’m not sure it has anything to do with being a female entrepreneur, as I wouldn’t be able to compare it to being any other type of entrepreneur, but in general what “rocks my world” is identifying a need or problem and then developing a creative solution that seemingly makes something better (or at least more tolerable). Also, because I am fortunate enough to sit, stand, dance, and collide with other innovators regularly, I am inadvertently fulfilled by their excitement and creativity. Another aspect of this is the whole idea of taking (literally) nothing and making it into something. Like magic.

KT: It’s exciting to be at the pulse of innovation and knowing that we’re an integral part of our client’s launch process. Knowing there’s value in what you do 75% of the day is fulfilling.

V: How do you see talkTECH evolving in the future?

RI: We are in the process of  “productizing” the activities around tech startup launches and over the next year will be developing a hybrid platform which will include a DIY model for both earned and bought media. Our goal is not to be another Horn Group or Ogilvy, rather we want to be a partner for them in the startup space—because we understand the ecosystem and how to get the wheels greased to get things moving.

KT: I would like to see partnerships with some heavy hitters in the PR and ad agency community. This would be a natural fit since we’re ear to ground in the startup space. It could be a mutually beneficial relationship for both parties.

Rebekah & Kristen presenting talkTECH at MEGA startup weekend.

V: Who are your inspirations?

RI: I am inspired by no one in particular, but rather, anyone who is willing to see something they don’t like, or doesn’t make sense to them, or is in need of a better alternative and then they go and DO something about it. This could mean (my mother) deciding to volunteer at a women’s shelter because she believes that by doing so she can make a difference. Or this could mean (me) building, alongside my team, a company that operates with a value system we believe in, doing things we believe are important for the renewing and rebuilding of the economy. The outcomes are somewhat unimportant—the idea is that it’s about someone doing something and not talking about it, pontificating about it, or judging the way in which others do it as they sit on their keysters eating bon bons.

KT: Anyone that takes a chance on following their passion and has the guts to try new things out of their element. Whether this means someone taking on a new hobby like ukulele lessons, an immigrant learning a new language, or someone leaving a “comfy” job and working for a startup that their passionate about.

V: What sort of women do you try to reach with the talkTECH brand?

RI: Well, by default, our company reaches female and male tech startup entrepreneurs alike—we are somewhat gender agnostic.

V: Last trip or holiday you went on?

RI: Horseback riding at a dude ranch in Colorado called “Lost Valley Ranch.”

KT: Surfing and Stand Up Paddleboarding in Honolulu, HI (aka paradise) with my BFF.

V: If you could invite anyone to a dinner party, dead or alive, who would be sitting at your table?

RI: Ayn Rand—I’d say, “I really like your books and stuff but come here and give me a hug because you need one bad.”

KT: Frida Kahlo.

V: What are you reading?

RI: Cleopatra (she is MY girl crush), Fifty Shades of Grey (for the pictures of course), and Steve Jobs’ biography (J.C. what an A-hole).

KT: Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd.

V: Turn-ons?

RI: In people, I typically look for (are “turned on” by) three things – whether it’s a romantic partner or a strategic partner: 1) A sense of humor, not taking themselves too seriously 2) a high level of integrity and 3) loyalty. End of story.

KT: Someone that’s genuine, loyal, can laugh at themselves, laugh with me, and can make lemonade out of lemons.

V: Turn-offs or dealbreakers?

RI: Arrogance. Aggression. Anti-social tendencies.

KT: Self-righteous, bad manners, insecure—see ya later buddy. Actually, I hope I don’t see you later.

V: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

RI: I was a professional ballerina “back in the day.”

KT: I can’t wink. Wait—is this why I’m still single!?

V: What do you do for fun? What makes you the most happy?

RI: I enjoy meditation, yoga, hiking and horseback riding. These four things keep me sane and serene amidst a somewhat hectic and demanding schedule. What probably makes me the most joyful is spending time with my niece and nephew…they are hilarious and a constant reminder of what’s truly important – and it doesn’t rhyme with “honey.”

KT: Vinyasa Yoga on a regular. I crave it both physically and mentally. It sounds “SoCal cliché” but it really does keep me at ease and allows some serenity around the midst of my crazy schedule.  Also, a relaxing day in Malibu with friends and family makes me a happy camper.

V: If you could give the 18-year old version of yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

RI: Stay focused. Keep in simple. Go with your gut. AND…most importantly…men really do have a terrible time doing anything normal until they are at least 30. Not you, honey. Them.

KT: Follow your intuition—you’re having these feelings for a reason…trust them.

V: What is something you are the most proud of?

RI: Taking my (plethora) of failures—both personal and business—and instead of shrinking and hiding under a rock, moving forward with my head held high, ego in check, and a boatload of humility to build something I believe in.

KT: My kick ass co-founder and amazing team! They are all lovely and shine in their own ways. Couldn’t ask for a better group of power females to take on the world with.

Want more talkTECH, Rebekah and Kristen? Check out:

techTALK Communications website

Follow talkTECH on Twitter: @talkTECHcomm

Follow Kristen on Twitter: @Ktischhy

Follow Rebekah on Twitter: @tTCrebekah 

Rebekah’s writing for Huffington Post.

What Does Being an Entrepreneur Mean to You?

Being an entrepreneur is a source of pride. It also evidences an individual with a huge amount of discipline and focus to be able to build a business a lot of times from just an idea. It is the ambition of an entrepreneur that built the most profitable and successful companies. The only issue is that the word entrepreneurship can often vary from person to person.

Hearpreneur asked entrepreneurs their definition of entrepreneur and here few entrepreneurs we would like to give some special attention:

4) Solving Problems & Driving Society Forward

Courtesy: Yu-kai Chou

Being an entrepreneur is really about solving problems and driving society forward. There are a lot of problems people face every single day.The entrepreneur looks around and asks, “Why hasn’t anyone solved this problem yet?” At that point, the entrepreneur becomes compelled to go out and solve the problem herself – putting everything on the line to create an impact on something she is passionate about. Everyone dreams, but the difference between an entrepreneur and a dreamer is action. Why did you start your business? This is the very reason I started my company. I saw that the majority of brick-and-mortar businesses are failing within three years, even though 95% of total spending is stilling happening offline. Clearly they were doing something wrong. That’s when I set on the journey of helping this entire industry catch up with technology and innovation after being left behind for over 20 years.Thanks to Yu-kai Chou, RewardMe!

7) It’s Never As Easy As You Think

Being an entrepreneur is never as easy as you think it will be but if you continue to experiment, stay persistent; and most importantly; always belief in yourself, you will reach your goals. Why did you start your business? I started Cinegif after being a sports photographer for 10 years and developing a form of video using my photographs.  Cinegif is an Austin, Texas-based software development company that has created a patented video conversion software that helps communicate and tell a story, without the file size, complexity, and cost of traditional video. During my photo shoots I would concentrate on one specific athlete and take repetitive photos of that person so they could see how they moved, their own body language, if their eyes were on the ball etc.  This technique made my photographs become a video which brought up the name Cinegif – combining the “Cinema” like quality of the moving photographs along with the technical format used to create them.

Thanks to Doug Richardson, Cinegif!

17) Doing What 99% of People Won’t Ever Be Crazy Enough To Do

Being an entrepreneur means I’ve done what 99% of people won’t ever be crazy enough or risky enough to do: take a dream and turn itinto something actionable and executable. It means that I’ve fully realized what it is to be self-actualized and autonomous and have the full freedom to create whatever I’m brave enough to imagine.

Thanks to Rebekah Iliff, talkTECH Communications!

Click here to read the rest of the definitions on Hearpreneur.