Mark Knowles On So Much More Than Swivel

Two secrets to Mark Knowles’ success, both personally and professionally, are to always be curious, and to fail fast and learn from those failures.

I interviewed Mark for Episode 70 of the PR Talk podcast. We had a candid conversation about a range of topics that went beyond the upcoming marketing conference he’s organizing in Bend called Swivel and delved into float planes, intention setting, serial entrepreneurialism and more.

Besides organizing Swivel, Mark is a principal at Smartz (digital marketing) and The Growler Guys (craft beer), and is the CEO of Pixelsilk (an SEO-friendly CMS). At the end of the interview we learned about how his entrepreneurship began with the proverbial lemonade stand.

Swivel is September 16-17 in BendSwivel Conference

Entering its 12th year, Swivel will be held September 16-17 in Bend, Ore. This year’s event includes well-known speakers, including: Wil Reynolds, Cari Twitchell, Blake Denman and even yours truly will have a stint onstage discussing digital PR.

Swivel also includes an Unconference on the second day, as well as two workshops on customer feedback and content marketing.

Mark’s goal for the conference is bringing together all of marketing’s parts—from creative to technical SEO—and learning how they each work independently and cooperatively.


Traveling Brings Greater Perspective

One of Mark’s passions is travelling. He recently returned from a trip to a remote river near Bristol Bay in Alaska where the only way to access it was via a float plane. Sharing about 1.5 million acres with only a dozen other people gave him perspective, he said, especially when compared to the times his day is dictated by his inbox.

All of that just goes away when you’re out in the wild and looking at all that nature, he said. A little bit hungover from the trip, he said he’ll eventually respond to those emails that are piling up in his inbox. Or maybe he won’t.


The Secrets to Mark’s Success

Listen to the podcast to learn how Mark embraces failure rather than running from it. He also is always curious and learning new things. He said both failing fast (and learning from that failure) and continuing on a learning journey have shaped his professional life.

He also shared his “1-2-3 practice” with us. Each morning he identifies the top three things he can do to make that day a success and sets out to accomplish them as soon as possible.

About the guest: Mark Knowles

Mark Knowles is a serial entrepreneur, including being a principal at Smartz, The Growler Guys and CEO at Pixelsilk. He is an advisory board member for the Search Engine Marketers of Portland (SEMpdx) and organizer of the Swivel conference in Bend. 

Connect and follow Mark on social media:

This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon

Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.

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Amy Rosenberg
Founder and President at Veracity
Writer. Podcaster. Press Friend. Hand Holder.