Dave Knox – Chief Marketing Officer for Rockfish Interactive

[quote style=”boxed”]The only way to bring ideas to life is through action.  Just about every person has an “idea” for the next great company or product.  But ideas are worthless.  I believe that ideas only matter when you take the first step to make it a reality instead of just a dream.  I tried to live up to that belief.[/quote]

Dave Knox is Chief Marketing Officer for Rockfish Interactive, one of the fastest growing digital agencies in the country.  Prior to Rockfish, Knox was a seven year veteran of Procter & Gamble, where he was instrumental in the digital turnaround that led to P&G being named to AdAge’s Digital A-List.  As Brand Manager for Global Branded Entertainment, Dave led the strategy for new business models in venture investment, digital media and original content.  Previously, Dave served as P&G’s Corporate Marketing Brand Manager for Digital Business Strategy, responsible for driving digital innovation and capability across P&G’s 300+ brands worldwide.  Dave’s team made the strategic choices on which digital brand building skills and innovations would be areas of focus for P&G’s brands.

Author of the industry leading blog, HardKnoxLife.com, Dave was named to the iMedia 25 Class of 2010, by Cincinnati Magazine as a “Next Power Broker” and Media Industry News as a “2010 Social Media Superstar.”  Dave speaks frequently on brand and digital marketing, including appearances at Mashable Connect, SXSW, TEDxCincy, American Express Innovation Summit, Web 2.0 Summit, and the IEG Sponsorship Conference.

Dave is active in the entrepreneurial community, serving as a Board Observer / Advisor to multiple venture-backed companies.  He is a partner in Rockfish Brand Ventures, serves on the Board of VCU Brandcenter in Richmond, VA, and is the co-founder of The Brandery – one of the top 10 startup accelerators in the country.

What are you working on right now?

Right now we are in the midst of preparing for our sophomore class at The Brandery.  We had a tremendous turnout of applications and will be selecting our companies in the coming days for a start on August 1st.

What does your typical day look like?

I start nearly every day by 7:00 AM with a meeting or two for breakfast and coffee…typically up at Bow Tie Café in Mt Adams.  I’ll be back at the Rockfish office by 9 AM and the typical day usually ends at that point.  My day is filled with new business pitches, brainstorming ideas for clients and listening to pitches from startups for Rockfish Brand Ventures.  Unfortunately scheduled is usually jammed with back to back meetings for most it.  When The Brandery is in session, I usually spend a couple of hours there at the end of the day, meeting with the startups and listening to our great guest speakers and mentors.

3 trends that excite you?

The first trend I am excited for is the rebirth of entrepreneurship.  We aren’t repeating the Dot Com Bubble but we are definitely seeing excitement and pride return to getting involved with startups.  And it’s happening beyond just Silicon Valley.  The second trend is the increasing pace of technology innovation.  It’s hard to believe that smartphones have only been a major force in the market for less than 5 years, tablets just over a year and Kinect just 6 months ago.  The final trend that excites me is watching Gen Y emerge in the workforce and their desire to make a difference beyond just earning a paycheck.  Their desire to give back to the communities where they live and the world in general is contagious

How do you bring ideas to life?

The only way to bring ideas to life is through action.  Just about every person has an “idea” for the next great company or product.  But ideas are worthless.  I believe that ideas only matter when you take the first step to make it a reality instead of just a dream.  I tried to live up to that belief.

What inspires you?

People who get in the game instead of sitting on the sidelines.

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

Crossing the line from confidence to cocky.  Always know where that line is and realize the amazing talent of people you can learn from around you.  I was taught that early on at P&G and its really served me well.  Luckily it was a mistake that came with a valuable lesson.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

There are hundreds of millions of dollars waiting to shift in digital shopper marketing.  Figure out a way to use technology to improve the shopping experience for consumers, retailers and brands.  And go beyond the obvious of a bar code scanner app or digital coupons!

What do you read every day? Why?

My RSS reader is loaded with over 100 different blogs and publications.  I also read a ton of links for Twitter and other Social Media channels.  The great thing about knowledge consumption today is that your social network can be your filter to what you should pay attention to.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?

I love to read so its nearly impossible for me to recommend just one.  For me, its usually whatever I just finished.  For some reason, the book I have been recommending lately is Onward by Howard Schultz.  It’s just a great honest story about trying to save Starbucks.

What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?

Right now I’d have to say my Apple iPad.  It has done so much to change how I consumer content, which is a huge importance in my life.  On the iPad, I cant live without Instapaper, Google Reader, Dropbox and TweetDeck.  Those are my fire hoses for learning.

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

David Cohen from TechStars.

Do startups have to be started on the coasts (San Fran, NYC, etc)?

Obviously this is one where I’m a bit biased but I’m a big believer that people can start great companies from anywhere.  While some places have more critical mass (which can make it easier), you can also run into group think in the likely startup cities.  What I love about starting a company in a place like Cincinnati is that it forces a startup to focus on a market beyond just early adopters.   Start your company where there is a community to support you, wherever that may be.



[box size=”small” border=”full”]This interview was brought to you by Rohit Jain who works in business development. You can follow Rohit via his blog and on Twitter. [/box]