Should your startup be thinking about the federal government?

Between SOPA, PIPA and the JOBS Act, Silicon Valley and Washington D.C. have had a lot to talk about recently. Aside from headline-grabbing legislation, between work Visas and patents, there’s a good chance that at some point, your startup will need to interact with the federal government. And when it does, Michael McGeary is there to help.
McGeary is co-founder and director of Engine Advocacy, a new lobbying organization, whose mission is to “create an environment where technological innovation and entrepreneurship thrive by educating, collaborating with, and involving startups in shaping policy.” For example, when the fights against SOPA and PIPA arose, Engine Advocacy built an app that generated 30,000 calls to legislators. They also published a letter from 15 tech CEOs against SOPA in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post as well as collaborated to schedule and amplify the impact of the January 18th blackout.
So as you are out building your business, how should you concern yourself with the government? When you first start out, McGeary says, you probably shouldn’t. Stay focused on your product. But be aware that the government is there, and rather than reacting to proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA, the entrepreneurial community needs to be more proactive.
McGeary sat down with us for a brief video chat about how startups should start thinking about the federal government, and lessons founders can learn from political campaigns.