We attended a Start-up Grind (@StartupGrindDC) event Monday night (12/16) at 1776 (1776dc). In fact, it was the last Start-up Grind event of the year. Start-up Grind is a global start-up community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. Community leader Brian Park (@BrianbPark) has been doing a terrific job attracting exceptional guests to join him at the events, and this month’s was no exception as Gary Shapiro (@GaryShapiro) was on the hot seat for the fireside chat.

If you don’t know Gary, he is the President and CEO of Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which runs the largest technology tradeshow in the country. Gary attended his first Consumer Electronics Show in 1981 and fell in love instantly. At that point he knew where he wanted to be. Under his leadership, CEA was able to turn CES into the largest tech tradeshow in the country, designing it for anyone with an idea, big or small.



One of the main topics Gary touched on was new cutting edge technologies he likes to call “megatrends”.  Gary defined these trends as the next way of technologies that are complete game changers:

  1. Driverless cars
  2. 3D Printing
  3. MEMS

These megatrends are the type of technologies that you would see at CES. For example, 3D printing is growing at an exponential rate, with free downloadable software allowing over 100,000 product designs.

Megatrend-ing technologies are changing not only the products available but the business models around them.

Micro-Electric Mechanical Systems (MEMS) are another technology that you will have to look hard to find at CES. They are the small systems which act as sensors in our cell phones. MEMS are techniques of micro-fabrication and let you sense things in the environment that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to sense yourself. Commercially successful MEMS include:

Motion sensors

Scanning mirrors

RF components

Energy harvesting systems

The main point Gary was focusing on during his talk about megatrends is that you can have a great idea or great product, but it will not be successful if you cannot execute on it. As he said:

“You need to make something happen”

The CEO of a start-up or any company for that matter, has to be committed and passionate about their product and the future of the company. Every start-up is taking an initial risk with their money and time. Gary likes taking risks and doesn’t think a company can grow without a little risk. He said that the great thing about America is that it is ok to fail. If your business fails, you may have lost your money (which you can make back), but you have maintained your reputation and have probably gained more respect from those around you.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Start-up Grind blog where we will cover Gary’s ideas on Ninja Innovation, the Innovation Act of 2013, and more.



To learn more about Start-up Grind and and their events, go to


 We apologize for the blurry pictures. Needless to say, it is a good thing we didn’t start a photography company.