File sharing action shows how old fashioned lawyers are

Lawyers are currently issuing letters to people they suspect of illegally engaging in file sharing online. Two law firms are reportedly doing this and already big hitters in the online and mobile arenas, such as 02, are attacking the move. The law firms are arguing that the people they are writing to have downloaded files, such as MP3s, which should have been paid for or should have royalty payments attached to them. For a mere £500, the letters say, you can avoid going to court. Nice money for lawyers – again.

At the root of the problem is the music industry’s continued intransigence on how they earn their money. Deep down they hate downloadable files, they detest the notion of file sharing and, in their heart of hearts they would really like us to all have vinyl records and that the cassette recorder would be banished to the dustbin of history. In other words, the music industry does not really want the “new world”. They want things how they used to be. They want the world the way it was when they didn’t really have to think, when they could go about their business without difficulty.

The fact of the matter is, the world has changed yet the music industry hasn’t. They want the status quo, because the notion of changing, of dispensing with the whole concept of royalty payments and earning their living from the sale of music itself is too big a change to contemplate. And, the chances are, you are the same.

New research shows that human beings have what is known as a “satus quo bias” which is firmly rooted in deep in the middle of our brain. Scans of people being asked to make difficult decisions show that when they opt to stick with the old and not make any awkward changes there is a specific part of the brain which is firing away like crazy. It seems we have an inbuilt, deep rooted system that pushes us to keep things the way they always have been.

So, the chances are you know you need to revamp your website, or go for a multiple website strategy, but you stick with what you’ve got because, well, your brain tells you to. You might even realise logically that you should be using Facebook pages to promote your business, but the thought of moving away from a traditional website to something like that is just too big a jump for your brain’s status quo system. You will probably have several examples of your own you can think of.

But, interestingly, what the study revealed was the power of effective goal setting in over-riding the status quo bias of the brain. When you set effective goals, your status quo centre is less effective at its job. The problem, it seems, for many people with their online business plan is the lack of proper goals. Rather than worrying about the jump from a website to a Facebook page, if you concentrate more on the goals you are seeking from that change, you are more likely to be able to achieve it, overcoming the immense power of your status quo bias.

One of the features of serial entrepreneurs is their goal setting ability. They face immense challenges to the status quo, but always appear to overcome their brain’s natural desire not to change. Their goal setting ability could well be the reason why this happens.

So, if you want to improve your business on the Internet, forget the logic, forget the planning – instead concentrate on setting those goals and desires for your company and you will find the changes you need to make much easier. If you are in the music business, you need to realise that your goals need to be in the future – having a goal that you’d like it like it was, is only making your status quo centre fire on all cylinders. And if you are a lawyer, well from the letters being sent out this week it would appear your only goal is to make us dislike your profession even more.

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