What you focus on, increases

May 6, 2009 — There’s a discussion on a mailing list I belong to about piracy and the iPhone. One of the responders I thought was really insightful. The basic premise is “what you focus on, increases”–at least in your mind–so it’s better not to focus on negative things. In this example, by focusing on the small problem of pirated iPhone apps, bigger opportunities are missed. I’ve reprinted the part below:

There are a variety of sayings along the lines of “what you focus on, increases”. I’m not saying that more people will pirate your software just because you’re paying attention to the pirates, but at least the problem increases in your mind! The more you think about it and worry about it and try to fight it, the bigger it becomes (subjectively speaking). I try to look at it another way entirely. The time and effort I’ve put into my software is a “sunk cost”, and the revenues I receive from sales cannot really offset that cost in a direct way; unlike consulting, where revenues are tied directly to expended effort, in this case it’s basically a different category on the balance sheet. Any person who buys a copy increases my revenue. Anybody who doesn’t buy it, *including*pirates*, has no effect on my revenue. Of course I’d like to increase the number of buyers, but singling out the pirates as the market segment I’d like to expand into seems like a lost cause. A lot of people installing pirated apps are people who just can’t or won’t buy software (since we’re talking about iPhone apps that go for a few dollars, I guess that “can’t” doesn’t even apply, it’s almost exclusively “won’t”). Even in a perfect world of indefeatable piracy protection, those people probably *still* wouldn’t buy apps. They’d just stick to the thousands of free apps that are out there.

Note: I imported this post from my original Wordpress blog.

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