Scolding is the New Enforcement

November 23, 2010

Cops and robbers.  Law and order.  Blood and guts.  Raids and lawsuits.  These are not attractive words.  Despite this, they are a regular part of the protection of the brilliant people who invent fun toys, trendy clothes and health aids.  If you could change it all today, would you?  “Change what, Rob?”, you say.  I propose that many of us could solve a disagreement without slugging someone, as we also could cause more than half of the counterfeiters out there to stop being bad if we ask them nicely.  Is Rob off his rocker?  Not at all.

Pareto’s Principle states that, most often, there is an 80/20 ratio between effect and cause.  I believe this ratio suitably applies itself to criminal activity, particularly white collar crime such as trademark counterfeiting.  Roughly 20 percent of criminals will not quit being criminals.  They will cheat, lie and steal in order to make a dishonest living at the expense of their fellow man.  It is my experience that 80 percent of offenders would choose a different path if that chance was handed to them.  Time and again I will find a target whose counterfeit sales business appears to be laying the foundation for a moderately successful startup.  The timeliness of such a case has two great benefits.  The first is that they have not yet caused enough damage to warrant a major action.  The second is that, if caught early enough, they have (hopefully) not yet tasted the ‘easy money’ aspect of white collar crime that all too often turns an otherwise impressionable person into a determined criminal.

I have had more success for my clients by catching those in the 80 percent red-handed and scolding them than I have ever had by engaging in formal criminal or legal action.  Venturebeat recently featured me in a story entitled “Private Eyes Aim to Kill Black Ops Video-Game Piracy With Kindness” where we quelled potential disaster involving dozens of subjects all over the United States by dealing with each of them swiftly, respectfully and, most of all, sternly.  What I am proposing is similar to how many parents teach their children to resolve their own interpersonal problems.  Many folks want what they do to make a difference in the lives of others.  That is what I want.  I know some of you do too.  If you turn your strategy to more moderating and less punishing, I promise you will make a difference and also win more cases.