X-Message-Number: 10435
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 15:04:47 -0700
From: Jeff Davis <>
Subject: selling cryonics

     Selling Cryonics

	WARNING: the following may not be suitable for all audiences.  Proceed at
your own risk.

	On April 28th, Saul Kent offered his essay on the failure of cryonics, in
which he wrote:

"Another myth that has permeated cryonics from the beginning is that there
has never been a really good effort to promote cryonics by a professional
promoter/publicist/sales person, and that if we had the right promoter and
enough money to do the job right, there would be rapid, accelerating growth
in the movement. I contend that this is the exact opposite of the truth."

	I disagree.  No myth; truth.

	Consider.  Someone is offering for sale perfect health, perpetual youth,
and an opportunity to experience all that the future has in store, in a
society at least as good as the one we've got now, and probably much, much
better.  He hires a salesman and sends him out.  The salesman comes back,
shakes his head and say, "No one's buying."  Which of the following
possible conclusions seems most likely?

(1) The product is unsellable.
(2) The salesman's approach is inadequate.
(3) The salesman's approach is monumentally inadequate.

	When asked about his approach, the salesman says, "I tell them, ' We wait
till you die, then we flush out your blood, pump you full of anti-freeze,
freeze your corpse, inflicting some damage in the process--but no
matter--then we keep you frozen until we learn how to fix you, then we
restore you to life, youthful and healthy, and send you on your way.  So
give me a hundred grand and I'll sign you up.'"

	We begin to see the problem.  Now let me state the obvious.  The character
of the product in question is unprecedented, as is the marketing challenge.
A systematic analysis conducted according to proven methodologies of market
research (a fascinating project, possibly breaking new ground in the field
of marketing) would be really helpful.  Without it we have cocktail party
conversation. (Though real breakthroughs have been known to appear on
cocktail napkins.)

	Saul goes on:

   "... there is a long history of competent promoters, entrepreneurs and
sales people committing themselves to the growth of cryonics,..."

	 Again, I disagree, and Saul's own phrasing seems to support me,
characterizing them, largely, as a passel of hucksters.
	"... the slickest, most persuasive promoter I've ever met.",
	"... two fast-talking promoters",

one of whom Saul quotes as saying:
	" I've taken care of it all. The first person will be frozen in 	a few
months on international TV with the Pope and other 	celebrities 	in
attendance. After that, Juno (the cryonics 	company) expects to be freezing
thousands of people a year, 	with the company going public right after we
freeze a Nobel-prize 	winning scientist."

	The Pope. You betcha.  He'll get the word out.  He has a long history as a
competent promoter.  And then a nobel-prize-winning scientist--yahoo!  You
can't GET a better endorsement than that.  We're talking world-class
credibility here.  Noble-prize-winning smart, and cooperative enough to die
right on schedule.  Now that's planning!  Dang! I'm impressed. How
surprised and saddened everyone must have been, when, as Saul observes,
"... none of this happened."  And the remaining cast of sales
professionals: the oil speculator, the real estate speculator, the crack
insurance salesman, the almost-governor of Texas...look, I love ya Saul,
baby, but this is no professional sales effort, it's a flippin' circus.
(Saul, don't hate me forever, you're doing a good thing, and, besides,
humor is a blessing.)

	A professional marketing plan begins with research to identify specific
market segments, and a sales strategy tailored to each segment,  some
psychological analysis, some pilot strategies, some test marketing, some
focus groups, some follow-up evaluation, some fine tuning, and then
perhaps, a gradually expanding effort.  Absent evidence of such a plan, I'd
say it's time to return to the original question, "How do you sell cryonics?"

	But before I do that, I think I'll take a moment to cut the pioneers some
slack, and show some respect.  

	In life, timing plays a big role.  For at least 40,000 years before Dr.
Ettinger published "The Prospect", humans had come to know death as a
certainty, so it seems reasonable that it should take them a while to get
over it.  

	In the early 60s, to an unsophisticated America, cryonics could only have
been seen as the most outlandish of science fiction. There was no genetic
engineering, no computers, no organ transplants, no cloning, no space
travel, no hint of nanotechnology, no idea of a technology for cellular
repair or for the need of such a technology.  Cryonics was a dream, an
alien meme. Newly minted it would be, by definition, ahead of its time:
unbelievable, unacceptable, unsellable.  In short, cryonics would have to
wait for the world to catch up.  

	Meanwhile there was work to do.  To "sell" cryonics would take the
formation of a core group of advocates, and their promotional efforts over
many years, in the face of substantial ridicule, to lay the groundwork for
a wider acceptance.  It would take time and science to bring the world to a
level of technological sophistication where the techniques of cryonic
suspension could be seen as achievable. It would take a population so
accustomed to the ever-accelerating pace of technological progress, that
the death meme, ancient and entrenched, might become vulnerable to the meme
of technological possibility.  Can that be the state at which we have
arrived today?  I suggest that it is--if not now, when?--and that the
perception of cryonics marketing as a failure is at least partly about
timing.  Visionaries are always early and impatient. 

	On May 1st Saul wrote:

"... I think most people are aware (to one degree or another) of the
following perceptions, which strongly influence them in deciding not to
sign up for cryonics:

1)	No major human or animal organ has been cryopreserved, thawed and
transplanted successfully.
2)	No human or large animal has ever been revived after cryopreservation.
3)	Animal and human tissues are seriously damaged by freezing and thawing.
4)	It is not possible to restore people to life after "death".
5)	Virtually all mainstream scientists say that  "Cryonics won't work!"

	I think that these perceptions contribute collectively to the opinion that
cryonics won't work, and that this opinion is the number one reason people
don't sign up."

	Again, I disagree, but beyond that, if you look closely at the above, you
might just find, hidden in plain sight, the main reason for the cryonics
marketing failure.  

	The above is a "rational" argument.  Putative factual elements, mobilized
and presented in logical fashion to compel acceptance of a conclusion.
Facts.  Discovery of facts.  Ordering of facts. Assessments based on facts.
Decisions based on facts. This is rationalism.  Most cryonicists think of
themselves as rationalists, and as a consequence, individually and even
more so collectively, they misread human nature.  Human beings are
creatures of passion, profoundly so; and consequently, profoundly
irrational.  The cryonicists' failure to grasp this fundamental truth lies
at the heart of their marketing failure.  They have addressed the sales
problem as a problem of persuasion by rational exposition, when, in fact,
it is a wholly emotional event.  Rationality is only the thinnest, most
insubstantial veneer, overlaid on a billion years of instinct and passion.

	Salesmen know.  You sell the sizzle not the steak.

	So what then is the reason people don't sign up, beyond a concept too new,
and unenlightened salesmanship?  Let's look at the psychological basis for
rejecting an idea, and see what it implies about the wide range of reasons
given for rejecting cryonics.  

	Group social structure evolved because it has survival advantages.
Advantages against predators and advantages against competing groups of the
same or similar species. When humans developed the capacity for cognition
and abstraction, the herd became the tribe, and the patterns of perceived
reality became a belief structure.  A belief structure held in common is
the membership card to the group, with all that that implies for individual
identity and survival.  Consequently, any idea which conflicts with an
individual's belief structure, threatens survival, and is rejected
reflexively.  Thus when a Fredric Pohl, who clearly possesses the
intellectual qualifications to embrace cryonics, says vaguely, "It doesn't
seem right", you're seeing an example of that reflex in action.  And in
considering all the anecdotes of cryonics rejection, I am drawn to the
conclusion that most all of them originate in that reflex.  (Could it be
that all human contentiousness over ideas is a manifestation of this
primitive reflex?)  

	So what does this have to do with the reality of cryonics sales?  Well,
the empiricist tries stuff till he finds something that works.  The
theorist seeks underlying principles from which he hopes to fashion a more
deliberate approach. (What's this called?  Let's see...ah, yes.  Science.)
Consider the rejection reflex as the underlying principle.

	So the question becomes, how to penetrate with a "foreign" idea, a belief
structure protected by a strong, pre-rational, rejection reflex?   A nerdy
formulation, but hey, that's science!

So here are some general approaches.  

	Plant the idea before the defenses are built, ie. when they're young and
impressionable.  As the twig is bent so grows the meme. (Forgive me, I just
couldn't resist.)  Disguise the idea and sneak it in (fable or folk tale or
TV series).  Escort the idea in with a trusted emissary: mom, Doc Smith,
cultural icon, Walter Cronkhite.  Hitch the idea to a powerful force: love,
sex, money, freedom, fear.  Seek and exploit a moment of enhanced
vulnerability, ie., when the defenses are breached by circumstance.(More on
this later.)  Attack the defenses with deliberate violence: Enlightenment
and life, or ignorance and death? Your choice.  Find a back door/unguarded
entry.(More later.)  Lay seige and wear them down.  Peaceably persist,
persuade, assist, insinuate, assimilate, and convert. (Current cryonics
strategy?)  Innovate.

 	Here are some tactics.
Seduce, don't persuade.  

	The harder you try: the more needy you look, the more it seems that you're
trying to sell a bill of goods, the more they resist.  Less is more.  Tease
them.  Tempt them with the juiciest rewards cryonics has to offer--health,
youth, sex, money, power, immortality-- and then turn and walk away. The
less you try the more they will chase after you and the harder they will
work to persuade themselves. 

	Pull them with temptation, and push them with insecurity, fear of
rejection, or fear of loss.  "It's not for you", "Not for the stupid", "If
you crave a hole in the ground, go for it", "You say God wants you in
Heaven?  Please, please, don't let me keep you or God waiting!" "We have
FIVE BILLION candidates, we don't NEED you." "If you need convincing, do it
yourself; we don't have the time."  This approach is orders of magnitude
more powerful than any tedious list of facts.

	People want what they can't have.  They opened a club in New York.  It was
called Studio 54.  They put a staff member at the door to screen patrons so
that only the "right" people would be allowed in.  In no time at all the
line stretched around the block and the rest is history.  

	Cryonics is not for everyone.  Establish entry requirements. Make the
candidates pass an exam. (Yes, it's a trick, but you have to help them get
past their own defenses.) Cryonics is not for everyone.  Exclude murderers,
rapists, child-molesters, armaments manufacturers, politicians, tobacco
company execs.  Cryonics is not for everyone.  Only the: elite, fortunate,
hip, worthy, just, wise. etc. get into cryonics.  Only the "right" people
will be smart enough to recognize that "Once-in-a-Lifetime" opportunity,
and gutsy enough to go for it.  Head down in a dewar of liquid nitrogen,
everybody is special.

Greed.  "Greed is good." GG

	God forgive me (just a phrase), but I do love this one.  Greed is just
so,...reliable.  Can anyone dispute this one?  An individual spends a
lifetime fighting to build something only to lose it to decrepitude and
death?  Not!  Now, you CAN take it with you.  Need I say more?
Fear, Anger, Stubbornness, Outrage.

	The dark side of the force.  We don't like to talk about them, but there
they are.  And like greed, they are reliable.  And jam-packed with
emotional energy waiting to be tapped.


	Now here's one we like to talk about.  But since it is key to  three
markets which, in my view, are immediately exploitable, and whose
exploitation can bring about the immediate breakout of cryonics, I'll
simply employ it as a segue to the discussion of those opportunities.

	Eventually, cryonics will grow into a broad spectrum of career, lifestyle,
and investment opportunites.  But for now, in its formative stage, simple
public awareness, acceptance, and some prospect for a growing revenue
stream to support research would be a realistic goal.  While the
identification of and focus on high demand markets would seem to be the
logical approach, I do not see it being applied.  Instead, there is an
unfocused dissemination of the idea to everyone, and no one. (Am I wrong?
Then set me straight.) 

	The first market is, at the risk of seeming foolish:

Pet owners.  Now don't check out on me too quickly.  I realize that most
people, even pet owners themselves, view the extremes of devotion of
(other) pet owners toward their pets as silly and embarrassing (it's
embarrassing because they know that secretly they feel the same way).  Pet
cemeteries is a bit much, right?  Wake up and smell the opportunity!  Pet
suspensions would be a revenue stream; an opportunity for fully-funded
research, development, and clinical experience in legal pre-mortem
suspensions; and an unparalleled opportunity for leveraging human
sign-ups--"Benji will want you to be there when he wakes up."  The power of
the bond between human and pet is as powerful as the pet cemetery is
incredible.  I absolutely love exploiting human foibles.  It's so,...human.  

	Scoff if you must, but then don't bitch and moan about the moribund state
of cryonics and the threat this poses to your eventual successful
suspension.  Pride goeth before the fall.

	Also worth noting in this context is the "Missyplicity Project".  Scratch
the surface and I think you will find a carefully orchestrated and
professionally executed plan to cash in on pet cloning, complete with
web-based publicity.  Perhaps there's a lesson to be learned here.

	Human beings idealize the lives of those they love, projecting onto them
their own hopes and dreams.  Perhaps it's just a fluke of evolution, but
not necessarily a tragic one, that it is easier to love another than to
love oneself.  Enter the life insurance salesman, and it is no wonder that
people will pay for the comfort of believing that their projected hopes and
dreams are secure.  I thank George Smith for bringing this to my attention.
 We will often more readily pay to save others than we will pay to save
ourselves.  Which brings me to my second market, which I call

The Society for the Preservation of Cultural Treasures.  

	What is a Frank Sinatra worth? A George Burns? A Barbra Streisand?  A
Pablo Casals? A Lauren Bacall?  An Oprah Winfrey?  A Michael Jordan?  An
Albert Einstein?  These people, and others like them are (or were) loved by
MILLIONS.  Millions who would readily pay to "save" them.

	Don't misunderstand. Some of these people are dead. Most could afford
their own suspensions.  Most would, presumably, in light of the current
perception of cryonics, reject the idea of suspension, with one of the
usual explanations.  That's not the point.    
	Ordinary people will break down their own defenses and readily embrace
cryonics if it is linked to something so personally heroic and emotionally
compelling as saving those they love and idolize.  From there it is a small
step to embracing cryonics for themselves.   

	Moreover, these cultural icons--stars if you will--are the energy source
at the center of the the human cultural experience.  Thrusting cryonics
into that fire--a step that seems at some point inevitable--will emblazon
it incandescent in the public imagination.  Which is precisely where it
should be.

	So the SPCT solicits funds/donations from fans for the preservation of
their idols, for research, or for later use by the donor as a prepayment
for their own suspension.  In the process the "It'll never work" meme is
transformed into the "I am committed to making it work" meme.

	There are those who will express concern over the firestorm of controversy
that this must inevitably provoke.  But cryonics will not grow without a
helluva a fight.  So if not now, when?

	Which brings me to the last of the immediately exploitable markets.  It is
at once the largest, most obvious, most accessible, most challenging, most
dangerous, and most controversial. 

	One of the original applications of cryonics was for the treatment of
currently untreatable medical conditions.  Get to the future and get cured.
 The reality of disease and death from which this idea originated is still
with us.  At the following internet address


you can find the statistics for 564,000 people who will(?) succomb to
cancer in 1998.

	Where is the outreach program to inform these candidates of the cryonics

	When we talk about missed opportunities to promote cryonics, this one
regularly suggests itself to me.  Beyond the missed opportunity, however,
is what has often struck me something of an ethical lapse on the part of
the cryonics community.  Every day, in oncology clinics around the world,
people are being given a death sentence.  The doctor describes two options:
we can make you comfortable, or we can experiment on you.  Most people are
aware of a third option--the Kevorkian option--but few know of the cryonics
option. In light of the staggering numbers, the terror and tragedy, the
pain and suffering and expense, if cryonics had no more to offer than
bouyant hopefulness it would be a blessing on that basis alone!  But it has
SO MUCH MORE to offer!  

	Success is a near certainty.  We cannot be cowed or diverted from our
ethical duty by dissapproval, small mindedness, or lack of vision.  We
should be pursuing cancer victims like a cheap lawyer on his way to a
hundred-car pile-up.  

 	I personally favor pre-mortem suspensions at any time as a matter of
choice.  The idea that the govt. should control this matter is
unacceptable.  It stems directly from the fact that the world is dominated
by irrationality and governed largely by default.  Find a jusrisdiction
that allows pre-mortem suspensions and conduct them there; or invent such a
jurisdiction; or ... do what you have to do.

	At great personal risk Dr.Kevorkian has demonstrated the courage to act on
his convictions.  He has weathered the legal assault of the state, and been
exonerated by both the people at large, and by the juries in whose hands he
had the courage to place his fate.  In so doing he has set legal precedent
and shown the way for others to follow.  As Dr. Kevorkian fights for the
rights of persons to choose death, can we cryonicists do less in the
struggle for the rights of persons to choose life? 

	The easy answer is yes.  In fact, that is what we have done so far, and
cryonics has not prospered with the choice.  People, creatures of passion
that they are, honor justice and courage, which is why Dr. Kevorkian has
prevailed.  The success of cryonics awaits only a similar committment of
courage, and a willingness to undertake the fight of your life.  But hey,
isn't that what cryonics is all about?  Which is why the hard answer is "If
not us, who?"   
			Best, Jeff Davis

	   "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
					Ray Charles				

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=10435