X-Message-Number: 10438
Date: Sat, 19 Sep 1998 11:35:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Selling

On Sat, 19 Sep 1998, Jeff Davis wrote:

> 	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. 

No, Jeff, this is NOT what we are selling!

Rather, we are selling a totally unprovable, still-in-development
technique that offers an unknown chance of resuscitation in an unknown and
possibly terrifying (to many people) world of the future. Our documents
make it clear that this is an experimental procedure with absolutely no
guarantee. It costs as much as $125,000 (which can be paid in advance via
life insurance--much to the dismay of family members who may feel that
THEY should get it). It requires a major rethink of attitudes toward death
that we have acquired through millions of years of evolution. It may
entail ridicule from one's friends. It may violate deeply held religious

The first essential, in any sales pitch, is to understand the desires of
your audience. In this case, your audience consists of people who know
they are going to die, but don't believe it will happen today or tomorrow.
This is why they put off other death-related tasks, such as writing a
will, which is far easier and cheaper than signing for cryonics. This 
also explains why many signups, in the past, have been last-minute cases: 
people who "never got around to it" until they were in the TERMINAL 
stages (not even the initial stages) of a disease. 

To some extent you seem to acknowledge these problems:

> 	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, 

Okay, fine. You are right, this has not been done formally, because it 
costs a lot of money. It has been done informally, however. In other 
words, we have figured out some basics by trial-and-error. We tried A. It 
didn't work. We tried B. It didn't work. And so on.

> 	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.

These manipulative techniques are designed to entice people against their
better judgment. Bearing in mind the risk of subsequent challenges by
relatives (I can hear the attorney talking to the jury: "Did the deceased
really understand what he was getting into, or was he suckered by a bunch
of cultists?") and bearing in mind also the penalties we pay when a
supposed cryonicist changes his mind at the last minute (as has happened),
it is extremely unwise to sign people without FULL disclosure and RATIONAL

> 	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!"

Again, these techniques will enhance the "cult" status of cryonics and 
diminish its claim to rationality. I note that the techniques would not 
be needed if we could prove the value of our product. Thus they are a 
substitute for technical substance.

> 	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.) 

This I believe might be effective.

> Exclude murderers,
> rapists, child-molesters, armaments manufacturers, politicians, tobacco
> company execs.  Cryonics is not for everyone.  

This I find ethically unacceptable. In effect, you are suggesting that I 
should condemn some people to death because I don't approve of them.

> 	The first market is, at the risk of seeming foolish:
> Pet owners.

This is not foolish at all. Pet owners have often approached cryonics
organizations. But in order to make the pet operation PROFITABLE (using
paid help instead of volunteers whose time and energy must be conserved),
it's going to be very expensive. In my experience, a vanishingly small
number of pet owners are willing to pay real money for cryopreservation,
and few of them wish to be preserved themselves. 

> 	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.  

Again, you are inviting a horrendous legal backlash. "They took the money
that could have cured my husband, and spent it on freezing him!" This is
one reason why at least two cryonics organizations currently avoid
last-minute cases. A person faced with imminent death may not be able to
give rational, informed consent. And any cryonics organization that
pursues these people aggressively will acquire the same stigma as the
"cheap lawyers" you mention. This stigma is likely to translate into
scandal, official inquiries, and (if the stink is big enough) regulation
or outright prohibition of cryonics.

Note: none of these problems would exist if we could support our claims 
with better proof-of-concept. Almost all of the problems associated with 
selling cryonics are rooted in the fact that we don't really know what 
we're doing to patients, and cannot demonstrate resuscitation. The 
methods you suggest are necessary because our product cannot be sold 
easily on a more straightforward basis.

Please understand, I am just as interested in selling cryonics as you 
are. Indeed, I have tried various methods. Also, I respect the thought 
you have given to this subject. But I think you need some first-hand 
experience in the selling, the signing, and the freezing process before 
you realize just how difficult this situation is. I certainly had no 
idea, till I became more involved.

>  	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.

Sure! I agree!

--Charles Platt

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