X-Message-Number: 13861
Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2000 11:48:53 -0700
Subject: Re: CryoNet #13850 - #13856
References: <>


From: Michael Riskin ( Alcor director, but not speaking as an official
represntative in this posting).
Re: Dave Pizer's comments about Alcor

Dave Pizer said:

> " All Alcor has to do is lower its current
> prices for what they presently deliver and the added volume and more
> reasonable public appearances will make things better for Alcor 
> financially and in membership growth and other important areas...."

I disagree with the notion that a lower price, on its own, will
accomplish everything that Dave thinks it will. He is analyzing this as
if it would fit into any one of the many standard price/supply/demand

The real issue here is the tiny demand for services no matter what the
cost. The great majority of people I talk to about cryonics do not bring
up cost as an important issue. There are many people we all know of who
wont even take it as a gift. It is likely, if the costs were brought
down to a "whimsy factor" of say $500, we would get a great deal of
impulse buyers from people who like to have stars names after them  but
that is not what this is all about. 

Cryonics simply put, has very little perceived value in the public eye,
less than a large screen color TV I believe, and certainly less than a
luxury automobile. The other thing is that funding through life
insurance is already at an easily affordable cost to most people and
less than most of the " amusements" that the typical consumer purchases.

When we can prove beyond the apparant ( to cryonicists) sensibility of
doing this, that it works, then the demand will far outstrip the supply
at almost any price.

That all being the case, it makes no sense to reduce the price below
current levels. What is involved for all current and potential patients
welfare is far more than the expense of grab, perfuse, freeze, and
store. We need excess funding to cover the contingency costs of new
technologies, legal challenges, reanimation, and catastrophic events. If
the only concern was covering freeze and store costs at current expenses
levels plus a small operating profit, then we would be saying that it it
is acceptable under extreme adverse circumstances to give up patients,
like a mainstream business accepts the notion of bankruptcy as an
option. That is not acceptable to Alcor.

> anything else.
> My claims are:

> 1.      The present prices do not have to be so high for Alcor to come out. 
> prices were figured using liberal figures and then doubled because ....  I
> don't know why they doubled the figures.  My guess is that they thought
> more (money) is better. But some times more money prices your product of
> service out of reach from what would be your consumers.  Especially the
> cash sale cases of which the future will be mostly made up of.  So my
> conclusion is that the present high prices are not helping Alcor as the
> board thought they would when the board set the prices so darn high.  It
> isn't working.  Alcor is still very tight on finances.  Membership growth
> is very slow.  Alcor misses most of the suspensions that are being done.
> Alcor is falling behind.  None of us Alcorians want to see that continue.

Alcor is not falling behind in any of the areas in which progress is
legitimately measured. In fact, exactly the opposite is true. Alcors
technical capability, already arguably the best at this time, continues
its' rapid growth.  

> 2.      The public appearance of a more reasonable priced suspension would 
> Alcor not look like such an elitist organization.  (Another huge increase
> in public appearance would be to offer a brain suspension rather than the
> whole head).

Brain only suspensions have their own technical and cost complications
that far outweigh any savings from long term storage of a smaller mass
at this time.

> 3.      The added volume of doing a lot more suspensions at a reasonable price
> would end up making Alcor more money than just doing one or two a year at
> the higher prices.  Too high of prices are costing Alcor money.

Perhaps in the short run. The short run is not what Alcor is about.

> 4.      Doing more suspensions would mean that Alcor would get better at doing
> them.

That is true.
> 5.      Doing more suspensions would mean that Alcor would get more members.
> Relatives of patients tend to join up.  They make some of the best members,
> most loyal and tend to donate additional funds and labor.

Also true.

> 6.      A more reasonable priced suspension would mean that more of our fellow
> humans could have the benefit of cryonics.
> Alcor is set up for memembers.  That is not where the cryonics business is
> going.
> I believe that most of the prospective suspensions in the future will be
> people who are not signed up a long time in advance; What are commonly
> called "last minute" cases.  These are people who did not sign up years ago
> and have found themselves in a terminal condition.  These are people who
> did not plan ahead.  These are people who will not be able to get life
> insurance. They will have to write a check if they are to get suspended.
> When you have to write a check all at once, rather than make insurance
> payments, the price is even more critical in your decision.

That is the cost of shortsightedness. Alcor and its' patients and its
long term members cannot bear that cost.
> One of the problems with this is that last minute cases have always been
> considered the ones with the most potential liability or be harder to do.
> This may or may not be true.  I remember BIG trouble from relatives in the
> Dick Jones case.  He was not a last minute case.  In that case, Alcor lost
> over a million dollars to the relatives (not of Alcor's previous money, but
> money of Dick's that might have gone to Alcor except for litigation with
> the relatives).
> On the other side, Alcor had a patient's sister (a last minute case) sue to
> have her sister unfrozen.  The monetary cost (in the sister case) to Alcor
> was a lot less than the Dick Jones case.  My point here is that there is
> potential risk in *all* cases.  But if the future volume of cryonics is
> going to be mostly last minute cases, (people who were not signed up for a
> long time ahead), than Alcor should be learning how to deal with these
> cases so they can be comfortable in accepting them and have the proper
> terms and conditions set up in advance so they can take them.

Last minute cases can often be the very best and most acceptable. Again,
the primary issue to consider is whether or not these cases will harm
the patients or signed up members. in fact, there is an argument to be
made that procrastination should reasonably carry a higher price for
service and therefore induce early signups.
> I hope the Alcor Board will consider the items I have raised and also Jeff
> Davis' suggestions along with all other suggestions on how to make cryonics
> more successful.
> I hope others will submit their suggestions on either side of this
> important issue so we can leave no block of ice unturned.
> Dave  Pizer
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------

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