X-Message-Number: 13941
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 18:43:29 -0600
From: Fred Chamberlain <>
Subject: Re: The SINGLE Cause of Alcor's Membership Decline Identified
References: <>

At 04:44 PM 06/13/2000 -0500, david pizer wrote:

>I think this should give some degree of proof that the pricing plan Alcor
>adopted in 1993 is the cause of the halt in growth. 
>In addition I will add, that if Alcor had *lowered* the costs in 1993
>instead of adopting this plan, perhaps we would be well on the way to the
>projected 4,000 members and 400 patients in just a few years that the board
>felt we were on track to hit back in 1993.
>It is not too late to recover.  All  Alcor has to do is adopt a more
>reasonable price plan and the business will follow.  This will make Alcor
>more net money in two proven ways: (1) The increased volume (even at much
>lower prices) will help to generate more net money at the end of each year;
>(2) The increased volume of members and suspensions will create an economy
>of scales that will lower Alcor's present costs.
>In addition to posting this on CryoNet for discussion, I will copy the
>Alcor Board so that they may consider this.  
>Dave  Pizer

From Fred & Linda Chamberlain:

This suggestion reflects a lack of understanding of (1) the costs of
current cryostasis procedures and long term care, as well as (2) the
developing technologies and the higher costs that will be associated with
them, and (3) the fact that textbook marketing concepts do not yet apply to
Alcor, as our product is still far being mainstream.

Alcor's pricing has barely enough margin to make ordinary liquid nitrogen
storage feasible, and no margins for reanimation whatever.  For some time,
our existing price structure makes it infeasible to store neuros at
vitrification temperatures, and will require increases to financing or
conversion from whole body arrangements to neuros, for that.

As things stand, "whole body" members will soon have to choose between (1)
having a second rate cryoprotection as a whole body patient, or (2)
becoming a neuro with provisions for high-tech cryoprotection and rapid
cooldown, or (3) having to increase their funding in order to have the
"dual-neuro-WB" option which is currently under study.

The suggestion to cut prices also neglects the two primary concerns which
existing Alcor members and potential new members have: (1) Can you get to
me in time? and (2) Will Alcor be strong enough not to go under like so
many other organzations?  Remaining strong and having a high-tech
capability cost money.  As long as Alcor chooses to serve the high-tech end
of the market, it is not possible to just lower our prices without lowering
our capabilities and service levels.

The generalized argument that cutting costs will lead to a greater market
share only works if you have a very large marketplace.  Cryonics still does
not enjoy this benefit.  Instead, cutting our prices would amount to "we
lose a little bit on every suspension, but we make it up on volume".  

In the face of this, how could we possibly consider *cutting* the prices?
There is already a provider of low-tech, low cost cryonics services.  If
low cost were the real answer to membership growth, why doesn't this
competitor already have the 4000 members which are projected as the reward
for low pricing?  The answer is multifaceted, and to focus on a single
aspect such as cost without looking at all the other reasons (feasibility,
religious objections, psychological depressions rampant in our culture,
etc.) is an oversimplification which is not useful.

Fred & Linda Chamberlain

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