X-Message-Number: 19380
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 11:33:39 EDT
Subject: mummification etc

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George Smith writes in part:

 I understand that the neo-mummification business continues to attract
customers.  I am referring to people who choose to have their bodies
mummified in ways similar to the practices of the anceint Egyptians.  As
this costs MORE than cryonics and yet offers NO promises in regard to
survival, it looks to me that this is a niche worth examining in greater
detail.  Why exactly do mummification customers buy this "dead end"
alternative?  How many mummification customers are there out there?

Although I have neither the numbers in hand nor professional expertise in 
this area, my strong impressions are:

1. The mummification market is very small and quirky-silly-snobbish, roughly 
on the order of the market for having your ashes sent into orbit. Essentially 

2. Things "sell" or fail to sell for many and often complex or subtle 
reasons. The Edsel was preceded by a large-scale professional marketing 
survey and fell flat. Hoola-hoops took off spontaneously. The markets can be 
over-bought or over-sold for extended periods, and suddenly change as a 
result of a catalyst unknown even after the fact. Some people can sell 
refrigerators to Eskimos, and others couldn't sell Coca Cola in Hell. Go 

3. Forty years ago I felt, and still feel, that there would be a big market 
for cosmetic freezing--just preserve the outward appearance in an ordinary 
(look-in) freezer after appropriate mortuary work. But any such company 
should be entirely separate from cryonics organizations.

4. For most of us, time is better spent in doing more of what we know we can 
do and of what we know produces results, even if not spectacular results, 
rather than flailing around trying to find magic wands. In particular, I 
believe marketing studies, or studies of the profiles of cryonicists, are a 
waste of time, for the very simple reason, as I have said repeatedly, that 
our numbers in any group are so small that it just doesn't matter whether the 
group itself is above or below average. We need a shotgun, not a rifle.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society


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