X-Message-Number: 8709
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 1997 17:57:17 -0500 (EST)
From: Charles Platt <>
Subject: Marketing

Responding to Steve Jackson's letter:

Marketing cryonics has always been problematic. Fundamentally the whole
idea of it is suspect, because in effect we are selling something that
doesn't exist yet. "You're like space enthusiasts selling a trip to Mars,"
a friend of mine once complained. "You don't have a spaceship. You don't
even know how a spaceship can be built. You just have the IDEA for a

Ideally of course the marketing effort bootstraps cryonics by attracting
wealthy members who then pay for the research that will make reversible,
zero-damage cryopreservation possible. Thus, by selling itself somewhat
prematurely, cryonics ultimately hopes to legitimize itself. I believe
this has always been Robert Ettinger's scenario, and it was the scenario
put forward by Michael Cloud at the Alcor Technology Conference. 

I used to subscribe to this viewpoint myself, and I certainly put in a lot
of time and effort (with reasonable success) promoting Alcor. But I'm not
sure that I like the idea of promotion anymore. Sometime during the past 5
or 6 years, perhaps when I saw one too many photomicrographs showing the
degree of damage caused by a "good" cryopreservation, I lost some of my
enthusiasm for selling cryonics. Since there is now a research effort
being underwritten at almost $1 million per year, plus a separate project
to raise millions of dollars for other research, maybe (as Paul Wakfer
suggested at the technology conference) we should concentrate on research
first, and then use its _results_ to promote cryonics. 

Incidentally, Steve Jackson refers darkly to an organization that made use
of Alcor's membership list to send out a mailing. Steve Bridge once told
me that like most organizations, Alcor maintains some "dummy entries" in
its database. If any unauthorized person used the list, the dummy entries
are people who would pass the mail back to Alcor, thus revealing that the
list had been used. So far as I know, nothing of this kind has ever
happened. Perhaps someone at Alcor can confirm this. 

--Charles Platt

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