X-Message-Number: 9414
Subject: cryonics and money
Date: Mon, 06 Apr 1998 12:39:01 -0400
From: "Perry E. Metzger" <>

> Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 03:40:13 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Charles Platt <>
> Subject: Business vs Religion: Some Money Facts
> I note that Perry Metzger has returned to one of his favorite themes: 
> cryonics organizations are not run properly,

"Properly" is a value judgement.

I will state that they aren't being run in what I would term a
businesslike manner, and that I personally believe growth would be
fairly high if they were being run as a business.

> If Cryonics were a business, we would have to pay people, and pay for
> equipment and supplies, instead of relying on donations.  Here are a few
> figures to plug into your spreadsheet, Perry: 
> Lab full of equipment: $1 million.

Less than our small department's lab equipment budget was at Bellcore
when I was there a little over a decade ago. ANNUALLY.

> Rent on cryopreservation facility: $25,000 a year.

Around the rent on a nice apartment in NYC. Much less than the rent on
a nice office for a few people in NYC. Somehow, people manage to find
that cash.

> Salaries for one fulltime and two part-time people to run CryoCare and 
> achieve the necessary growth: $150,000.

Much smaller than the salaries paid out in a reasonable sized suburban
grocery store.

> Salaries for one fulltime and three part-time people to run 
> BioPreservation, or something like it: $200,000. (Medical expertise is 
> necessary, and does not come cheap.)


> Annual cost for creating literature, doing PR, outreach, etc (phone 
> calls, printing expense, postage, web site): $20,000 MINIMUM.

Smaller than I pay for such things.

> That's almost $600,000 a year,

Whoop-de-do, Charles. None of this is real money by any stretch of the 

With a real business plan, and real marketing, a cryonics organization 
could easily make real money.

Seriously, the money you are talking about isn't even enough to start
a nice, big suburban supermarket. Obviously, people have managed to
build suburban supermarkets, so money like this must be available. If
people couldn't manage to raise this much money, how would people
build such businesses, let alone doing things like starting up new
semiconductor companies (some of which have spent hundreds of millions 
on fab lines -- hell, Microunity alone probably lost 100 times what
starting up a cryonics business would cost before cratering, and all
of that was pure VC).

> Do I hear Perry Metzger volunteering to pay what his cryopreservation 
> services really cost? Nope.

volunteer for my life insurance company. I don't volunteer for my
automobile manufacturer (who's paint spraying robots each cost more
than the $600,000 you are mentioning.) Why should I volunteer for my
cryonics organiztion?

> Do I hear him volunteering to raise a couple million in capital,

No, you don't. I already have more than enough to do as the managing
partner of a hard-to-run company, not to mention all the other things
I do on the side. I'm not interested in devoting my life to freezing
people. I have enough trouble with the stuff I *do well*.

I personally could not run a cryonics company, just as I personally
could not sell automobiles. I wouldn't have the stomach to sell
cars. Does that mean cars can't be sold? No. Does that mean cryonics
can't be sold? No.

You make this sound like its a dirty secret. It isn't. I want cryonics 
run as a business precisely so that I don't have to be involved.

> I hear Perry Metzger wasting his time debating machine intelligence on 
> the net? Definitely!

I enjoy debating machine intelligence. I would not enjoy being
involved in the day to day management of a cryonics company. Is this a 
secret I've somehow been keeping from people?

I'm a "goddamned steenking objectivist", Charles. That means that I do
what *I* wish to do to the extent that I can. I live my life for
*me*. Some people own TV sets and watch those. Some people go to the
theater. I neither own a TV nor go to the theater (at least not
often). I debate machine intelligence. I enjoy it. If you are telling
me that I should take one of my few recreational activities (I have
not been on a vacation qua vacation in many many years) and convert
the time spent on it into slave labor for the cryonics movement,
you're sorely mistaken as to what kind of person you are talking to.

Remember, by the way, Charles, that *I* didn't bring this topic
up. You did. I've been absolutely silent on the question of how
cryonics organizations ought to be run, for many years now.

> Also I would like to point out that if sufficient growth was achieved to 
> cover the costs listed above, via membership dues, we would have so many 
> members, we would need to hire a backup cryopreservation team. I agree 
> that if growth continues for long enough, we benefit from economies of 
> scale; but it's a long way from here to there.

If no one ever tries, nothing will ever happen in this regard.

The problem with cryonics is that it is going to be a business that
people don't like being involved in, exactly like the funeral home
business. Its going to make people queasy to go up to people with
dying relatives when they are vulnerable and hard sell them on
spending lots of money to freeze grampaw. There are people out there
that can do this -- I'm not one of them, though, and so far as I can
tell very few people around the cryonics world that have the
personality that would let them do it. One needs a certain kind of
hardness that most of us lack -- a certain deliberate calculation. I
don't have that sort of soul in me. That is not to say that others do
not have that sort of ability.

> Like any small business, we would need money to grow. But I doubt
> any venture capitalist would fund cryonics at this point--because,
> it doesn't work.

Of course it works. We've had prototypes of the business for
years. You CAN manage to collect money from people for popping them in
liquid nitrogen. Its been done, what, sixty, seventy times now, and
without a lick of decent sales? That's all a VC person is going to
care about -- will the business make money. No one is going to give a
flying fig if you can revive the people provided you can sell them the
service successfully and earn revenue on it.

> I do not wish to hear anything more on this subject from Perry so
> long as it is couched in his usual generalities

Sorry, Charles, but you get to hear from me whether you like it or not.

> Perhaps there is some creative idea for raising the necessary money, 
> which I have never thought of. You are, after all, in the financial 
> business. Tell us.

There is no major secret here, either. Go out, find a good MBA with
the soul of an accountant, put together a team and a business
plan. Get a book on business plans first so you can see how they are
written and learn a bit about VC so you can understand how it
works. Then go to VC people with the thing. It may take you a couple
of years to find the money, so its better to start quickly. I strongly 
suggest working to find money from people OUTSIDE the cryonics world
-- the people inside, even if they have the money, are too attached to 
the idea to make sure your plan is realistic, and there is no point in 
this exercise if you aren't actually going to be sure that your plan
is solid.

I figure you're going to need a few mil in venture funding to get off
the ground. More than that got thrown at one company I know of that
makes floor tiles for supermarkets with advertisements painted on
them -- the money is out there. "Good luck!"

And yes, you're damn right I don't want to be involved. I have enough
trouble operating the business I specialize in, which I actually have
a hope of making money in. As I said, *I* am not the person to sell
cryonics or run a cryonics company. My own business is hard enough for 
me already.


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