[ExI] May Cryonics issue

david pizer pizerdavid at yahoo.com
Mon May 28 20:03:14 UTC 2012

In my 11 years of work in Alcor management one thing that I often disagreed with other directors and officers about was the future costs of doing suspensions and keeping the patients suspended.   I still disagree with the way many present Alcor leaders compute future costs.  I do not have the time now to enter into a long debate and explanation on where all the errors in their assumptions are.  AND That is not the problem (or the answer) at hand.
Alcor's present conclusion is that prices have to be raised NOW to protect against Alcor going out of business in the future due to their losing money on each suspension and storage of each patient.  
I believe this will make the problem worse and lead to major financial losses in the future.
I submit that raising prices will cause more members to quit Alcor and less new members to join, therefore making Alcor lose even more money on doing each suspension and more cost of storing each patient BECAUSE the overhead costs of running Alcor will be more per each case if there is less total income when there are less members.
One of the main reasons Alcor current projections show losses in the future is that Alcor refuses to count  the actual projected donations as part of the expected future income even though from day one  Alcor's donations have been one of the highest parts of Alcor's total income.  Of course if they cause membership to go way down today then total donations will go way down.
On the other hand if they cause membership to go way up now, donations in the future will go way up.
Further Alcor present directors do not seem to understand that Alcor's operation expenses are going to be divided by the number of suspensions they do and the number of patients they have.  Doing less suspensions will not lower Alcor's regular overhead so the less suspensions they do = less total income and so the  more the cost of each suspension will be much higher per case as they divide their annual overhead by the number of suspensions they did.  Further with less total income the cost of keeping each patient in suspension will go up.
SOLUTION:  There is one way only that company works its way out of a problem like the one Alcor management is heading for and it is not raising prices.  Here is the way successful companies remain successful and make money:
1.  Reduce wasteful spending and expenses.
2.  Do more business to Increase total income.
Getting Income Up (through volume not raising prices) and Expenses Down is the way to make Alcor successful.  It is the biggest mistake of people without experience of running successful business to think that raising prices will bring in more money. I ofter cause the company to bring in less total income as the higher prices causes the volume to fall and therefore the total income at higher prices is often much less.
Many Alcor members are struggling to pay their dues and other costs of belonging to Alcor.  At present I believe Alcor loses most of its members over time.  In other words, there are probable more people walking this earth now who were Alcor members and quit than there are Alcor members who stayed.  (The numbers are close).
I hope those reading this will not assume I am trying to harm Alcor by giving this advice.  
I am trying to make Alcor stronger as I have for over 25 years.
Of course if the hard working scientists affiliated with Alcor were to create reversible suspended animation everything would become different at that time.  But for now where we have to act based on what logic can predict without yet having the ability to do a demonstration of suspension - storage - and reanimation. 

 From: Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> 
Sent: Monday, May 28, 2012 12:55 PM
Subject: [ExI] May Cryonics issue
I just finished reading Ralph Merkle's analysis of pricing for neuro
versus whole body Alcor patients - it's excellent! Kudos to Ralph for
providing a lot of minute yet important details that may be vitally
important for our future.

One thing that strikes me is that there seems to be no escape from
human irrationality, even in the frigid depths of a dewar. It appears
incontrovertible to me that the neuro suspension option is superior to
the whole body version - the quality of vitrification is better, less
likelihood of suffering from ice crystal formation in the brain (which
could spell the end of your life, if the synaptic strength information
becomes scrambled beyond recovery), it's no less than 10 times cheaper
to maintain, and the likelihood that the future reanimation procedure
would actually benefit from having a whole body is, in my opinion,
nil. Despite that at present 76% of all Alcor members want whole body
suspension, which for reasons of dewar geometry results in zero
marginal cost for a neuro maintenance (read the article for details) -
yet, we neuros still pay only 4.4 times less into the suspension trust
(Patient Care Trust) than whole body customers! So, while the cost of
our cryonic maintenance is at present equal to zero, we still have to
pay real money for it, in this way subsidizing the cost of whole body
suspensions. This is no way to disparage current Alcor management -
the subsidy evolved as a result of multiple decisions made by various
persons over decades.

So imagine - knowledgeable people who may have less money (some of us
select the neuro option for financial reasons) are paying for those
who probably didn't think the cryonics issue through, for some reasons
cling to a procedure that is of both lower quality and higher cost,
and have potentially much more money (as shown by willingness to spend
on the whole body option).

Ralph is hinting at the need to increase the relative prices for whole
body vs. neuro suspensions and I wholeheartedly agree. As you may
notice, I have a personal stake in this issue, so apply your internal
filters for dealing with self-serving statements - but it seems to me
that the relative whole body price should be incrementally increased
until the ratio of whole body/neuro members is lowered from its
present 74/24 value (=3.08) to no more than 4:5 (=0.8, dictated by the
geometry of dewars). This major shift in the relative numbers of the
two types of patients would maximize the total number of patients per
dewar, and provide the greatest positive externality to all of us -
the more people are signed up, the more likely we are to eventually
succeed. At that ratio we could maximize the number of neuro patients,
while not driving away more of the whole body ones than necessary.

I hope this adjustment will eventually occur, and, please, sign up for
Alcor suspension if you have not yet done it.
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