James Arrowood, Alcor CEO

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James Arrowood, Alcor CEO

Post by jordansparks »

James Arrowood is the new Co-CEO of Alcor. He was interviewed recently in the following podcast:
https://www.cryonicsunderground.com/151 ... s-at-alcor
Boy, he's a talker. Nearly 3 hours. I ran it at 2x speed. Here are some things I learned:
Alcor doesn't make enough money on cases to be able to cover operational expenses. M22 is expensive and deploying teams is expensive. They depend on donations for much of their operational expenses. This is fascinating because it's exactly the opposite at CI. CI uses inexpensive yet equally effective cryoprotectant and does not deploy teams, so they make substantial income on each case. I'm pretty sure Alcor used to make money on each case and this change does not seem like a good thing. Their expensive cryoprotectant M22 is not necessary because ice blockers only work during rewarming. They do nothing to improve the quality of initial cryopreservation, so ice blockers are a waste of money. As for losing money on deployments, I really think they should stop. I mean I guess it's nice that they are trying, but it just seems like such a huge obvious expense that they would do better without.

He talked about "pursuing science" and "doing research" during each case. But then at 2:28, he said that some of the cases don't necessarily add much to scientific discourse, so they're going to stop doing most case reports. Then he launched into a strained argument where he said they're not allowed to talk about patients' medical conditions (which is false), as if that's some sort of excuse for not publishing case reports. And then my favorite topper was that if members don't like that position, then "that's a you issue". Really? He's clearly hostile to the idea of case reports. I suspect it's a combination of the expense along with his preference to keep internal activities a bit closer to the chest. But the obvious problem with dropping case reports is that they are really the only marginally scientific thing Alcor does. Without case reports, wouldn't the 501c3 status be at risk? According to the IRS
Tax exemption relies on doing systematic science not directly related to paid services and then publishing the results.

Alcor had 13 employees when he started, and they are now up to 18. That feels like a very big number to me. Presumably, it's so high because of all the deployments. That's a lot of overhead. Ugh. And he feels that they are understaffed.

He has the attitude of a marketer. He hypes everything and overpromises. He's overly confident. When asked questions about priorities, his frequent approach was to treat it like some sort of challenge to his reputation. "I'm not dumb" was a frequent lead-in. His answer to many questions was that there are some amazing things happening that he unfortunately can't talk about yet, but everyone is going to be thrilled when they are made public. This is a problem. It's the exact opposite of the approach I feel a reputable company should take. A far better approach is to underpromise and overdeliver. That's how you keep customers happy. He's oblivious to this fact. Overpromising inevitably leads to disappointment and frustration when reality hits. Big new things that are coming but not yet complete are known in my industry as vaporware, a clearly pejorative term.
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