Date: Sat Oct 21 2000 - 07:23:21 MDT

In a message dated 10/21/00 7:35:17 AM Central Daylight Time, writes:

> I believe that I may no longer be a member of the ExI. The reason I
> not sure is that there is no difference between being a member and not
> a member -- except that it costs more to be a member, of course.
> There are probably those on this list who consider joining the ExI.
> would therefore like to warn them: since you get nothing for your money if
> you send it to the ExI, you might as well flush it down the toilet. I am
> certain that you can use that money better.

Why don't you tell us how you really feel, Ian - don't hold back!

In recent years, the primary value you get for your membership dues is a
discount on the fee for participation in the EXTRO conferences. We haven't
had one since August of 1999 so, unless you attended that conference, you
missed the most significant economic value you could have gotten from your
membership. Organizing a conference with worthwhile speakers in a good
location is extremely expensive, even when you use a lot of volunteer (and
vastly underappreciated) labor (thanks, Natasha and everyone else who made
EXTRO4 happen).

> The first thing that "happened" was nothing -- that is, I couldn't
> even get any confirmation that my membership fee had actually reached the
> ExI. Eventually I started sending emails to people whose address was on
> Extropy site, asking if they had received the money. Still nothing. No
> reply. After half a year of sending emails to people who according to the
> Extropy site were representatives of the ExI, I finally received
> confirmation that my money had indeed arrived, and that I was registered
> a member. That was all. Then nothing again.

I never heard from you, Ian. We've just arranged for Shaun Russell to be ExI
membership director. I'm sorry you didn't get better communication from ExI.
 Improving that function is certainly one of our primary goals.

> That's it. That is all you get as a member of the ExI: if you pester
> them enough you may eventually receive confirmation that you are a member,
> and that is all you will receive. I don't know if the money you send in
> goes straight to Max More's own pocket. He seems like a nice enough
> and I find it hard to believe that he is running this thing just as a way
> make money on the poor suckers who send in money to the ExI.

Max hasn't received any salary from ExI in a LONG time - certainly since well
before you sent in a membership fee. I assure you that Max hasn't made ANY
money from Extropy Institute that's worth considering at all.

> I do know what
> that money is NOT used for, however. It is not used to pay for printing
> distributing the Extropy magazine to ExI members. In fact, I seriously
> doubt that that
> money goes to anything that benefits ExI members.

You're right. Printing the paper magazine has been a thing of the past for
some time, as it was an ironic anachronism for a group that promotes advanced
> Hence, if you are thinking of applying for membership and sending
> money to ExI, DON'T DO IT!. Treat yourself to something nice for that
> instead. You won't receive anything at all for your money if you send it
> the ExI.

ExI has evolved over the years as the people involved have dealt with the
progress of their own lives. A few years ago, Max was in graduate school
working on his PhD. He had more time to devote to the organizational
details. I've never received a dime from ExI, and I have a very busy
practice that makes it difficult for me to help with administrative details.
We could use more constructive help from people who are enthusiastic and
optimistic about the future (although we've certainly had some loyal and
long-standing support with donations in kind from the folks at Javien in
Canada - thanks!).

To the extent that your criticisms have merit, I'll address them, although
your tone certainly doesn't encourage constructive feedback. Max has been
very busy recently working on improving value to members. There are projects
in the works that will greatly improve the networking value that ExI members
get from their dues. We have plans for a strategic retreat for ExI
benefactors, its prestigious advisory board and the many organizations that
make up the network of future-oriented groups of which ExI has been a leading
member. EXTRO5 is taking shape and the EXTRO conferences will continue to be
one of the greatest values members get from their dues.

Finally, let me ask whether you ever asked what you could do to improve the
value of our community? Do you have skills that could add value? Did you
propose a project that would improve the future? Many of our members have.
Folks like Shaun and Brent Allsop and Alex Bokov have worked hard to
experiment with ways to use the Web to make our community more valuable to
its members. People like Brian Atkins have been ready to put their money
where their mouth is in speeding the arrival of a positive future. (I know I
haven't given credit in this post to everyone who deserves it - to all the
volunteers - thanks!) Perhaps you'd like to help.

       Greg Burch <>----<>
      Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide -or-
                                           ICQ # 61112550
        "We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
        enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
       question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
                                          -- Desmond Morris

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