Remember the good old days when Wall Street types used to use cocaine and speed to gain a competitive edge when the market was open and then deployed copious amounts of liquor and smaller amounts of drugs to come down after the bell?
Well, it turns out that might not have been medically or scientifically advisable, or whatever, and now those know-it-all Silicon Valley Millennials want to show us the "smart" way to destroy your body in order to further your career.
Employees at San Francisco startup Nootrobox don't eat on Tuesdays.
The weekly fast isn't an extreme money-saving move by a scrappy, bootstrapping company. Instead, Nootrobox team members swear withholding food for 36 hours -- they stop eating Monday night -- improves their workplace focus and concentration.
Wait, they're just starving? That's what Drexel traders used to do, but like we said, they had all that coke. What's the deal, nerds?
"We're actually super productive on Tuesdays," co-founder and CEO Geoffrey Woo said. "It's hard at first, but we literally adopted it as part of the company culture."
Woo and other entrepreneurs are using fasts and other tricks to "hack" their brain chemistry like they would a computer, hoping to give themselves an edge as they strive to dream up the next billion-dollar idea. Known by insiders as "biohacking," the push for cognitive self-improvement is gaining momentum in the Silicon Valley tech world, where workers face constant pressure to innovate and produce at the highest levels.
And for bros like Woo, that means getting high on your own supply of "smart drugs" like amino acids and vitamins. Oh, are you pondering Theranos and doubting the efficacy of these "smart drugs?" Well, truth be told, these haughty 20-somethings might also be augmenting their vitamin-rich starvation with, like, "other" stuff...
Nootropics run a broad spectrum, starting with mild substances such as caffeine and the amino acid theanine, a relaxation agent. Racetams -- a group of synthetic compounds that produce varying degrees of brain-boosting and stimulant-type effects -- also are popular, and can be purchased online without a doctor's OK. Prescription narcolepsy drug Modafinil and Parkinson's treatment Selegiline also are used off-label.
So instead of the 80s diet of coke and speed, techies are using "smart drugs"... but also like caffeine and super-speed. How "disruptive."
And we thought these Silicon Valley types were different...
Others have a more expansive view of brain-enhancers, taking off-label prescription drugs, small doses of LSD or Russian pharmaceuticals not approved for consumption in the U.S.
There you go, you delightfully naive weirdos.
'Hacking' the brain: Silicon Valley entrepreneurs turn to fasting and 'smart drugs' [San Jose Mercury News]