There’s nothing Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs won’t try to hack, including their own biology.
Founders like Dave Asprey, a 41-year-old Californian, chug fistfuls of pills every morning in the hopes that these supplements will give them a competitive edge in an already competitive market, reports CNN.
The drug cocktail Asprey takes is a mix of “smart drugs” meant to increase brain function and performance. These natural supplements are also known as nootropics or by their individual names: Piracetam, Aniracetam, CILTEP, Methyl, and Cobalamin.
“Each one has a different benefit,” Asprey told CNN. “One may help bolster memory, another will help you focus. One of his pills helps improve vision, and another promises more energy. They all have the same goal — to help you maximise your potential.”
Like others in his cohort, Asprey occasionally supplements these supplements with prescription pills like Modafinil, an anti-narcoleptic medication that healthy people have begun using to pull all-nighters.
Modafinil is for people “who don’t just need a pick-me-up to get through a deadline; they need to be on, without a break, for months, even years at a time,” Robert Kolker at New York Magazine writes.
The idea is that, with the right supplement cocktail, you can conquer your body’s mortal limits. You can pull that all nighter while finishing up a sales pitch or write code for 19 hours a day multiple days in a row.
“It used to take a lifetime to radically rewire the human body and mind this way. Technology has changed the rules,” Asprey writes on LinkedIn. “This is real. It’s what happens when you hack the human body the same way you’d hack a website. It’s why I can do what I do.”
But smart drugs don’t come cheap. Asprey estimates that he’s spent around $US300,000 over the past 15 years to “hack his own biology” and he has expanded into marketing and selling some of the supplements he takes as his habit has grown.
But to Asprey and others like him, it’s worth it. He believes that, despite potential side effects, the drugs allow him to lead a higher quality life.
“Just like an Olympic athlete who’s willing to do almost anything, even if it shortens your life by five years…In many people’s minds, the difference between completely failing… and making a billion dollars, is right here,” Tim Ferriss, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor told CNN as he pointed to his head.