For the productivity-obsessed of Silicon Valley, coffee alone may not cut it anymore – Marketplace

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NPR’s Marketplace interviews Nootroo founder Eric Matzner on the latest trend in Silicon Valley: Nootropics

The desire for increased productivity in Silicon Valley is spawning a new market, for substances under the heading “nootropics.”

Nootropics are marketed as pills that will increase your productivity and boost your brain power. Many in the scientific community question the claims. But in Silicon Valley, nootropics have become part of a subculture that is trying to work as many productive hours a day as possible.

For the full story be sure to listen to the audio:

The Brain Bro – Feature in The Atlantic

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Nootroo was featured in a profile on our founder, Eric Matzner, in an article that appeared in the 2016 print edition of The Atlantic, titled “The Brain Bro.” In the article, the journalist shadows Eric for a few days and writes a story about what it is like to be a biohacker in San Francisco.

On philosophy of enhancement:

“Look to how you can optimize yourself,” Matzner said, using one of his favorite verbs. “The body offers plenty of weaknesses that can potentially be overcome.” Midway through the presentation, he unleashed one of his favorite theories: “If somebody invented a drug that improved the brains of the world’s 10 million scientists by 1 percent,” Matzner said, paraphrasing the Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom, “it would be like creating 100,000 new scientists.”

On how Eric discovered nootropics:

“At first, he turned to prescription medications, including amphetamines and modafinil (also marketed as Provigil), an anti-narcolepsy drug. But he soon realized that what he needed was not simply wakefulness so much as the ability to learn faster. He switched to piracetam and, after noticing improvements in his attention span and reaction time, joined online nootropics communities in an effort to hone his “stack.”

On Eric’s lifestyle:

For many users, nootropics are not just a productivity tool; they’re part of a holistic journey toward perfection of the mind, body, and soul. According to Matzner, Nootroo confers its greatest benefits as part of a broader “protocol” that includes meditation, exercise, and eating “clean.” He consumes an extremely high-fat, low-carb, ketogenic diet; meditates; and tracks his sleep.”

On describing the first public demo of the Meditation Battle League (MBL):

“At the end of the Meetup event, Matzner put his Nootroo-fueled lifestyle to the test via a meditation competition. (“How HARD can you relax?” the event page had inquired.) Wearing EEG headbands, pairs of contestants would meditate while the audience tried to distract them with heckling. The devices would measure electrical activity emitted by the meditators’ brains and project scores, based on their levels of calm, on a giant screen. Whoever remained in a meditative state the longest would win.

Matzner signed me up. I lost my round and got the lowest score of anyone participating…

When Matzner’s turn came, he plopped down in a folding chair. His eyelids fluttered shut, and as his brain jolted toward tranquility, he pursed his lips and breathed out. For a while, he and his opponent were neck and neck, brain to brain. But then Matzner pulled ahead.

The crowd counted down the final seconds in unison. Matzner opened his eyes, slid off his headband, and smiled. Optimization accomplished.

He’d won, 1,339 to 779.

Get ahead in Silicon Valley in The Guardian

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With a subtext of the article “Some in Silicon Valley claim that a combination of supplements, over-the-counter medications and other chemicals taken together can improve cognitive function,” this article focuses on what people in Silicon Valley are doing to “get ahead.”  You can correctly guess that nootropics are mentioned in the article, and it also includes a discussion with Nootroo Founder Eric Matzner.

On the definition of nootropics:

“…Dubbed nootropics from the Greek “noos” for “mind” [and Greek “tropein” for “towards”], are intended to safely improve cognitive functioning. They must not be harmful, have significant side-effects or be addictive. That means well-known “smart drugs” such as the prescription-only stimulants Adderall and Ritalin, popular with swotting university students, are out. What’s left under the nootropic umbrella is a dizzying array of over-the-counter supplements, prescription drugs and unclassified research chemicals, some of which are being trialled in older people with fading cognition.”


Nootropics and the Human Lab Rats of Reddit – Gizmodo

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Gizmodo story on the nootropics and biohacking scene.

On Nootroo founder Eric Matzner:

“Eric Matzner tells me he takes 30 to 40 pills a day. He is 27 and perfectly healthy. Thanks to the pills, he says he hasn’t had a cold in years. More importantly, the regimen is supposed to optimize the hell out of his brain, smoothing right over the ravages of aging, sleep deprivation, and hangovers.

Not that a guy so obsessed with health drinks much anyway.

Matzner is the founder of Nootroo, one of the many companies now purveying nootropics, or brain enhancement drugs. Depending on who you ask, nootropics could include everything from Adderall to caffeine, with an array of unregulated and largely untested chemicals like noopept in between. The idea of nootropics has been around since the 70s, but it’s enjoyed a recent swell of popularity, especially among the Silicon Valley bodyhacking and Soylent-guzzling set.”

The next coffee:

“Nootropics may just be the next iteration of caffeine. If cognitive enhancement is the future, then nootropics users are the ones pushing it forward, DIY-style.”