A trip to the dole queue: CEO of $2bn Bay Area tech biz says he was fired for taking LSD before company meeting

Micro-dosing among Cali techies ... suddenly it's all starting to make sense


The co-founder and CEO of Iterable, a San Francisco marketing tech biz valued at over $2bn, claims he was fired after admitting to micro-dosing LSD at work.

Justin Zhu, a Twitter alum, founded his upstart with former Google Adsense veteran Andrew Boni in 2013 and built it into a company employing more than 400 staff with a healthy backing from venture capitalists. But Zhu told Bloomberg this week he was just ousted after admitting taking very small quantities of LSD before a meeting in 2019 to improve his creative thinking.

This, Boni said in an email to staff, had "undermined the board's confidence in Justin's ability to lead the company going forward."

LSD

Speaking in Tech: Is the whole of Silicon Valley on LSD?

FROM THE ARCHIVE

Micro-dosing is absolutely not unheard of among Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area folk, and no doubt those further afield, who work under the belief that taking small doses of hallucinogens increases the brain's ability to make lateral jumps. By keeping doses low, some think they can get the benefits without the whole seeing flying dragons or talking colors and sleepless nights part of trips usually associated with LSD.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a big fan of LSD, saying taking a large dose was "one of the most important things in my life." Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, also credited LSD with broadening his mind.

However, the current crop of management at most venture capitalists frown on such practices, particularly when there's a multibillion-dollar company at stake. And Zhu says doing a dose of the illegal drug before an important meeting was just too much for the squares.

Boni will take over the business as CEO in the meantime. Presumably he's seen as a safe, and less groovy, pair of hands. ®


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