Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


We always know less about other people than we think we do.

Somehow, we manage to categorize them quickly and keep them in those categories until their behavior insists that we change our minds.

It's only in recent times, though, that we've had to confront more and more slightly strange tech types actually running companies. Who are these people? What makes their odd brains operate?

Their ascendancy has skipped hand-in-hand with the tentacles of technology as they wrap themselves around our every habit, from shopping to loving.

At first, we looked upon these tech types as slightly a-human. Not quite inhuman, you understand, but certainly not human as we used to understand it.

But the more we watch the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and that slightly aggressive man who runs Uber, the more we've started to wonder what goes on inside these people's heads.

"What," I've heard more than one person wonder, "are these people on?"

The answer about some tech types might be that they're on LSD.

It sounds so quaintly 60s, as if they've got record players in their living rooms and wear velvet bell-bottoms at home.

However, Rolling Stone insists that some of those who wander around Silicon Valley's offices on skateboards and Segways are actually microdosing.

This is the habit of just occasionally ingesting tiny amounts of LSD to increase "performance" or "productivity" or whatever you call doing something well.

Rolling Stone quotes one Stanford-educated 25-year-old techie as saying of his business "trip": "I had an epic time. I was making a lot of sales, talking to a lot of people, finding solutions to their technical problems."

The experts insist that this isn't quite a trip. They describe it as an effective injection of energy, an immediate buzz of enlightenment. One even told Rolling Stone it was "an extremely healthy alternative to Adderall."

The Stanford-educated techie reached for the full depth of his vocabulary to describe it as "crazy awesome."

For all I know it's both crazy and awesome. Or neither.

But I do wonder how much it explains the peculiar mien of our new Silicon Valley masters.

Fortunately, I advise one or two companies in the Valley. So I asked around.

"Do you ever, you know, slip a little LSD in just to dig out a new idea or to solve an intractable problem?" I asked, my face as innocent as I could muster.

The usual reaction was: "What? Are you high?" The other reaction was: "Pot only, thank you."

But can I look at anyone in the Valley the same way again? Can I imagine that these people aren't just slightly maladjusted nerds who adore the sandbox of power they've suddenly found themselves shoveling in?

Might this penchant for LSD now reach the higher echelons, those who regularly appear in public, flexing all the minimal humanity at their disposal?

Why should one worry? There are enough New York types who bolster their loud swagger and alleged can-do-so-get-out-of-my-way attitude with a bathroom snort or two.

Perhaps the pressures of work are now so great, the need to succeed quickly is so desperate that we'll reach for any kind of drug to reach our goals.

But in the Valley we're doing it to "make the world a better place." By creating a sexy new shopping app, for example.