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CEO of $2B Startup Canned for LSD Use Before Meeting

Iterable's Justin Zhu says he was experimenting with microdosing to enhance his focus
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2021 9:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – The CEO of a $2 billion marketing startup is no longer the CEO after a move that the Daily Beast files under its "not cool, man" tag. Per a note that Iterable sent to its employees on Monday, Justin Zhu has been fired for violating company policy, Bloomberg reports. Zhu himself tells the outlet what the main reason was for his termination: taking LSD before a company meeting in 2019. Zhu says he was trying out the effects of microdosing (i.e., taking tiny amounts of the illegal drug) to see if it helped improve his focus.

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Forbes notes that microdosing has become "trendy," especially in Silicon Valley, and researchers say initial studies show that using limited amounts of psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms in this way has been shown to boost creativity and other aspects of performance, alleviate depression symptoms, and mitigate pain. Still, Iterable's board wasn't pleased that Zhu was experimenting at work, with its email from co-founder Andrew Boni noting that Zhu's actions "undermined the board's confidence in [his] ability to lead the company going forward." The letter did praise Zhu, though, for being a "world-class innovator and creative thinker." The board has now placed Boni in the CEO role. (Read more LSD stories.)

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