Speaking to the co-founders of the Neurohacker Collective makes it obvious these people are more interested in nootropics and cognitive enhancement than the businessmen of the industry. Whereas many nootropics founders that create unique stacks have cursory knowledge of the substances, the Neurohacker crew seems light years ahead.
Over the past 5 weeks, I’ve traveled across the United States meeting representatives from many of the best nootropic companies in the world. These include stops visiting Pure Nootropics (a commodities store) and unique stack companies like Nootrobox and truBrain.
With my final stop at the Neurohacker Collective, I was sufficiently impressed with both their approach to nootropics, scope of vision for the future, and their team.
Towards the end I’ll cover the Neurohacker Qualia unique stack with a few more details than my Qualia supplement review, but this primarily focuses on the collective itself. After all, there are only so many times you can confirm that “yes, Qualia works” via various online reviews.
This time, let’s take a closer look at WHY Qualia works at a higher level.
Nootropics As a Hardware Upgrade
Order a Neurohacker Qualia package and you’ll be surprised to find two bottles (for two separate “Steps”) in addition to a “Bio-Hardware Upgrade” manual. Qualia is one of the few products that comes with a manual, but it’s more than marketing hype.
The Neurohacker Collective is thinking big. They don’t want to create a smart drug only for already wealthy Silicon Valley executives and Wall Street traders to get wealthier. They want to upgrade human hardware (our brain) so that we can collectively solve humanity’s largest problems.
Speaking with one of the co-founders in Encinitas, California, he explained a feedback loop concept, which resonated with me.
This may seem irrelevant, but it shows the first principles thinking that informs the Neurohacker Collective’s goals and objectives:
- Sensory input – these are our environmental cues. A tiger in the wild, berries in a bush, etc.
- Internal processing – we process things we see in our environment. A tiger means danger, berries mean calories.
- Acting on input – after we process the environment, we act on it. The dangerous tiger means run, the calorie-rich berries are harvested.
Because humans can think in abstractions, we have built great civilizations, but unfortunately we have also lost touch with the feedback loop. When we purchase food at the grocery store, we don’t see the cascade of events required to put it there (farming, processing etc).
As a result, humanity has created great technology, but also enormous environmental and societal problems. The first step is improving our human hardware so as to solve these problems.
This is a similar premise of my documentary, which posits that nootropics can and will help humanity to perform optimally and achieve great things.
Team Neurohacker Collective
Any unique nootropic stack is a product of the people who build it and Qualia is no different. To fully trust Qualia, one must understand the team and their strengths.
Daniel Schmachtenberger – By far the most vocal, well-known of the co-founders is Daniel Schmachtenberger. Our two hour walk and conversation made an impression. His alternative education (homeschooled) and intellect is obvious.
His experience starting a think tank in 2007 informs many of the bigger, long-term visions for the future (including the feedback loop I mentioned above). From here, he honed his systems approach to complex problems and applied that to human neurochemistry.
His being featured on Smart Drug Smarts , Ben Greenfield , Barbell Shrugged , and my Brain Optimization Summit is therefore no surprise.
James Schmachtenberger – The quieter of the co-founder brothers, James is highly skilled in complementary ways. He’s produced some of the most-viewed documentaries on the topic of medical marijuana and has plenty of business experience as well. His advocacy in the medical marijuana space has seen him go head-to-head with local and federal organizations.
The nootropic industry is mired by regulation, grey areas, and restrictions that limit the safety and capabilities of the community. James seems to be one of the few people capable of rectifying that current problem.
Jordan Greenhall – When I first saw Greenhall speak at the 2016 Voice & Exit conference it was only weeks after meeting Daniel. Half of what Greenhall discussed was going over my head, but his approach to complex problems was evident.
As the former CEO of technology company DivX, Greenhall helped navigate an IPO for a company worth hundreds of millions.
With such business credentials, the future of the Neurohacker Collective looks to be in good hands. As those interested in business and entrepreneurship know, with great finances will come more and better hires, which can help to develop advanced technologies.
The Neurohacker Collective team beyond the co-founders is already robust. The former chief information officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb has come on board to help product development, the Neurohacker crew has the ear of Dr. Andrew Huberman , and many others.
Beyond all the credentials and intellect, the ethos of team is one of sincerity, authenticity, and a world-changing approach to this project…
So why Qualia?
What is Qualia?
With such lofty goals and effective team, why a nootropic stack? Why create an ecommerce business selling a physical product rather than starting to tackle the big goals?
According to Daniel, attacking the project starting with big goals means venture funding, which equates to losing control of the business.
This sounds reminiscent of Elon Musk who refuses to IPO with SpaceX for the same reason. Losing control of a business and coming under too much scrutiny from short-term financiers makes the long-term goals of fixing a problem more challenging.
Therefore, the Neurohacker Collective team has decided to create a high-quality product to kickstart the growth: enter Qualia.
The Neurohacker Qualia product is a comprehensive nootropic stack with 42 ingredients split into two distinct parts.
While I am personally in favor of understanding unique neurochemistry rather than opting for a unique pre-made blend, this is the only one I consume regularly.
Even though I only take it 2 – 3 times as needed per week (rather than 5 x per week as recommended) it is effective, though I have come to think it is more useful than I originally thought.
During my 5 week documentary trip, one good friend in San Francisco surprised me with his anecdote about Qualia.
As a Stanford PhD student in cognitive neuroscience and established entrepreneur, I was surprised to hear him say nothing competed with Qualia as far as nootropics were concerned. He had stopped all others citing Qualia as his personal game changer without the rebound effects of most smart drugs.
In most situations, individual anecdotes mean little as each individual is unique. Given his credentials, however, it was both surprising and influential. Here are some of the highlights from my previous article:
- Effective ingredients – the Neurohacker Collective isn’t afraid to add ingredients with questionable legal status including things like noopept and centrophenoxine. Even the legal options are the best quality (such as alpha GPC, citicoline, and N-acetyl-L-tyrosine)
- Common stacks – within the Neurohacker Qualia product include multiple stacks including CILTEP and caffeine + L-theanine. The former is anecdotally well-tolerated while the latter is well-researched.
- Adequate doses & transparency – while I wish there were certificates of third party analysis, Neurohacker Collective does open their doses for the public to see. No proprietary blends meaning you can see whether the doses are effective or sprinkled in for marketing value.
Qualia can be expensive at $120-150 per month, but for most high mental performers it is worth it if you plan to outsource your brain health to one company. There were side effects for me (and others whom I’ve spoken with) including headache and stomachache, but only for the first 2 trials. The intensity was high and my body didn’t appreciate it at first, but it has adapted.
While I recommend a more personalized approach, if you want a mental boost without spending much time on it, this is a good place to start.
More importantly, it’s a good start for an impressive movement. The Neurohacker Collective is poised to radically alter cognitive enhancement for the better whether in the form of a unique supplement or technologies they have awaiting in the future.