Generally the definition of "nootropic" is a drug that enhances or increases some aspect of human cognitive-brain function, such as long-term memory, short-term memory, working memory, language acquisition and other functions. The concept of a "minimally viable nootropic" is based on the idea of a nootropic that endows its user with the ability to design, manufacture, and test an even better nootropic.

Nootropics that "make you smarter" should "make you smarter" enough to make an even smarter "smart drug". It is conceivable that even basic stimulants are able to help a user design and manufacture a better nootropic, but that perhaps the users aren't sufficiently interested or motivated to build a better nootropic. Perhaps, then, the definition should be modified to also mean that the user's motivation or interest in building better nootropics should also be increased. However, it may turn out that "intrinsic motivation" doesn't matter at all. Still, at some level, the only way to show that a nootropic satisfies the recursive better nootropic definition is if the user actually does design and make some new nootropic, and whether that happens through motivational manipulation or otherwise is not particularly important to the definition.