About Tristan Harris

Tristan co-founded Apture in 2007, after stopping out of Stanford’s Masters Computer Science program. He is rated #16 in Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs under 30. A Mayfield Fellow with the Stanford Technology Ventures Program in entrepreneurship, Tristan’s career spans the open content world of Wikia and the user interface engineering world of Apple. By the age of 20, Tristan had filed his first patents around new information navigation and browsing interfaces. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, eWeek, and he has given lectures and talks in conferences and universities across the world, including at MIT’s Media Lab and at Stanford University.
When not evangelizing Apture, Tristan spends his time reading about mirror neurons and behavioral economics, playing Yann Tiersen music on the piano, and dancing argentine tango in San Francisco. Tristan holds a BS in Computer Science from Stanford, with a focus in Human Computer Interaction

“How do you ethically shape the thoughts and actions that will appear in a billion people’s minds today?”

Called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” by The Atlantic magazine, Tristan Harris was previously a Design Ethicist at Google and left the company to lead Time Well Spent, a non-profit movement to align technology with our humanity. Time Well Spent aims to transform the race for attention by revealing how technology hijacks our minds, and to demonstrate how better incentives and design practices will create a world that helps us spend our time well.

Tristan is an avid researcher of what persuades our minds, drawing on insights from sleight of hand magic, linguistics, persuasive technology, cult psychology and behavioral economics. Currently he is developing a framework for ethical persuasion, especially as it relates to the moral responsibility of technology companies.

His work has been featured on 60 MinutesPBS NewsHourThe Atlantic Magazine, ReCodeTED1843 Economist Magazine, WiredNYTimes, Der SpiegelNY Review of BooksRue89 and more.

Previously, Tristan was CEO of Apture, which Google acquired in 2011. Apture enabled millions of users to get instant, on-the-fly explanations across a vast publisher network.

Tristan holds several patents from his work at Apple, Wikia, Apture and Google. He graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Computer Science, focused on Human Computer Interaction, while dabbling in behavioral economics, social psychology, behavior change and habit formation in Professor BJ Fogg’s Stanford Persuasive Technology lab. He was rated #16 in Inc Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 in 2009.

Read his most popular essay How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds – from a Magician and Google’s Design Ethicist (15 min read) – in French, Portuguese, Arabic and Mandarin.

 

Headshot photos for Press & Speaking Engagements

 

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