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 steer the thoughts and actions of two billion people’s minds every day?”

Called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” by The Atlantic magazine, Tristan Harris spent three years as a Design Ethicist at Google understanding how technology manipulates the evolutionary limits and vulnerabilities of the human mind – especially as it relates to addiction, the spread of conspiracies and misinformation.

Tristan left Google in 2016 to work full-time on a non-profit initiative called Time Well Spent. The initiative aims to catalyze a rapid, coordinated change among technology companies through public advocacy, the development of ethical design standards, design education and policy recommendations to protect minds from nefarious manipulation.

Tristan has spent a decade understanding the invisible influences that hijack human thinking and action. Drawing on literature from addiction, performative magic, cult indoctrination, behavioral economics, he is currently developing a framework for ethical persuasion, especially as it relates to the moral responsibility of technology companies.

His work has been featured on TED60 Minutes, HBO RealTime with Bill MaherPBS NewsHourThe AtlanticRecode1843 Economist Magazine, WiredNYTimes, Der SpiegelRue89 and more. Tristan is a part-time Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School in Government.

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.

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