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

Tristan is a design thinker, philosopher and entrepreneur.

Called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” by Atlantic magazine, Tristan Harris was formerly a design ethicist at Google and now is a leader in Time Well Spent, a movement to align technology with our humanity. Time Well Spent aims to heighten consumer awareness about how technology shapes our minds, empower consumers with better ways to use technology and change business incentives and design practices to align with humanity’s best interest.

Tristan is an avid researcher of what influences human behavior, beliefs and interpersonal dynamics. He is researching and exploring a framework for what it means to ethically influence human minds and interpersonal interactions at scale – as technology designers do.

His work has been featured in the PBS NewsHourThe Atlantic, Recode Podcast1843 Economist Magazine, WiredNYTimes, Der SpiegelNY Review of Books, TED, Rue89 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 publisher network of a billion page views per month.

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.

Notable Awards & Mentions:

  • Rated #16 in Inc Magazine’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 in 2009
  • Stanford Mayfield Fellow in Entrepreneurship

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