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.

He is a leader in the “Time Well Spent” movement (http://timewellspent.io), for technology designed to enhance our humanity over additional screen time. Instead of a “time spent” economy where apps and websites compete for how much time they take from people’s lives, Time Well Spent hopes to re-structure design so apps and websites compete to help us live by our values and spend time well.

Tristan was a Design Ethicist and Product Philosopher at Google until 2016, where he studied how technology influences a billion users’ attention, well-being and behavior. He led design sprints with product teams, including a meeting between Google’s lead product designers and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, international spokesperson for Mindfulness.

Tristan’s work has been featured in the Atlantic magazine, 1843 Economist MagazineNYTimes, Der SpiegelNew York Review of Books, TED, Rue89 and more.

Previously, Tristan was CEO and Co-Founder of Apture, which Google acquired in 2011. Apture enabled millions of users to get instant, on-the-fly explanations without leaving their place, 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).


Headshot photos for Press & Speaking Engagements