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.

Currently, he is a Product Philosopher at Google working on Design Ethics: how the design of technology influences users’ behavior, attention and well-being.

Independently, he works on a design movement for Time Well Spent, akin to the Organic movement for farming, with the aim to shift from the attention economy’s competition to seduce people’s psychological instincts, to a competition of net positive contributions to people’s lives.

He’s developing a framework to guide product designers on how to align choices with the lives users’ want to live, while supporting their overall well-being and attention.  He has led design sprints with various product teams, including a meeting between Google’s lead product designers and Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, international spokesperson for Mindfulness. Previously at Google, Tristan worked on advanced personal assistance and productivity applications.

Before Google, Tristan was CEO and Co-Founder of Apture, which enabled millions of users to get instant, on-the-fly explanations for any topic without leaving their place, across a vast network of online publishers. Google acquired Apture in November 2011.

Tristan graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Computer Science, focusing on Human Computer Interaction, and studied behavior change and habit formation under Professor BJ Fogg in the Stanford Persuasive Technology lab.

Notable Awards & Mentions:

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


Headshot photos for Press & Speaking Engagements: