Tristan talking to the fellows

Tristan Harris, CEO and co-founder of Apture, joined the fellows for a question and answer session, talking about his experience as a programmer and entrepreneur. Unlike the hackNY Summer Series lectures, this event was held more as a roundtable, and the Fellows were able to ask plenty of questions about being a programmer in the startup world; investors and funding; starting a company; and all the hurdles Tristan had faced starting Apture.

The Fellows were very interested in Tristan’s undergraduate career at Stanford, his internship at Apple and, specifically, how it affected his choice between working for a larger company and starting his own. “It’s a choice between being a small cog in a big wheel or having a lot of impact on a company that has a smaller reach,” he explained, “You can have an impact both ways.”

The fellows listening while chowing on Thai food

Tristan also answered questions about starting Apture and the challenges they had faced in the last four years. Starting the company he found that, as an entrepreneur, much of his learning was through trial and error. He also explained how their product, a website plugin that displays pertinent information when text is selected, faced the same stigma that generic, ad-based popups do. Each startup has to face its own difficulties, and Tristan talked at length about how that anti-popup stigma affected the design, code, and marketing of their product.