Tristan Walker’s Plans to Increase Diversity in Silicon Valley

The former head of business development at FourSquare now has his sights set on increasing diversity in the tech sector.

By Von Diaz Nov 11, 2013

Silicon Valley, and the U.S. tech sector in general, is notoriously white and male. The lack of diversity and equity in the tech sector is starting to be addressed in small ways by a (slowly) growing number of entrepreneurs and developers of color, but the industry has a long way to go. 

Among the movers and shakers trying to change the monochromatic boys club of Silicon Valley, and New York’s burgeoning Silicon Alley, is 29-year-old Tristan Walker. He’s best known for managing business development for Four Square, but has recently moved on to pursue other ventures. 

In an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered, Walker talks about growing up in public housing in Queens, N.Y., the lack of role models in the industry, and his first experiences grappling with white privilege in academia and the tech sector.  

"A lot of my classmates had a confidence that I’d never seen before," he says. "It was almost as if the world just worked for them in a way that they expected it to."

Now, Walker is trying increase diversity in Silicon Valley and beyond with a new organization called Code 2040–named for the anticipated year when minorities will become the majority in the U.S.–which is an internship program for black and Latino students interested in tech. Listen to his full interview on NPR’s Code Switch