Tristan Walker: Be an Authentic Entrepreneur [Entire Talk] | Summary and Q&A

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April 15, 2014
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Stanford eCorner
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Tristan Walker: Be an Authentic Entrepreneur [Entire Talk]

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Can you speak more about your life prior to working on Wall Street and the opportunities, people, and personal traits that helped you get to that step?

Sure! My life prior to working on Wall Street was anything but glamorous. I grew up in Queens, New York, in a welfare family and lived in the projects. It was not an easy upbringing, but it instilled in me a strong drive and determination to succeed. From a young age, I had one goal in life - to become as wealthy as possible, as quickly as possible. I knew that there were three ways to achieve this goal: becoming an actor or athlete, working on Wall Street, or becoming an entrepreneur.

Unfortunately, the first two paths didn't work out for me. I realized that I didn't have the talent or passion for acting or athletics, and my experience working on Wall Street was a major disappointment. I hated the culture and knew that it wasn't the path for me. That's when I discovered entrepreneurship.

I applied to Stanford Business School as a way to distance myself from Wall Street and explore the world of entrepreneurship. It was there that I learned about Silicon Valley and the incredible opportunities it offered. I saw young people my age making millions of dollars and changing the world, and I knew I had to figure out how to be a part of that.

During my first year of business school, I had the chance to work at Twitter, which was a challenging experience, but taught me a lot about the importance of culture. Then, in between my first and second year of business school, I joined Foursquare as one of its earliest employees, running business development for the company for three years. It was during this time that I truly discovered my passion for building great companies.

After my time at Foursquare, I joined Andreessen Horowitz as an entrepreneur in residence and eventually started my own company, Walker & Company. Throughout my journey, I have been fortunate to have mentors and advisors who have believed in me and supported my goals. I've also had to rely on my own resilience, hard work, and determination to overcome obstacles and achieve success.

Overall, my life prior to Wall Street taught me the importance of perseverance and the power of having a clear goal. It showed me that opportunities can come from unexpected places and that the path to success is often filled with challenges and setbacks. But through it all, I've learned that if you stay focused, work hard, and surround yourself with the right people, you can achieve your dreams.

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