This Andreessen Horowitz-Backed Entrepreneur's Wife Never Wanted Him To Work In Tech

Tristan walkerTristan WalkerTristan Walker chose Foursquare over Boston Consulting Group.

Today, Tristan Walker is one of the most admired people in the technology industry.

He made a name for himself growing Foursquare’s business as one of its first employees, and is now the founder and CEO of Walker & Company, an Andreessen Horowitz-backed startup that makes beauty products for people of colour.

And he has done all that despite coming from humble origins — a single-parent home inside a Queens, New York public housing complex.

But none of Walker’s success in Silicon Valley would have occurred if his wife, Amoy, had gotten her way.

According to J.J. McCorvey’s in-depth profile of Tristan Walker for Fast Company, Amoy Walker was perplexed by her husband’s decision to take a sales job at Foursquare instead of a lucrative offer to work at Boston Consulting Group.

Given Tristan Walker’s modest upbringing and his status as a minority, Amoy Walker felt he would be better off taking the safe path to financial security offered by an elite consulting firm rather than gambling on a startup that was still in its infancy.

“As a black man, you don’t take risks like that,” Amoy Walker tells McCorvey. “You don’t get your good degrees and go work at a company that makes no sense. You just don’t do that!”

Then a student at Stanford Business School, Tristan Walker would become Foursquare’s head of business development. He excelled in the job by creating business partnerships with top-tier brands like the NBA, Starbucks, and MTV. By the time he was ready to leave in 2012, prominent venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz offered him a job as its entrepreneur-in-residence.

McCorvey’s story also has a number of other fascinating details about Tristan Walker’s experience as a black founder in predominantly white Silicon Valley, including an anecdote about a real estate agent Walker was negotiating with other the phone who automatically assumed he was white.

You can read McCorvey’s profile of Walker for Fast Company here >>

Disclosure: Marc Andreessen, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, is an investor in Business Insider.

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