My Totally Awesome Interview with Tristan Walker

Soooo. I’ve been trying to work on my “writing career” slowly but surely. The latest chapter in this walk is my interview with the totally awesome Tristan Walker of FourSquare: “Square Biz: The Silicon Valley Hustle of Tristan Walker, VP of Biz Dev at FourSquare” I pitched this interview to The Atlanta Post months ago, and I finally finished it! Tristan is great, he really gives off a very inspiring vibe, and you can tell he really loves his job (I would love his job if I were him too!) Anyway, below is the intro, check out his story it’s really interesting for anyone pursuing a career in tech. I also asked him about diversity in tech and it was good to get his thoughts on the matter.

If you haven’t heard about mobile social startup FourSquare, then you must not be paying attention to the news, your TV or your local Starbucks. A location-based application for your phone, FourSquare is seen as the frontrunner among the crop of location-based services vying for your attention. In charge of business development over at FourSquare is Queens-bred Tristan Walker, a recent graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and former Wall Street oil trader turned tech shot-caller. Walker leads FourSquare’s partnership development with media, brands and retailers such as MTV, Bravo, American Eagle, CNN, The New York Times, Louis Vuitton, and VH1.

Walker talked with The Atlanta Post about what it’s like juggling a full-time exec-level position at a hot startup while simultaneously finishing up his MBA at one of the leading business programs in the country. Find out how he landed this position, how he became interested in the Silicon Valley hustle, and what he thinks about diversity in technology.

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3-Hour Champagne Diet: AtlantaPost.com Launch Party

Atlanta Post

Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of attending the exclusive launch party for AtlantaPost.com, hosted by Armand de Brignac champagne. You may know Armand de Brignac champagne from rap videos and Jay-Z songs, as the product is encased in gold bottles with the Ace of Spades on them.

If you didn’t already know, The Atlanta Post is a brand new site that “provides original and aggregated content on personal finance, business, media and politics” for the higher-income African-American community.

This was the first event being held by The Atlanta Post, and they came out the gates pretty strong, by honoring a group of Black professionals across various areas:

Atlanta Post and Armand de BrignacBusiness

  • Randal Pinkett, businessman and entrepreneur of “The Apprentice” fame

Personal Finance

  • Ryan Mack, popular personal finance expert and frequent commentator on CNN’s business segments
  • Carmen Wong Ulrich, personal finance expert for CNBC and previous host of “On the Money”

Entrepreneurship

  • Miko and Titi Branch, founders/CEOs of the well-known “Miss Jessie’s” hair line

Media

  • Michaela Angela Davis, critic, writer, and the last editor-in-chief of Honey Magazine
  • Karen Taylor Bass, CEO/President of TaylorMade Media and a national leader in public relations and empowerment

Politics

  • Derrick Ashong, a political voice whose YouTube fame earned him his current show on Oprah’s Sirius network
  • Farai Chideya, award-winning author, journalist, and commentator on politics and media for NPR programs including, The Takeaway
The Atlanta Post Launch Party Honorees
Ryan Mack (far left) and Randal Pinkett (far right). Also pictured, Atlanta Post editor China Okasi (right) and guest.

I was very impressed with the selection of the honorees, and even talked to a few of them (fellow MIT alum Randal Pinkett was really cool, and Miko & Titi Branch were such sweethearts!). Not only were the honorees an awesome group of people in their own right, but the guests I chatted up were also an interesting and accomplished group. Honestly, I had fun getting to know some new faces in NYC. I was a bit taken aback when a few people recognized me from the Internets, or said they had heard of me before….but the world is small, and that’s bound to happen. It freaks me out a little bit, but I should get used to it, no?Armand de Brignac

As for the champagne, it was quite luxurious. The event took place in SoHo at the loft of Armand de Brignac. When I exited the elevator, I was greeted by someone from the company who briefed me on the champagne. I was impressed, although I’m a champagne n00b, so some of the details went over my head (I’m still trying to get a grasp on wine!). As the night went on, we learned more about the Armand de Brignac selection of products via the sommelier who explained what we were drinking, and how the menu of hors d‘oeuvres complemented the tasting.

All in all, I had a great time. I think The Atlanta Post planned a good event to help spread the word about the new site, but also managed to touch some influencers within the community. It was a solid attempt to get on the radar of their audience, as well as a great partnership with a strong and relevant brand. As someone who observes and works in the space, there are many new sites that pop up to serve this demographic, but have poor execution in connecting with influencers or their audience. It’s an uphill battle if all you do is plan to sit behind your computer and talk at an audience, rather than engage with them in real life. Well played.

Slideshow of more photos from the event: