Up Close & Personal With Palantir Technologies

September 28, 2010

11:35 am

Palantir Technologies is a company that was born out of Palo Alto by a few PayPal alumni and Stanford computer scientists, so it’s natural they would have an office in the Washington DC area, right? Well, maybe not so obvious, but they are here for a reason – our Government.

What does Palantir do? They work to radically change how groups analyze information. Amidst the open data and gov 2.0 movement, Palantir is leading the way to integrate, visualize, analyze and make sense of the world’s information. They take all sorts of data including structured, unstructured, relational, temporal, and geospatial and help visualize it in ways that make it easier to see patterns and real information. Their products are built for analysis with a focus on security, scalability, ease of use, and collaboration.

That’s part of the story. How they get that work done is just as important. This is a group of very smart people working with many Government agencies including intelligence, defense, law enforcement and also financial institutions, that has managed to double in size every year while retaining early-stage values: a startup culture, strong work ethic, and rigorous hiring standards.

We were fortunate to be given a tour of Palantir’s McLean, VA office, nicknamed “Rivendell”, to see first hand how the team operates. From the moment they handed us each a Razor push scooter for our tour, it was clear that they value fun. But at the same time, note that it’s the end of the day and most employees are still there, ready to stay late into the evening for a special “Palantir Night Live” speaker who is running a bit late – these are not employees clocking out at 5pm. As David Worn mentioned before the interview, if he can remove any obstacle for his team to get their work done, he will and if adding elements such as a small meditation room or free lunches creates more focused, motivated employees, that’s what they’ll do. Check out the video below where you’ll get a sense of the Rivendell office, and hear more from David Worn about Palantir, past, present and future.

TECH Cocktail is thrilled to have Palantir Technologies as a title sponsor of the upcoming DC startup mixer this Wednesday night at Slaviya.


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Jen Consalvo is the Cofounder and COO of Tech.Co. She previously worked in product development for almost 13 years at AOL for audiences of millions. Follow her on Twitter at: @noreaster.