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Palantir CEO Alexander Karp. Photo by Bloomberg.

The Flaws in Palantir's Big Tech-Like Growth Tactic

Photo: Palantir CEO Alexander Karp. Photo by Bloomberg.

Enterprise software firm Palantir has proudly trod its own path in the tech industry, embracing an openly nationalist attitude that is in keeping with its roots serving the defense and intelligence communities. In his first appearance on a company earnings call today, CEO Alexander Karp even described Palantir as a company that “in every way looks nonstandard, run by people that are very different.” 

As if to prove the point, he suggested that some observers viewed him as “batshit crazy” (you certainly don’t hear that from a CEO every day) and then cursed several more times on a call that was refreshingly free of the usual corporate blather. But one area where Palantir is taking a conventional tech industry approach is its strategy of investing in companies—including some going public via mergers with special purpose acquisition companies—that also agree to become Palantir customers. In other words, Palantir is essentially buying business for itself, which has become a standard tactic in the cloud industry, in particular for Microsoft and Google. 

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