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Palantir

Mission: Helping the world's most important institutions use their data to solve their most urgent problems.
Location: Palo Alto, California
Employees: 2113
Funding: Total Funding - $2 billion - 2006 - 2017

Company Q&A

Q: What are some common reasons you've observed people not thrive within your culture at Palantir?

Q: At what cadence do you establish goals at Palantir?

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Palantir  •
Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto, California
The mission of a Full Stack Developer is to design and build...
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Palantir Salaries

30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 10% 20% 30% 40%
Top 25%
$112,498
Average
$97,824
Bottom 25%
$63,586

Testimonials

What employees at Palantir think about working there

“Although you get to work with many highly intelligent people, the work culture is aggressive. There's a fraternity attitude that thrives here, fostering bullies and conceited egoists. Although they say the organizational structure is flat, there's an implicit hierarchy where certain people are untouchable. I left because the company does very little to promote good mental health.”
“There's a great opportunity to learn a wide range of pretty much everything. The staff is generally nice, but everyone is hyper intelligent, so if you engage with your peers you'll be able to accelerate learning in any area. We don't really have great work life balance, but that comes with the interesting work we're doing.”
“The greatest thing about working at Palantir is just the type of work we do and how we're making an impact. The work itself can get pretty repetitive and the problems we're solving aren't too technically intense. It can also be annoying trying to break through red tape at our clients organizations because they don't have the vision of how the world is changing.
“Being able to travel around the world working with some of the globe's highest profile people completely changes your perspective on reality. We're given the tools to accomplish whatever we want, and we directly see how the companies react to the work we're doing. We're the ones making the change for how institutions solve their most complex problems.”
Getting to work at Palantir means you're probably working on some of the most interesting problems of your career. To think of the far-reaching consequences of your work, and the impact you can have on the world, is very motivating and empowering.”

Palantir Glassdoor Themes

High impact problems

I've never had the opportunity to work on problems as interesting with real world implications. I swear sometimes just reading the project info gives me goosebumps.
Probably the best part about working at Palantir is the ability to work on great problems with great people. Ego's will sometimes clash, but in general the best idea always wins, and people are willing to work together to build great solutions.

Internal autonomy

Absolutely no micro-management, actually very little engagement at all by managers. Great if you want to work on your own, but it sets you up to be scared if you want to ask for help.
A great place to work just because of the nature of the company. When you hire the top 1% of the top 1%, they know you're able to work on projects how you choose. There's a social hierarchy inherent in the team structure, even with the explicit flat org design, but it's hard to get away from that with hyper intelligent and competitive people.

Limited growth potential

Palantir seems to be structuring itself to be a business consultant for high end tech. The nature of businesses we're partnering with means the work itself can get repetitive, and after awhile you stagnate on learning and career growth.
The majority of the higher up positions are already filled and so there's not much opportunity for vertical movement. I don't really care about position titles though, and the opportunity to learn and work on anything definitely makes up for it.

What's the office culture and environment like at Palantir?

“"Palantir is one of the top tech companies in the world to work for and therefore the office culture is definitely going to be slightly different than your normal company. Your co-workers are highly intelligent and we're given the autonomy to work on are own projects at our own pace.

The great thing about the office culture is the fact that you're surrounded by brilliant people. If you're someone who thrives in an environment where people always have opinions how things should be, and how to get there, this is a beautiful place to work.

What this means though is often you'll have people who have heavily conflicting opinions of how things should be on a philosiphical or ideological level. As we're all a pretty competitive group, no one is really willing to give up the 'win'. If you're someone who takes contrary opinions to heart heavily, and you have difficulty in seeing through differences of thought, Palantir will be a difficult work environment.

The office environment is competitive and driven, but generally positive. I've loved my time working here because of the ability to learn and test my beliefs on a daily basis."”

What is the interview process like at Palantir?

“Palantir has a very difficult interview process that involves a mix of case problems to crack, phone interviews, and on-site interviews, with a wide range of technical and behavioral questions. They definitely view themselves as one of the top companies to work for, and expect you to mold your schedule to their wishes. Overall though they're generally pretty quick to respond and give feedback on what you did well vs. what you didn't do well on.”

What are your co-workers like at Palantir?

“Your co-workers at Palantir will be very smart, most often kind, and very exciteable. Working on interesting problems in a fast pace environment means you'll either sink or swim with the team. If you work well you'll be respected, if you don't perform expect people to start to brush you off.”

Can I grow my career at Palantir?

“Although Palantir is a great place to learn different skills, it isn't a company where career growth is very possible. With a flat organizational structure there aren't many managerial positions and those who've risen the ranks probably won't be leaving anytime soon.”

What kind of projects is Palantir working on?

“"The projects we work on are all highly technical applications to help solve the largest currently unsolvable problems of organizations. What we work on impacts the world above and below the surface in ways unimagineabale even 10 years ago.

So what kind of questions are we trying to answer?

- How can you prevent the next $65 billion ponzi scheme?

- How can you help governments save billions by reducing and optimizing spending?

- How can we stop genocides happening in countries world wide?

- How can we help scientists monitor environmental changes for positive change?

These are the questions that we work on, on a daily basis. To have the ability to use my technical skills to work on challenges people only dreamed of solving is the greatest work motivator I've ever had."”

What's the best part about working or Palantir?

Best about working for Palantir by far is our ability to work on interesting problems that have far reaching real world impact. On top of being able to work on a wide variety of projects, we're given the autonomy and the resources to solve them in innovative ways.

How's the work life balance at Palantir?

If you're working for Palantir, it's probably more likely than not that work is your life. I don't mind because the problems we work on are interesting enough to want to work at home, but expect to work 60+ hours a week regularly. We're also travelling pretty frequently country to country so keeping a group of local friends can be difficult.

What benefits does Palantir provide its employees?

Palantir treats their employees very well. Fully stocked kitchens with high quality and healthy food, a take-what-you-need vacation and PTO policy, and they're very understanding of maternity & paternity leave. Medical insurance is covered for you and your partner. There are employee offerings including massages, chiro exams, and more.

What does the media think of Palantir?

“"Palantir has received a wide range of criticism in the media for many different reasons; their 'under-the-radar approach', their connections with Cambridge Analytica, and just general push back from the public, who are not yet ready to see the benefits of using data for problems.

All this criticism impacts the company's position, but nothing has impacted it more than when one of it's largest target segments backs out from a potential deal. Palantir pushed a two-year effort to create a data-sharing consortium for the consumer packaged good companies, a project to help companies like Coca-Cola and Kimberly-Clark, but these companies felt the price tag was too high for the benefit.

Media organizations like BuzzFeed love to write articles about Palantir, and jump on these failures. Palantir has the perfect balance for news, a mix of a high growth startup, backed by some big Silicon Valley names (like Peter Thiel), and a hidden business model based on data. Media loves to jump at opportunities to highlight their failures.

If you're considering to work for Palantir but you're worried how the external world would view you, I would say ignore it. No company grows without failures. We're working on solving some of the world's most interesting problems, and it will take time for media and the general public to recognzie the good we're doing for the everyday person."”

About Palantir

Palantir offers a suite of software applications to help companies integrate, visualize, and analyze information. Palantir's mission is to solve the most important problems for the world's most important institutions, giving organizations actionable insights on their data to increase efficiency and effectiveness in their operations.

Founded in 2003 by a group of PayPal alumni and Stanford computer scientists, Peter Thiel, Nathan Gettings, Joe Lonsdale, Stephen Cohen, and current CEO Alex Karp. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Palantir has grown rapidly to become one of the largest tech firms in the world by valuation. With 21 rounds of investments from notable investors such as the CIA's venture capital arm In-Q-Tel, Kortscahk Investments, and direct investments from Peter Thiel, the company has raised over $2.5 billion in funding.

Positive reviews from employees report enjoying the ability to solve problems that have far reaching consequences, that autonomy to work how you want to work, the ability to work with hyper intelligent people, and the opportunity to accelerate your learning about the intersection of business and technology. Negative reviews from employees report being frustrated with the low pay compared to Silicon Valley standards, the lack of work/life balance, the illiquidity of their stock options, and working on problems not matching the complexity they're looking for.

Palantir has received a wide range of negative feedback from media for its private approach to its business. Like any company that has had large amount of growth, there are many questions about the validity of the valuation of the company. Palantir has positioned itself to be a leader in providing data science solutions for the changing world landscape.

There are opportunities to work for Palantir in administrative, business development, design, engineering, finance, legal, product, operations, and recruiting positions. There are also opportunities for internships and part-time positions around the globe.

Values and Beliefs

There are three guiding areas to Palantir's operations:

- The Best Idea Wins. Palantir knows that sometimes the best ideas can come from the lowest people in the organization. They create an environment that supports people in voicing their opinions on new and old tech, and choose the best ideas of what is said. They claim to be intolerant of politicking, ego, and power brokers, and focus on impact over anything else.

- Nothing is Permanent. Palantir knows that what might be the best product right now, will most likely not be the best product in 2 years, or even 2 months. Opportunities come and go every day, and Palantir knows that inventing the future requires detaching yourself from the past.

- Keep Focused on the Mission. Palantir views software as a means to effecting change in the world, and not an end unto iself. Their mission is to help their clients solve their most important problems. By always staying focussed on the problems of the users, there is a constant known direction of where Palantir is going.

Interview Questions

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Why are you interested in working for Palantir?

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History

Although the majority of sources cite that Palantir was founded in 2004, it was actually officially incorporated in may of 2003 by Peter Thiel. The name of the company was based of the "seeing stone" in Tolkien's legendarium. Thiel viewed the company as a mission based company, the goal being to use software similar to PayPal's fraud recognition systems to "reduce terrorism while perserving civil liberties".

The company might have been seen as an all star group, but Alex Karp (the appointed CEO) reported having difficulty finding initial investors. The company started with a direct investment by Peter Thiel of $30 million, and an investment of $2 million rom the U.S. CIA's venture capital arm In-Q-Tel.

Palantir recognized after 3 years of pilots, facilitated by through the partnership with the CIA, that pure artificial intelligence could not be the solution to defeating adaptive adversaries. As such, Palantir delved into using a mix of human analysts and AI, called intelligence augmentation, to solve their problems.