May 26, 2020 - Economy

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California


Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."

The big picture: Karp blamed the "increasing intolerance and monoculture" of Silicon Valley. In recent years, employee action has pushed several large corporations, including Google, away from government contracts that staffers felt violated human rights.

Some of Karp's own staff were unhappy with Palantir signing a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he told "Axios on HBO."

  • "I've had my favorite employees yell at me," he said. "I've had some of my favorite employees leave."
  • "I had people protesting me. People protesting me, some of whom I think asked really legitimate questions. I've asked myself if I were younger, at college, would I be protesting me? And you know, it depends?"
  • "The most valid criticism that they have is, essentially, that if you are involved in anything, that one instance of injustice, does it tarnish all instances of justice?"

Between the lines: Palantir joins Elon Musk's Tesla as high-profile companies are publicly considering leaving California.

  • Karp works from a barn in New Hampshire.
  • "I've been distanced [from Silicon Valley] for the last 15 years. And so I'm used to being social distanced in the Valley. And now social distancing has become a way of life."
  • "I’m not worried about Elon leaving anytime soon," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week.
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