Aug 26, 2020 - Technology

Palantir CEO Alex Karp slams Silicon Valley

The Palantir CEO.
Alex Karp in May. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Palantir CEO Alex Karp, who recently announced plans to move his company to Denver from Palo Alto, took aim at Silicon Valley in a letter to the software maker's investors, reports CNBC.

Why it matters: Karp's veiled broadsides at Facebook and Google belie a frustration with their business practices while Palantir has faced scrutiny for its secretive government contracts, often focused on intelligence and counterterrorism work.

What he's saying: "The engineering elite of Silicon Valley may know more than most about building software. But they do not know more about how society should be organized or what justice requires."

  • "Our company was founded in Silicon Valley. But we seem to share fewer and fewer of the technology sector’s values and commitments."
  • "For many consumer internet companies, our thoughts and inclinations, behaviors and browsing habits, are the product for sale. The slogans and marketing of many of the Valley’s largest technology firms attempt to obscure this simple fact."

The backdrop: Karp previewed his thinking about Silicon Valley "monoculture" and Palantir's move in an "Axios on HBO" interview in May.

  • "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."
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