Palantir Technologies "silicon valley" Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

Palantir Technologies Employee Reviews about "silicon valley"

Updated 18 Apr 2017

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3.8
74%
Recommend to a Friend
78%
Approve of CEO
Palantir Technologies Co-Founder and CEO Alex Karp
Alex Karp
244 Ratings
Pros
  • "smart people, great work/life balance(in 32 reviews)

  • "Palantir is a place makes the rest of Silicon Valley look like it is working on toy train sets(in 18 reviews)

Cons
  • "My work life balance definitely askew - though this is partially due to the kinds of things I chose to sign up for(in 66 reviews)

  • "tons of the usual growing pains(in 23 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "silicon valley"

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  1. Helpful (2)

    "Where the mission really counts"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Forward Deployed Engineer in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Palantir Technologies for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Let me open with a bit of my own background to add context: - Been at Palantir for around 3 years at the moment of this writing. - I've worked at many software companies, including Google. - Also have an academic background (PhD). The most unique thing about working for Palantir is working for missions that really matter. Nothing feels like knowing your work is directly responsible for helping others, and preventing bad things to happen. And don't be fooled into thinking that this is a "drinking the kool-aid" kind of thing. There's no "management" trying to convince me that I'm helping an important cause: I see it by myself and engage on it every single day. Palantir is also pretty dynamic: structures exist but are super flexible. People are encouraged to work on different projects / teams / countries and help on whatever they can. In my tenure at the company, I haven't spent more than 6 months on a same role and it's hard to pinpoint which was the most exciting amongst them. The company's culture is another highlight: a typical Silicon Valley company that spares no resource in making sure its employees are taken care of. At the same time, there's still a start-up feel to the company (even though it's pretty global by now) and I feel like I'm as responsible for shaping Palantir as much as anyone else who is here. Finally, contrary to some rumors I read on the Internet, there isn't really much of a "cult culture" to the company. Employees are psyched about the company, it's culture, values and mission: but helping to e.g. reduce human trafficking does that to you. However, there is definitely no idolization of specific leadership personas as it happens on Google, Facebook and Apple.

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    Cons

    Palantir is the kind of company where employees are really focused and committed to its cause. This doesn't mean you need to do crazy hours - most people I know work pretty normal hours and I myself keep my weekends sacred and never work on them. But people are really focused and committed and want to solve problems and make Palantir a better place - as opposed to just "doing their part" and going home at the end of the day. That said, people who want to focus on a "9 to 5 job and collect the pay check at the end of the month" don't usually thrive at Palantir. Again, this is not exactly about working hours - it's about trying to be active in building a company versus not being able to handle the dynamic nature of it. At Palantir, you won't get an office with your name on the door, your responsibilities will change a lot - sometimes for more, sometimes for less. And you will experience some of the downsides of a loosely structured organization that has been doubling in size every year for the past 8 years. Also touching the points above, some reviews complain about low compensation packages. Without getting into too much detail: Palantir is a pre-IPO company that doubles in valuation every year and focuses its long-term compensation on the form of company stock, rather than cash payments. Think about that for a second. It is an amazing opportunity for those who are committed to staying in the long term and helping the company grow, but a downside for those who prioritize stability and would prefer a pre-established tech giant like Google. Bottom line, if you are seeking a 9-to-5 job and are optimizing on the size of the cash paycheck at the end of the month, then Palantir is probably not for you.

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    Advice to Management

    I find this really hard to answer. At Palantir, my advice to management is delivered directly to managers. The structure is pretty organic and everyone has director access. The idea that a member of "management" would read for advice on a Glassdoor review sounds terrifying.

    Palantir Technologies2015-08-17
  2. Helpful (5)

    "Save the shire!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Forward Deployed Engineer in London, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Palantir Technologies full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    This is a terrific place to work if you get excited by working on really hard, exciting and important problems with incredibly smart people. I've never worked anywhere that had a more powerful sense of mission. Additionally, the organisation optimises on hiring people who are just nice and work well together. So there are a lot of people who are fun to hang out with. Given Palantir's Silicon Valley heritage, the perks are (of course) great - free food, laundry, gym, housing subsidy, etc etc etc. But they're not there to build entitlement - you're expected to work hard, and they're there to make your life easier given that.

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    Cons

    It's not really the place for you if you're looking for an easy life. You will be challenged and have to work really hard.

    Palantir Technologies2014-11-05
  3. Helpful (19)

    "A Zero-to-One Crucible"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Palantir Technologies full-time

    Pros

    Note: I work on the frontlines of commercial BD and was not asked to write this by anyone. Palantir is a place makes the rest of Silicon Valley look like it is working on toy train sets. It is a place that takes Peter's Zero to One philosophy and cranks it to 11. Here you will have the opportunity to help the great organizations of the world do amazing things - change how modern aircraft are built, help research cures for cancer, fight human trafficking, or deploy with counterterrorism units to keep the world safe. You will have the freedom of movement and execution to do whatever it takes to drive our work forward. Whether it is flying to the EU for a high stakes meeting to convert a major pilot, surging for 100 hour weeks in order to avert a client crisis, or facing a hostile skeptic that doesn't understand the value we bring. You decide your personal parameters as they relate to success and failure. Having seen much of the rest of corporate America, you will find no other organization that offers the wide latitude you will see here. You will be surrounded by the smartest, most capable technologists and engineers in the world - who all genuinely want to leave an impact on the world - and they will rally to accomplish any task set in front of them without regard for self comfort or personal gain. All of this comes at a price. See cons.

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    Cons

    You will say goodbye to balance. In work (you will work harder than you ever have). In life (you will have little to none). In standards (you will hold yourself to the highest). You will not be afforded the opportunity to coast. You will not have your hand held. You will be expected to produce results. Again and again. Project after project. There will be times when you are physically and mentally exhausted when working something major, and you will want to throw in the towel - but you will look around and see that everyone else is feeling the same way - and you will either choose to press forward because you think what you're accomplishing is worth it, or you will reach for the white flag. See above about latitude of choice. A small group of individuals will recognize these points as the price of admission into something greater than themselves. The rest will choose to work on like buttons and taxi apps.

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    Advice to Management

    Improve external communication to fight the notion that we are some kind of secret cult.

    Palantir Technologies2017-02-19
  4. Helpful (2)

    "Interesting Place ..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Software Engineer Intern 
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Palantir Technologies

    Pros

    Amazing (like seriously amazing) people. Not just ridiculously smart and talented, but also extremely collaborative, friendly, and nerdy (in a good way) people. I don't think I've ever fit in better with a group of people. Interesting work, I don't want to go into the specifics of what I worked on but it was pretty cool, and used modern technologies.

    Cons

    Work/life balance was kind of bad. Not for me, since I was a software engineering intern, but FDEs had notoriously bad work/life balance, and even software engineers on my team put in 50-60 hours some weeks (2 over the course of a twelve week internship, and both were when we were pushing for release). And this culture of "taking pain" was ingrained in Palantir; I distinctly remember hearing things like "Palantir engineers are set apart by their inability to give up even if things get really hard." Which sounds great and all, but really endorses this work before everything else culture (which doesn't always exist, but can come up before releases). Tying into the previous point, the culture seemed a little kool-aidy. People were really hyped on Palantir fighting terrorism and "saving the shire". People told me that they joined the company because Palantir was the only company where you could change the world and solve huge issues on Silicon Valley pay. Which is true, to an extent. But I don't think that attitude, that Palantir is so much better or doing so much more for the world than other Silicon Valley companies is healthy for their engineers to have. Overall, it's a mixed bag. If you care a lot about your work having a huge impact, and you are okay with putting in more than 40 hrs/week some weeks, then this may be the place for you. If not, you can still probably fit in, and find a place at Palantir, and you would probably be really happy with your coworkers. But you might be happier at another company in terms of work-life balance and culture. There are a lot of really amazing companies in the area after all.

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    Palantir Technologies2017-04-19
  5. "Awesome people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern 

    I worked at Palantir Technologies

    Pros

    The people I met during my internship at Palantir were some of the smartest and coolest people I've met in Silicon Valley. It definitely attracts talent.

    Cons

    The recruiting/rehiring process is fairly opaque and upper management seems opposed to people moving around or switching teams. Projects are fragile and can be cancelled without warning.

    Advice to Management

    Be more transparent. Try harder to keep people if you want them. If someone does another internship somewhere else between interning at Palantir and graduation, they're probably not coming back.

    Palantir Technologies2016-10-14
  6. Helpful (20)

    "Good people, good food, but questionable comp and management"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Forward Deployed Engineer New Grad in Palo Alto, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Palantir Technologies full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Interesting exposure to the intersection of data and business problems for enterprises - Cool problems in distributed computing, particularly for government and military customers - Kitchen Ops is stellar

    Cons

    - Low pay + illiquid equity = Don't plan to stay here if want fair wage at silicon valley - Expectation for work-life imbalance - Great place if you are a fresh grad, not so if you are progressing in your career

    Advice to Management

    Please add balance in your offer letters to fresh grad. It's not fair to get their hopes high with equity offers that's not redeemable.

    Palantir Technologies2016-10-30
  7. Helpful (9)

    "Forward Deployed Engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Forward Deployed Engineer 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Palantir Technologies full-time

    Pros

    Lots of travel Opportunity to interact with clients Standard Silicon Valley perks, even outside of Silicon Valley Everyone here is hard-working (but read below!) Extremely good marketing

    Cons

    Internal politics is difficult to maneuver across the commercial umbrella. Teams have complex, implicit structures while leadership claims that teams are flat. Emphasis is put on aesthetics and impressiveness over utility in certain teams, and especially in early teams ("pilots"). Little opportunity for software development. This is not usually a software development role. Little opportunity for analytics. This is not usually a data science role. In many teams 60 hours is the norm, not the exception. Quality and morale suffer. Palantir is not a startup -- there is no "lottery ticket", so 60 hours should not be the norm. Work is client-specific, and is not usually challenging, innovating, or exciting. There is little room for learning/growth. Certain teams could be more collaborative and open. I had to go out of my way to get constructive feedback here than at other similar companies. Many of these same teams do not have knowledge of the areas they work in, and are proud of their ignorance. Palantir insists it has a flat corporate structure. It exists, it's just implicit. The pro-bono work Palantir highlights is not indicative of the work most people do. Though Palantir is also not as evil as some people seem to think... Pay for full-time positions is below market rate.

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    Advice to Management

    Clarify team structures, and focus more on long-term success rather than short-term gains. Hire more subject matter experts.

    Palantir Technologies2016-05-16
  8. Helpful (18)

    "Some of the brightest minds in the industry"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Infrastructure Quality Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Palantir Technologies full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Talented, hard-working individuals. Lots of amenities. A great opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the smartest people in Silicon Valley

    Cons

    Poor work-life balance, not suited for people with families. Very young middle management means that they're inexperienced and sometimes stumble on things that other managers wouldn't have issues with.

    Palantir Technologies2015-10-15
  9. Helpful (6)

    "A startup within a "startup""

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Forward Deployed Engineer in Santa Monica, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Palantir Technologies full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I work out of the Santa Monica office, and it's fantastic place to be: * The projects worked on here are a mix of public safety, health care, and even entertainment. In each area, we're having a huge impact, and getting to work directly with both decision makers and end users, seeing the impact of our work every day. * The office is small and feels like its own startup. We have all the perks of a large Silicon Valley company (free meals, fun activities, access to incredible problems and technology) and yet at the same time, it feels like we're this small underdog, fighting to make a difference against the entrenched powers and processes. * The location is fantastic. We're 5 blocks from the beach, and try to get out there regularly. 1-on-1s mean walking along the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Palantir in general has let me own really important problems, literally saving lives at times, and work with the smartest people I've ever gotten to work with. And here in Santa Monica, we get to do all of that with fantastic weather all year round.

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    Cons

    The biggest change for me, coming to Palantir, was losing some many of my hobbies, at least at first. Palantir done right isn't about Work-Life Balance, but about Work-Life Blend. That's because the problems are so interesting and important, but the cost can be hard for some. For me, I didn't mind losing softball or an extra hour of TV. But I know for some it's been hard to let go of night classes or a personal podcast, at least at first. My recommendation is to be prepared when you join to make Palantir your top priority for at least 6-12 months. Then when the dust settles, and the fire hose of information has died down, you'll find that you're outlook on what's important has probably changed. Those items that are still important will be easy to bring back in, but many old hobbies just won't seem as interesting any more. At least, that's how it worked for me.

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    Palantir Technologies2015-09-04
  10. Helpful (1)

    "Solving the world's hardest problems with the world's smartest people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Forward Deployed Engineer in Palo Alto, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Palantir Technologies full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    I have never before felt such a connection to meaningful work in such an impactful way, and my team is filled with some of the brightest, most driven and most impressive people I have ever met. If you told me I had to be stuck on a desert island and I could only bring three people, I would randomly pick any three people from my team over pretty much anyone else on earth, because I trust them that much to solve terribly difficult problems with ingenuity and a hearty laugh. Questions about 'work-life balance' sort of imply that work is not my life, and the truth is that my life would be wholly unsatisfying without work, and I am immensely gratified by putting in a hard day's grind when I see the impact on my organization and the world around me as a result. I am entrusted with massive responsibility every day, and the moment I demonstrate that I'm able to handle more: it's given to me. The perks are pretty excellent, too -- three free meals a day? It may be a Silicon Valley cliché at this point, but that doesn't make it any less amazing to have as a guarantee five days a week.

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    Cons

    Sometimes it's hard to convince yourself to take advantage of the unlimited vacation when so much exciting stuff is happening here and you feel like you're such a key part of it.

    Advice to Management

    I think the company could consider changing its strategy surrounding its people program

    Palantir Technologies2015-09-04
Found 25 reviews