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  • Writer's pictureAmit Kukreja

Why Palantir's Alex Karp Was Compared to Apple's Steve Jobs

The Comparison

Stanley Drunkenmiller, one of the earliest investors in Palantir from 14 years ago, recently did an interview with Alex Karp. Some of the questions Stanley asked Karp were very unique. Including one in which he compared Karp to Steve Jobs as it pertains to being a visionary.

The direct comparison was:

“...A guy named Steve Jobs, and he broke the number one rule of business. He made products, not that the customer was demanding, he made this product and assumed ‘if I make it they will come’. I kind of get that sense that you guys do that here at palantir too, and I know that what a game changer Foundry was for you. Is there something else out there in the pipeline I don't know about that you could, I'm sure there is, but that you could disclose.” - Stanley Drunkenmiller

Steve Jobs As A Visionary

Steve Jobs built products before the world knew that they needed them. The iPhone, this device that was the internet browser, an iPod or a music player, and a phone built into one was not a device that the world was racing to create.

You know the famous presentation when he shows those three things in one device, the world didn't know they needed that. People were buying MP3 players, they're buying their blackberries, they were using their computers, they didn't know that you could have this one multifaceted device.

Part of the reason Steve Jobs became so monumental, is because this one innovative device opened up trillions of dollars of opportunity and applications still being created today even after his passing.

Basically launched the modern internet infrastructure that we have today. Steve Jobs was able to get it done, which is why he's one of the greatest founders of all time.

When Stanley drunken Miller is asking that question to Alex, it's really interesting because he's implying to Alex Karp that people see you as a ‘pseudo’ Visionary.

Literally telling Karp it was part of the reason he felt confident investing into Palantir. So, what are you doing right now that the rest of the world is not doing or doesn't know they're going to need.

A very zero to one-esque type of question which is why this kind of counter embodies that entire ethos.

Alex Karp As A Visionary

Alex Karp’s response is that in a world in which globalization is slowly seeming to reverse course. A world where relationships with the U.S and China are at their worst point in 30 years, people aren't acknowledging what is happening.

Decades ago, you couldn't imagine that would have happened, because the world was globalizing infrastructure, trade, Logistics, supplies, everything! And rapidly.

At this point, if you're living in a less globalized Society, the ally-ships and partnerships that you have become less meaningful. The antagonisms that you have towards other countries based upon territorial dispute or ideological disputes become heightened and have more aggression behind them.

We're seeing this play out in Russian & Ukraine, and potentially between China and Taiwan.

Even if tensions do not escalate to combat, even if most countries don't start to assert their power, the fear that they could assert their power is what is going to lead to what Karp is saying will be a massive level of growth for Palantir's governmental business.

The reason for this is because Palantir has created that product, a software to give a country like Poland or Lithuania the ability to stand toe to toe with a nuclear super power. Without having a physical nuclear Arsenal but having a software-powered approach to be able to actually defend your sovereignty and individuality as a nation.

That's worth a lot of money, and a lot of countries are going to pay a lot of money for that. Especially because the software is very very difficult to build, given it took Palantir 15 years to build it.

Overall - while both worked in different fields, both Karp and Jobs are seeing the world and where it is going before it gets there, leading to the similar comparisons.

Future will tell if Karp was truly as visionary as Jobs.

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