Alexander Karp (1967) is an American businessman and the co-founder and CEO of the software firm Palantir Technologies.
The son of a Jewish father and an African American mother, Karp was raised in a Jewish family in Philadelphia and graduated from Central High School in 1985. He has said he struggled with dyslexia from an early age.
Karp earned a bachelor's degree from Haverford College, a juris doctor from Stanford University, and a doctorate in neoclassical social theory from Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, Germany. Karp's thesis, supervised by Karola Brede, was titled "Aggression in der Lebenswelt: Die Erweiterung des Parsonsschen Konzepts der Aggression durch die Beschreibung des Zusammenhangs von Jargon, Aggression und Kultur", which means "Aggression in the life-world: The extension of Parsons' concept of aggression by describing the connection between jargon, aggression, and culture."
Karp has said he successfully invested in startups and stocks after receiving an inheritance from his grandfather.
Karp founded the London-based money management firm Caedmon Group.
In 2004, along with Peter Thiel (who had been a classmate at Stanford) and others, he co-founded Palantir as CEO.
Karp has described himself as a socialist and a progressive, and said he voted for Hillary Clinton. In 2017, he was recorded during a Palantir company meeting claiming he turned down an invitation from President Trump, saying “I respect nothing about the dude.”
He has said that technology companies like Palantir have an obligation to support the U.S. military. He has defended Palantir's contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the controversy over family separations, saying that while separations are "a really tough, complex, jarring moral issue," he favors "a fair but rigorous immigration policy". He has said the U.S. government should have a strong hand in tech regulation and that western countries should dominate AI research.
Palantir's customers at the New York Police Department referred it to JPMorgan, which became the company's first commercial client in 2010. A group of engineers rented a Tribeca loft and slept in bunk beds while working around the clock to help the bank solve its fraud problems. They were soon tasked with unwinding the company's toxic mortgage portfolio. Palantir's New York business has grown to include a full-fledged Batman-themed office called Gotham, and the company's lucrative financial-services practice now covers everything from forecasting foreclosures to fighting Chinese hackers.
Palantir's idealistic culture started to show cracks as its customer base expanded. Early in 2011, e-mails surfaced revealing that a Palantir engineer worked on a plan to deal with a WikiLeaks attempt to leak Bank of America records. In the e-mails, the Palantir employee enthusiastically agreed to suggest monitoring and revealing WikiLeaks' contributors, launching cyberattacks on the organization's infrastructure, and even intimidating its sympathizers. When the controversy emerged, Karp placed the offending engineer on leave and publicly apologized, promising that the organization would help "progressive principles and causes." Outside counsel was hired to investigate the firm's actions and procedures, and after much deliberation, it was decided that rehiring the offending employee was appropriate, much to the chagrin of the company's critics.
Following the WikiLeaks incident, Palantir's privacy and civil liberties team developed the Batphone, an ethics hotline for engineers that allows any engineer to anonymously report work on behalf of a customer that they believe is unethical to Palantir's directors. For example, the company backed out of a job that involved analyzing information on public Facebook pages as a result of one Batphone contact. Palantir has turned down a chance to partner with a tobacco company, according to Karp, and the company foregoes as much as 20% of its potential sales for ethical reasons.
Despite its employees' concerns regarding human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, Palantir has looked into working there, according to former employees. Karp's apology for the WikiLeaks affair, despite his focus on morals, does not seem to have made much of an impression on him. He sounded adamant in his July address to Palantir engineers, saying, "We've never had a controversy that was really our fault."
In other news, Rick Owens Fall 2021 fashion show. On the subject of underthings, the pentagram briefs from the January men’s show reappeared here wrapped around evening clutches, the implication being that these alien females had handled the “unhinged male aggression” that those briefs signified.