Bloomberg Discovers Palantir: Huh?

November 23, 2011

News flash! Bloomberg Businessweek has realized that Palantir, which has garnered more than $90 million in funding,is indispensible to the US intelligence community. Er, okay. You will want to read this “real” news story yourself. Just point your monitored browser at “Palantir: The War on Terror’s Secret Weapon.” Palantir has been a well kept secret at least in Bloomberg’s news room. Palantir ended up in a nifty legal spat with i2 Group, not part of IBM. The settlement was sealed, which certainly catches the attention of the goslings in Harrod’s Creek, but not the “real” journalists in New York. The fact that Palantir is the PowerPoint superstar which has the attention of those attention deficit disorder presenters is not on the radar of the Bloombergians.

Here’s the passage which I enjoyed:

The origins of Palantir go back to PayPal, the online payments pioneer founded in 1998. A hit with consumers and businesses, PayPal also attracted criminals who used the service for money laundering and fraud. By 2000, PayPal looked like “it was just going to go out of business” because of the cost of keeping up with the bad guys, says Peter Thiel, a PayPal co-founder….PayPal’s computer scientists set to work building a software system that would treat each transaction as part of a pattern rather than just an entry in a database. They devised ways to get information about a person’s computer, the other people he did business with, and how all this fit into the history of transactions. These techniques let human analysts see networks of suspicious accounts and pick up on patterns missed by the computers. PayPal could start freezing dodgy payments before they were processed. “It saved hundreds of millions of dollars,” says Bob McGrew, a former PayPal engineer and the current director of engineering at Palantir.

Want more? Well, the story sprawls over six pages.

My view?

First, point your browser to and read the stories about Palantir.

Second, what about the legal dust up? Well, run a Google query and get the scoop. The legal documents are quite interesting as well. The interesting information is available on WestlawNext and Lexis. The free Web content is, well, not industrial strength.

Third, what about Digital Reasoning, a company with groundbreaking entity based analytics? Check that out at . For more amusement look at

You can read interviews with founders of companies with technology that goes beyond Palantir at these two links:

  1. Tim Estes, Digital Reasoning here
  2. Christian Ahlberg, Recorded Future here

We are not “real” journalists. On the other hand, you will get some insight into what’s happening with next generation analytics. No turkey on Thanksgiving at Beyond Search.

Stephen E Arnold, November 24, 2011

Freebie. Unlike Palantir’s solutions.


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