Palantir Technology: Making Some Waves
March 16, 2017
I don’t know about you, but I am not keen on waking up one morning and finding protestors with signs in front of my house. Bummer. One of the motive forces behind Palantir had the pleasure of this experience on March 11, 2017. You can see the invitation to the protest against Palantir in general and Peter Thiel in particular at this link. Note that it helpfully provides Mr. Thiel’s private residence address. Nifty.
I also found interesting the article “Palantir’s Man In The Pentagon.” Buzzfeed seems to have a keen interest in Palantir. I follow Palantir’s technology too. Buzzfeed does seem to come up some enthusiastic writing.
I assume, of course, that everything I read on the Internet is accurate. Therefore, I learned:
A former Palantir “evangelist” has taken a top job at the Defense Department, after spending years lobbying the Pentagon on behalf of the Silicon Valley company.
As a former a laborer in the vineyards of Booz, Allen Hamilton, I know that this is not a shocker. People routinely move from outfit to outfit as they try to create the perfect work history, make money, and do some interesting, even entertaining, work.
The write up told me:
Mikolay, 37, worked for Palantir for four years as an “evangelist,” according to his LinkedIn profile, meaning he met with government officials to sell Palantir’s software. According to a confidential email obtained by BuzzFeed News, Mikolay’s role at Palantir involved pitching the Army on the battlefield intelligence contract, which has become something of a white whale for the Silicon Valley firm.
I also noted:
A Defense Department spokesperson, Capt. Jeff Davis, told BuzzFeed News in a statement: “Mr. Mikolay took action to ensure he would not participate in any matters that would have a direct and predictable effect on Palantir, consistent with conflict of interest statutes and government ethics regulations. Further, he worked with the DoD Standards of Conduct Office to implement a screening arrangement to ensure all particular matters involving Palantir are forwarded to another senior defense official for appropriate disposition. Such recusals are not uncommon for civilian appointees who have worked previously in the private sector.”
Frankly I was more interested in this statement:
Mikolay, in joining the Defense Department, is returning to an agency where he once worked as a speechwriter for former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. He is a Navy veteran who attended the United States Naval Academy and got a master’s degree at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Yep, shocker. A job change in DC with a new administration if office. Hardly surprising because it is standard operating procedure along the banks of the Potomac.
Stephen E Arnold, March 16, 2017