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Article by Nate Desmond on the drivers behind Palantir's growth engine.
Neat article. What I found really remarkable about this was the complete lack of growth innovation that was at work here. What they did was pretty much the standard Enterprise playbook (Geoffrey Moore's bowling alley stuff where Gov was the lead pin) with direct sales. I suppose it's a good reminder that that stuff is still relevant even in a world where everyone is trying their hardest to move away from it.
Great article @natedesmond ! Really fascinating story of how Palantir expanded from a narrow government focus into a broader market of companies. They've always been one of the unicorns that I knew very little about.
Thanks Sean! It was a lot of fun reading up on them.
I was super-excited to read this article because I'm in a very similar space to Palantir (enterprise, data analysis, long sales cycles and big purchase prices) and was hoping to find something about how they actually acquire customers.
What I got from the article is that they solved a big problem, built a great product, hired talented people, and the product spread by word-of-mouth.
What about sales and marketing? Any insights into what channels they're using? Any concrete examples of how they're growing besides word-of-mouth?
Thanks for reading it Rob, and great question.
I did choose to focus more on principles than tactics, but during research I did notice a couple tactics that you might be able to use:
1. Nonprofit work - I don't have the source handy, but there were a couple of instances where they did free analysis for important causes. This likely demonstrated the power of the product to future purchasers.
2. They also run subway ads in DC, but for recruiting not sales. https://twitter.com/jontheepi/status/608234285632524288
From what I've seen though, Palantir hasn't done much lead gen. Their target audience is so specific that it's likely more direct (and more powerful) to leverage word of mouth. They moved from the CIA to other government organizations and then moved from gov to commercial through a referral from NYPD to JPMorgan.
Here's what their first business hire says about their growth: http://www.quora.com/How-did-Palantir-gain-its-initial-traction
Thanks so much for the extra info Nate! I'm also going to check out Zero to One.
We did $101MM in revenue last year and have a lot of overlap in customers w/ Palantir (in both government and commercial), but suffice it to say we couldn't possibly rely on word-of-mouth. :-)
Thanks Nate! This is a fantastic article!!! Great read!
Really great read, @natedesmond. I've recently finished reading Zero to One from Peter Thiel where he talks a lot about the tactics they used to grow PayPal and Palantir, so really interesting. If you haven't read it, I'd recommend it.
Intensive research on the company, great article @natedesmond! Love how you attribute the success of Palantir to the various factors and string them up together.
Good stuff Nate. I'm surprised you were able to dig up that much about Palantir. It's remained a mystery for a while. Looking forward to the next GC.
Nice article Nate! Will be reading through this over the weekend
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