One of the questions we often get asked fairly frequently here at Palantir is the origin and meaning behind our somewhat unusual name.
In popular mythology, the word "palantir" is used to describe a two-way communications device that's part of an interconnected and decentralized network, much like a single computer on the World Wide Web. The word has its roots in a medieval Latin term that means "openly", which again, is an appropriate metaphor for the free and open technologies that form both the backbone of the Web and the foundation for the software solutions that we've been building since July of 1996.
These values of interconnectedness, freedom, and openness are what drive all of the work we do, from custom software solutions that often involve integration with third party systems to our collaborations with world-class designers on award-winning websites. This "Palantir philosophy" shapes and informs the kinds of projects that we choose to work on and the kinds of clients that we work with, as well as the technology tools that we use.
All too often, technology solutions are locked inside a black box, and software vendors use proprietary knowledge to keep customers tied to their products. Our belief is that clients and partners should keep coming back because they want to keep working with us, not because they have to. We believe sharing knowledge and information empowers everyone and ultimately leads to better results, which is why we work exclusively within an open source ecosystem, and have always given our clients full access to the source code of the projects we build for them.
There are all kinds of successful business models out there that work for different kinds of companies, but the Palantir philosophy is the one that has worked best for us for the past 13 years, and we see no reason to mess with success!