We all make mistakes, but only some of us admit to them onstage at fancy tech conferences.
Today, for example, Alex Karp, the co-founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies, said that he’s “fucked up so many things at Palantir”. The comments came while Karp was onstage at WSJDLive, a vaguely nightmarish-sounding conference for “top CEOs, founders, pioneers, investors and luminaries”.
"I have f-ed up so many things at Palantir,” CEO Alex Karp says at #WSJDLive but notes he hasn't discriminated while hiring
— WSJD (@WSJD) October 26, 2016
— Yun-Hee Kim (@yunheekim22) October 26, 2016
"I can assure you I fucked up so many things at Palantir," but discrimination wasn't one of them, Palantir's Alex Karp says #WSJDLive
— Georgia Wells (@georgia_wells) October 26, 2016
Of course, his jokey admission had another purpose: it neatly set the stage for a denial of the claims of race discrimination recently brought forth against Palantir by the Department of Labor.
The lawsuit claimed that the company had a “hiring process and selection procedures that discriminated against Asian applicants for software engineering positions on the basis of their race.” Palantir, of course, denied the claims, and Karp continued that line today. (He also discussed the possibility of an IPO.)
He also had some other weird stuff to say, judging by tweets from journalists in the audience:
"Our engineers can barely walk straight, they can't shoot a gun," Palantir CEO Alex Karp #wsjdlive
— Karissa Bell (@karissabe) October 26, 2016
Palantir's Alex Karp: "We are a unique company, filled with odd people like me." pic.twitter.com/XPsQj2wDFv
— Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken) October 26, 2016
"We date very heavily before we marry. I date very heavily before I ... never marry." Palantir's Alex Karp #WSJDLive
— Sara Ashley O'Brien (@saraashleyo) October 26, 2016
The above tweet was in reference to reports that the company has lost several commercial contracts. Karp responded that the company is focused on government contracts — it’s much pickier with commercial clients, apparently.
Really, though, Alex: We’d all love to know.