Unstructured Data: Understanding The Keys To Palantir's Future

Nov. 24, 2020 10:26 AM ETPalantir Technologies Inc. (PLTR)140 Comments
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Vincent Ventures


  • Palantir is not a data analytics company in the traditional sense, because Palantir's software is designed to do something very different: provide an OS for the modern enterprise.
  • Much the same way that the analytics/AI/ML revolution we have lived through was enabled by increasingly better hardware. New hardware breakthroughs will enable Palantir's future.
  • It took decades for processing power to catch up to theories of how structured data sets could be used. Now, enterprises are able to handle more and more unstructured data.
  • We hypothesize that Palantir is Facebook for the industrial internet, in the sequel to our previous Palantir article. Palantir will enable companies to move AI/data from processes to organizational structure.


Imagine the factory of the future. Autonomous trucks are pulling up from a supplier. The supplier's cloud is transferring information about the shipment to the factory's on-site data center. Using that data, picking robots are unloading pallets and boxes. Further down the line, even more robots are scurrying around, sorting and organizing the never-ending stream of parts and supplies into various locations, as yet even more robots pull these materials into the production line.

Blanketing this facility are sensors. Sensors for heat, for foot traffic, for production and quality control. Cameras. Radar. Lidar. GPS. Motion. Pressure. Some sensors are used for local analytics, a robot using its eyes to make sure it doesn't crash into its fellow robots. Some of this data is pooled and organized, sorted for important insights or anomalies, then transferred up to the cloud where it can be analyzed, recorded, and studied.

Somewhere in this facility are humans, doing complex work by hand. A small team of factory workers have noticed a problem. Small plastic rivets they are using keep breaking, costing the factory time and materials. At their workstation, the team leader makes a note on a computer.

Plastic rivets keep breaking.. breaking ~1 out of 6 PN#13345

Elsewhere are more humans, managing the factory. Supervisors and mid-level management are using the vast amounts of data collected to simulate various scenarios. The data center is hard at work crunching the numbers, done remotely in the cloud.

A mid-level supervisor receives the note from the factory floor, flagged by the system to indicate there is a problem. This is a different type of data and complex problem that a computer would not be good at sorting out. With the power of the organization's data at their fingertips, the supervisor is able to immediately look into the issue. The supplier is

This article was written by

Vincent Ventures profile picture
Former hedge fund analyst. My experience ranges from public markets to venture capital. I have conducted over $250M in VC transactions, and pioneered some of the first institutional investments in cryptocurrency. I focus on the intersection of technology and business, drawing on the evolution of various industries for relevant insights. These are my personal thoughts and not investment advice.

Disclosure: I am/we are long PLTR. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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