Since this is definitely the type of business that seems like it would benefit from network effects (my hypothesis is that more users = more capital available = more competition among lenders = lower interest rates), I wonder how the company managed initially to acquire the “threshold” level of users that allowed it to really be economically viable. It would be interesting to understand what a loan on this platform would have looked like when there were 100 users vs. a loan made when there are 100,000 users.
I find VICE’s documentaries to be really fascinating; they seem to be able to provide a window into parts of the world that traditional media is unwilling or unable to access – to your point I think has a lot to do with their risk appetite. What I’ve always wondered when watching their footage is what sorts of risk mitigation strategies they put in place to protect their journalists, and how much such strategies cost them. Or are they just able to attract really driven and adventurous journalists who are willing to report from dangerous areas, thereby allowing the company to make smaller investments in risk mitigation?
Palantir seems like an incredible company to work for, both in terms of being surrounded by incredibly talented peers, but also in terms of the magnitude and scale of the problems company works to solve. It’s actually a bit surprising to me that such talented engineers aren’t drawn to places like the CIA inherently – if they’re interested in those kinds of missions, direct employment at Palantir’s clients would be an attractive path. This makes me think that the true underlying attraction to Palantir is talented peers, so I wonder if the company could be able to sustain this advantage if government agencies were suddenly able to attract a groundswell of really talented engineers.