Elon Musk may have fired thousands of Twitter employees, but the social media site still requires a certain number of employees to function. In what appears to be a case of “desperate times call for desperate measures,” the billionaire appears to have turned to hiring new employees after many Twitter employees left or were fired. This time, his choice of a new hire is intriguing, because this cybersecurity expert is not a fan of Musks. Here’s what we know so far about Twitter’s newest employee.
To begin with, the situation at Twitter has been rather dire since Elon Musk purchased it for a whopping $44 billion, so it’s no surprise that the entrepreneur is now more open than ever to hiring some talent. Entire Twitter departments have been closed down, including the public relations department, leaving Twitter with no media representatives other than the CEO. Musk frequently takes to Twitter to report new developments or to laugh in the avalanche’s face of criticism he and Twitter have faced since we completed the acquisition deal in late October 2022.
Musk announced that Twitter 2.0 will require the remaining employees to be more “hardcore” after he axed entire departments and fired a few thousand people with little notice. He gave his employees an ultimatum: either work long hours and sacrifice work-life balance or resign with three months’ pay. According to reports, 1,200 employees took the hint and left the company. According to Business Insider, this reduced Twitter’s user base to around 2,300 people, down from 7,500.
With Twitter’s ranks almost completely depleted compared to its previous state, the employees who remain are scrambling to keep things running. Whether Musk intended it, the billionaire will make some exceptions and let bygones be bygones in order to increase Twitter’s chances of success. Despite the media chaos, there are still people who want to work at Twitter, and George Hotz is one of them.
Hotz and Musk have a complicated history, so much so that many people regard them as adversaries. George Hotz is a security expert and a hacker. His career highlights include iOS jailbreaks and delving deep into the PlayStation 3, but his meteoric rise began in 2015 when he reportedly turned down a multi-million dollar bonus and a job offer from Musk (via The Verge). One might wonder why such a lucrative contract would become a source of contention, but it did.
To begin with, the job offer never materialized. According to multiple sources, Hotz declined the job offer at Tesla because Musk “kept changing the terms.” The 26-year-old hacker and developer claimed his driver-help systems could outperform Tesla’s troubled Autopilot. Musk and Tesla disagreed, so much so that Tesla posted a correction to a Bloomberg article it didn’t even write. Tesla stated in the correction, “We believe it is extremely unlikely that a single person or even a small company lacking extensive engineering validation capability will produce an autonomous driving system that can be deployed to production vehicles.”
After turning down Musk’s offer to join Tesla, Hotz founded his own company, Comma.ai. Seven years later, the startup can be considered successful; it offers a $1,999 driver-help system developer kit and, unlike Tesla’s own systems, is compatible with a wide range of vehicles. Hotz recently announced on his GitHub that he would be “taking some time away” from Comma.ai after getting it off the ground. This leaves the hacker with some free time, and despite their previous disagreements, Hotz appears to support Musk’s idea for Twitter 2.0.
After someone published Musk’s email to Twitter employees, in which he stated they must either commit to being “Hotz expressed his approval on Twitter, saying, “This is the attitude that builds incredible things.” Let everyone who doesn’t want to be great go.” He then said, “I’m down for a 12-week internship at Twitter for the cost of living in SF.” although he wasn’t directly addressing Musk, the billionaire invited him to talk, and the talks resulted in Hotz joining the Twitter team for the next 12 weeks.
Hotz announced on Twitter that his job during his contract would be to improve the — admittedly subpar — search feature. Given that he appears to approve of and agree with Musk’s proposed working conditions, which allegedly include 12-hour days and weekend work, he may solve the mystery and complete the task — assuming Twitter remains afloat for that long.