Hacker George Hotz, long a frenemy of Elon Musk, signs on for 12 weeks at Twitter • TechCrunch


A lot has been made of Twitter’s shrinking workforce, which is reportedly at 2,300 people, down from the 7,500 employed by the company when new owner Elon Musk took control.

While we posited that the newest wave of departures was part of Musk’s master plan to shrink down the company, many worry about the haphazard ways it has been downsized. Insider reported on Friday, for example, that Twitter’s payroll department was decimated last week when employees who were given a stark ultimatum by Musk opted to bounce.

Still, Musk has plenty of supporters who want to help him improve Twitter, and he apparently just brought one into the fold on a short-term basis: George Hotz, the security hacker known for developing iOS jailbreaks and reverse engineering the PlayStation 3 before later founding Comma.ai, whose driver assistance system startup aims to bring Tesla Autopilot–like functionality to other cars.

Hotz definitely falls into the category of people-who-wouldn’t-be-on-your-remake-of-Twitter bingo board. Hotz founded Comma.ai after getting into a fight with Musk after Musk allegedly tried to hire him at Tesla but “kept changing the terms,” as Hotz told Bloomberg in 2015. At the time, Tesla said Hotz’s bold claims that his tech could beat that of Autopilot was “extremely unlikely.” Hotz promptly set out to prove Musk and the rest of Tesla wrong.

So why team up now? For one thing, Hotz has a little extra time on his hands. As TechCrunch reported early this month, Hotz considers that some of his own work at Comma.ai is done for the moment. It currently sells a $1,999 driver assistance system developer kit that is compatible on more than 200 vehicles; the company is also on solid ground as it looks to turn its devkit into a productized consumer product, he told TechCrunch.

The momentum gives him a little space to explore. “I’m good at things when it’s wartime,” Hotz told TechCrunch for that story. “I’m not so good at hands-on, ok, let’s patiently scale this up. ‘Do you want to deal with a supply chain that’s capable of making 100,000 devices a year?’ Like, not really.”

Hotz, now 33, may also want to again prove his mettle to Musk. Indeed, last…

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