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First to hack iPhone, tech prodigy joins Musk’s Twitter to fix search function

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First to hack iPhone, tech prodigy joins Musk’s Twitter to fix search function

Game recognizes game, and Elon Musk is bringing on talent to Twitter after a slew of layoffs at the social media company that followed his takeover. George Hotz, who made a name for himself as one of the first people to jailbreak or hack into an iPhone, has joined on a “12-week internship”.

The move came after Hotz shared an image of Musk’s mail to his employees hailing the world’s richest man’s attitude as the right way to achieve success. There were detractors commenting on the thread, and an individual said “Workers should be willing to serve as indentured ICs forever sprinting while taking as little capital as possible from those they are enriching. This is hardcore. This is how we change the world.”

Hotz decided to put his money where his mouth is and offered to work a 12-week internship at Musk’s company at the cost of living in San Francisco. “It’s not about accumulating capital in a dead world, it’s about making the world alive,” Hotz said.

Musk replied, “Sure, let’s talk”.

Since then, more about Hotz’s work at Twitter has emerged. He is working to improve the site’s search function. Hotz has one month to do it.

While working to fix the problem, Hotz shared more thoughts on Twitter’s advanced search feature and how it works.

He shared some takeaways, including “Searching within ‘liked’ and ‘seen’ tweets with a modifier should be table stakes, the fact that modifiers and advanced search should be surfaced a lot better, and the need to move away from exact text search and towards embeddings”.

The newest addition has many excited but there are some whose views of Musk and the way he’s handling Twitter have impacted their opinions of Hotz. His tweet asking for suggestions received some unsavory replies, to which Hotz said, “I’m an intern trying to improve search, whatever feelings you have about Twitter and Elon are not about me.”

Musk wrote on the same thread, “Welcome to Twitter!”

Hotz may have come on only recently to work for Musk but the innovator had his eye on the tech prodigy for a while. Hotz – who also developed – was sought out by Musk to help Tesla’s self-driving technology. However, at the time, Hotz felt Musk kept changing the deal and is known to have famously replied to him “I’m not looking for a job. I’ll ping you when I crush Mobileye.” Mobileye provides Tesla with most of its self-driving technology.

Musk’s latest hire is a man who claims to live by morals. “I live by morals, I don’t live by laws. Laws are something made by a**holes”, he said during a New Yorker profile. They had done a story on Hotz when he was 22 and had just hacked the PlayStation 3 and released the software for others to use.

He studied briefly at the Rochester Institute of Technology and then enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University. Hotz also worked briefly at SpaceX – another of Musk’s ventures – for four months.

Musk’s drive for excellence finds reflection in Hotz, as per his LinkedIn bio which cheekily riffs on the Pokemon theme song to say “I want to be the very best, like no one ever was”.

With the ‘chief Twit’ hiring people who somewhat irked him in the past, it now remains to be seen if the guy tracking Musk’s private jet lands a job at Twitter as well.


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