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>'Is he hiring?'

No idea.

I'm thinking 'small team made up of our country’s brightest digital talent' suggests something that people would be recruited for and appointed to moreso than traditional positions to be filled. There's of the sort posted for OMB today at least.

>'As there's no chance I'd want to take on the risk of getting a regular government IT/developer job and being enmeshed in the nightmare that is my conception of government bureaucracy but I would like to contribute to make a difference.'

Your conception is pretty accurate.

I think the best shot most of us have at 'making a difference' would be to develop solutions to specific, self-contained (if possible) problems.

To look not at what central Government is doing, but at the community-level agencies/programs and what they need.

Clinics, libraries, rec centers, public schools and whatnot all have problems which can helped with technology, but you'll need to spend a lot of time, effort and a degree of sneakiness to get anything done.

Check out http://codeforamerica.org/brigade to see if there is an organized group of volunteers doing exactly that in your city.

Note that the original healthcare.gov-fixers were "Friends of Obama" -- volunteers on Obama's presidential campaign. They have technical chops, but this is still largely patronage.

I would contest that "largely".

Once it became apparent the rollout was a fiasco, Obama was associated with two major tech projects, one successful (his reelection campaign infrastructure) and one now famously unsuccessful (healthcare.gov). Bringing in people who he had worked with, who he trusted, and who had famously done excellent work for him in the past was an absolute no-brainer.

I have trouble believing that Obama's motivations were "largely" along the lines of "these guys helped me on the campaign, I'm going to do them a solid and bring them in to work on this hellish, high-profile disaster of a project".

I read something where the question was asked "Why didn't Obama have these guys do healthcare.gov in the first place?"

The reason given was that he couldn't (hire them in the first place) or it would look like patronage.

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