I Placed a GPL License in my Take Home Interview Project.

Now I'm rich.
Nov 23, 2022
2 min

I applied to this company that ended up being a total shitshow. First, it took like 2 weeks to go from the phone interview to the technical one. In that meeting, the “head developer” wanted me to do this “20-hour full-stack take home assignment”. The whole nine inches… The “20 hour” project ended up taking 3 hours because I used a library called Copygen. That library allowed me to generate a bunch of code based on types. Copygen is licensed under the GPL, but the code it generates is not. Once I explained that, their faces lit up: My labor was free game to take.

Except I placed another GPL license in the take-home anyways…

The next interview was with Tim, the CEO’s son. He was a fresh out of college graduate who “knew everything cause he had a degree”, but also would scream at me: “WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ‘What is your tech stack?’” Then, he proceeded to make me solve LeetCode questions until I got one wrong. We went through the entire Blind 75 and some more until he realized that I wasn’t going to fail.

I received my rejection letter the next day…

An entire month passed by before I checked to see how my “take-home assignment” was doing. The company just went through a funding round which meant it was time for my plan to spring into action: I called the nearest IP lawyer I could find and explained my case. He was literally frothing at the mouth while listening to me speak.


— Lawyer

The lawyer prepared the case in a week. I sent the cease and desist.


You thought I was interviewing to join your company?

It’s my company now. See the attached file.”

The company and I settled in civil court with me owning a little over 67% in order to void the GPL; since it was being used in the core product. There was simply too much money to be gained, such that this would be a better option compared to making the entire product free to use. What happened next? We’re living it… I fired Tim and make his Dad put in overtime every week. 8 days PTO. No parental leave. I make big bucko bucks. Tim is on this r/cscareerquestions subreddit trying to find a job.

“Who’s the wagie now, huh?”

Read More