How often do well funded companies like Flipps steal code from rivals or interviewees?

According to a developer, Flipps interviewed him and had him write code to test his skills, refused to hire him, but shipped his code barely 48 hours later.  The test was based on rectifying a problem they had with their product.

See article at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7476420

Made me wonder just how common this is today in startup world.


  • Curious to see what you signed to apply for the job. The code may still be yours as a copyright is created each time someone creates a work. If you can prove they stole it they would need to compensate you.

    But on the other hand maybe your not that special and someone on their team simple crafted the same solution.

    How do you know it was the same code you actually wrote that is the code that went live?

    • Read the linked article. The dev says the code shows details specific to his implementation, including even the same specific bug. BTW, OP here is not the dev.

  • I’m with the first commenter. The OP provided absolute no proof they stole the code. Stealing = copyright infringement type stuff – i.e. copy and paste.

    Copyright does not cover methods. They could’ve gleaned the way he fixed the problem and wrote a patch themselves. Yes that’s unethical for them to do without compensating the writer but that is not technically stealing.

    Should they have done it? No. But maybe the consultant wanted a lot more for the “fix” than they’re willing to pay. So they were going to turn him down anyways but since they discovered the fix was straightforward, they went ahead and applied it.

    • Actually its the OPs fault. This wasn’t a regular interview. It was a pitch for a consulting job to fix the issue. The OP could have easily avoided this problem by:

      a) Looking at the code and letting them know he understands the problem (ie. he can articulate the problem in detail)

      b) Charge upfront for a small consulting project (to fix the first page) – perhaps with a fixed fee approach.

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