During the Summer of ‘13 my friend Nithin and I founded a news media startup, Wintria. We built the product, incorporated the company, and then launched. For many reasons, the product never took off. It felt very demoralizing.

Fall quarter of Junior year had started and I was completely consumed with school and interviews. Being in a startup during school made no sense and I ended up quitting.

Our product was a news search engine that recieved its news from a seperate module which I built early in 2013. This service was conveniently dubbed Newspaper.

After the quarter ended, I wanted to open source Newspaper for my personal book-keeping so I refactored the code, wrote up the documentation, and then published Newspaper open source on Github.

I didn’t think or expect much of it at the beginning. The only benefit of publishing the code, as I thought, was that a few extra eyeballs would be on the lookout for errors and maybe a pull request would occur once in a while.

But what happened was much more awesome.

Number 1 on Github

Quickly after publishing the code, many people had begun to download it from pypi, the python package index. On Github, my repository quickly rose to the #1 trending python spot!

To make things better, Kenneth Reitz, the most followed contributor on Github and the author of the widely used requests module tweeted and starred my repository!

Kenneth Reitz starring my repo!

All of it was so instant. At this point I was shaking in excitement at the idea of open source. The idea that so many people around the world can download and use code that you have written is both horrifying and incredible.

It is incredible because of the sheer potential for positive impact. If you write a piece of widely used software that greatly out performs its predecessors, imagine the value gained in society e.g. Apache Web Server.

Simmilarly, It is horrifying because unchecked bugs or sloppy documentation can result in catastrophic amounts of frustration. Seeing Github pull-requests and bug reports filed to Newspaper hurts because I can empathize with the devs on the other end.

I don’t know what I’m going to be doing after graduation, but I hope to always be writing some form of open source software on the side.

Lucas Ou-Yang Hey, thanks for reading! I'm Lucas Ou-Yang, I live in Los Angeles and work fulltime at Snapchat Inc. My main interests are in content ranking and user-experience, I have a good amount of industry experience at both Snapchat and Facebook with ranking & product work. I also authored the most popular python news scraping library on Github: Newspaper, check it out! Feel free to send me an email with any comments, concerns, or requests!

Want to get to know me more? Read my bio and resume.

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"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." - Michelangelo