How a bad URL can derail your whole message

I love grammar fights.  And I tend to be on the side of the grammar absolutists even though my prose needs a lot of work.  I need to be edited.  I’m constantly learning.  I write in a blocky, conversational style with plenty of colloquialisms that can easily be criticized.

If you are an absolutist, you’re a lightning rod.  You gotta be perfect or you’re gonna get nailed (and perfection is a moving target).


Great example happened earlier this week in the Harvard Business Review.  Kyle Wiens, the CEO of iFixit, has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bad grammar.  He writes:

“…if job hopefuls can’t distinguish between ‘to’ and ‘too,’ their applications go into the bin.”

People should know the difference.  He further writes:

“If it takes someone more than 20 years to notice how to properly use ‘it’s,’ then that’s not a learning curve I’m comfortable with.”

Great.  This is also pretty basic.  People should know this too.

His whole post is worth reading.  I’m onboard.  I like it.


The problem?  Many of the readers don’t appear to be paying attention to his message.  Why?  An unfortunate (but hilarious) URL.  It got truncated in the wrong spot.

Lost focus

The most-liked and the most-commented of the comments?  You guessed it.  It’s all about the URL:


Does it derail everything he was trying to say?  No.  But it does demonstrate if you’re going to preach about the importance of paying attention to details, you have to pay attention to all of the details.  Or get ready to get pummeled.

Follow me on Twitter @jimmyorr

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