Tribune: A stock surge or just a [sic] joke?

If you’re in the business of putting words (or numbers) out into the world, there will inevitably come the time when a typo slips through. Recently, ridesharing heavyweight Lyft proved that it’s not too big to fail when it released an earnings report that contained an extra zero.

The initial report said Lyft’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (or EBITDA1) margin as a percentage of bookings could expand by 500 basis points in 2024, or 5%. In response, shares went up as much as 66% to $20.04 per share. The excitement was short-lived when it was announced that in fact the margin is actually forecasted to expand by only 50 points, or 0.5%. Share price dropped but still netted a $2 per share increase overall.

(As a side note, Lyft has not yet turned a profit, a milestone that its rival Uber only reached for the first time in 2023 since it went public.)

Karma’s a botch

We have an unspoken rule at Spidell: Don’t laugh and snark and smirk when a competitor prints a typo because we have been in the same position. This author remembers not long after starting at Spidell (as a copyeditor), the California Taxletter went to print misspelling then-Governor Schwarzenegger’s last name. (I’m too embarrassed to even attempt to hunt down that issue, circa 2007.)

But at least we are not alone. In searching for the comfort of others’ mistakes, I found the following grave errors:2

  1. The 1631 “wicked Bible” included the commandment “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
  2. The 1934 edition of Webster’s Dictionary included the mysterious entry “Dord.” This was eventually traced to an editor’s note that the word “density” could be uppercase or lowercase: D or d.
  3. The British paper The Guardian was so famous for misprints that it became known as “The Grauniad.”
  4. The iron content of spinach is somewhat of a myth, based on a typo in 1870 indicating that it has 35 grams of iron, rather than 3.5 grams per 100 grams of spinach.
  5. A craftsman working on the Lincoln Memorial would have appreciated the Ctrl+Z function after carving “euture” instead of “future.” The offending bottom bar has since been filled in.