What's worse is when the leap is made not only from "a director" to "the director" but from that to thinking that means he runs all of engineering.
But that's exactly what Tony Robbins does in his latest book where he describes his friend Ray Kurzweil as "heading up engineering at Google".
It really surprises me that so many people writing about Kurzweil don't understand what a common title like "director of engineering" means in a software company.
To be honest, when I first heard Kurzweil's title, it seemed like a massive step down for him.
15 years ago, I was a director of engineering: one of five reporting to the vice president of engineering. That was with an engineering organization of just 100.
In Google's case, they must have lots of director-level engineering managers. It wouldn't surprise me if they have more than one vice president.
As I once remarked to my friend Luke Hatcher, that's like describing George Harrison as "The Traveling Wilburys' guitarist" which shows a misunderstanding of both Harrison's history and the number of guitarists in the band.
Even worse, it's often used as if it were Kurzweil's greatest accomplishment.
Ray Kurzweil is a director of engineering at Google but many people, including tech journalists who really should know better, say things like "Ray Kurzweil is Google's director of engineering" as if he's the only one.