What The Heck(sul)

I bought my first domain name in 2006. I think my teenage self didn't like the idea of sharing a domain with other Gmail users. Shortly thereafter joined the Google Apps (now called Google Workspace) beta. Ever since then it's been a revolving door of domains and email addresses. Starting in 2016 that changed. I registered hxl.io with a few goals in mind:

  1. To find a “cool” domain.
  2. To find a .io domain.
  3. To find a short domain.

I actually started out using it as my own URL shortener for Twitter, but quickly realized having an email address that was only 8 characters long was pretty neat. I setup my address and began moving things over.

It has been challenging at times, however. In particular, I often run into people who aren't aware of any TLDs outside of .com or who ask “At Gmail?” after I give them my address. Others are just amused at the shortness and are happy to move along. Occasionally, I have to spell it phonetically (“'Aych' as in 'Hotel', 'Ex' as in 'X-Ray', 'El' as in 'Lima', dot eye oh”) but that also doesn't take much time. I'm also used to spelling things out as my last name, Finnigan, is more difficult for some people.

So there you have it: the story of hxl.io.

Oh, and it's pronounced “Heck-Sul” (as in “pixel”).