It's more important to me that I don't personally turn people off Pivotal. We talk a lot about empathy. I'm only human, sometimes I miss the mark. But we also talk about adapting to new information.
It's likely that I have accidentally turned away a bunch of bright people. Which works against my own interests and Pivotal's interests.
So given a choice between a little bit of literary flair and not coming across as mean, at the next opportunity, I'm going to choose to cut it out.
The meaning was incredibly clear, to a point where I can't even fathom how there could be a misunderstanding.
You even said yourself that the inspiration was two people who were hesitant because of their PHP/PhD backgrounds, and I bet there are far more of those out there whom you're inviting to apply.
You'll never please everyone.