It hurts to be told that data you have agonized over is “essentially unusable.” It is painful to tell a data provider, “I can’t work with what you’ve given me.” I know because I’ve been on both sides of this conversation! And what do I blame? Machines. However, making data interoperable both for machines and for people is achievable if we follow standards for metadata and data file formats. That means integrating FAIR principles in your data workflow from the very start.