Legends & Losers - The Podcast Silicon Valley Needs

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061: How Jon Vroman Built A Movement & A Company At the Same Time

Self-awareness is a vital skill to have, especially in competitive fields and categories. Can you foster self-awareness and perception? Does mindfulness really work? How is practicing mindfulness similar to surfing and skiing? All these questions and a lot more are answered in this week's episode with special guest Jon Vroman, host of The Front Row Factor podcast. Jon will explain what differentiates him from other motivational speakers and how the Front Row mentality relates to category design.

It's about mindsets, relationships and environment. Those are the three factors and we need to have a hard look at those and say, what are those creating and do we like it? - Jon Vroman

Takeaways

  1. Practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life. Learn to be present in the situation, so that when you get to your goal you won't regret the way there.
  2. Keep a close eye on the people you're with, the thoughts you have and the environment you're in. If you don't like anything about any of these, change it.
  3. Ask yourself what your biggest fear and greatest love is. It's what builds up your energy and generates your motivation.
  4. Knowing that we want something or knowing that we have a goal that seems unattainable encourages us to fight harder.

We started off with Jon talking about his new book and his goal with moment-making. Jon shared his philosophy about fleeting moments and seizing the day. After a few examples, we also discussed staying focused on our own goals and identity, as well as practicing mindfulness. Jon pointed out that mindfulness can easily be integrated in your everyday life, and that relies on redefining your understanding of ''critical''. We then touched upon letting things pass and realizing that it's not your job to educate everybody. Jon then emphasized how important it is to regard three factors - mindsets, relationships and environment - and how they shape our personality. From then on, we moved on to discuss Jon's category design and what makes him different from other motivational speakers. Jon mentioned the role of charity in his life and he explained his path to recognition of life in the front row. We then moved on to mention a few examples of unique category design. We talked about how telling the correct story appropriately can build up the right motivation and design the correct category. Jon explained how discovering and telling amazing stories helped him develop his ideas, as they didn't contain a specific meaning, but rather they were very easy to interpret. We also touched upon the obligation we feel to offer advice in difficult times and how that's not always the right thing to do. Finally, we agreed that work life and personal life can exist together and that our family life can teach us a lot about our business and vice-versa.

In this episode, we also talked about;

  • Similarities between mindfulness and surfing
  • The cow in the parking lot as a zen approach to overcome anger
  • Controlling how we show up and create a better show
  • Making others' dreams into our goals
  • Fear as a motivator in life
  • Bringing energy from the past to shape the present and the future
  • Why Jon started The Front Row Dads

Achieving balance in your day-to-day life might almost seem like an unattainable goal. In today’s digital age, it's very easy to feel trapped by your own environment and even develop a fear and dislike of what you may have been working so hard to create. If this happens, try to take a step back. Reevaluate your goals, your aspirations and your fears. When you take a step back and reevaluate the most important parts of your life, it's a lot easier to spot mistakes and work to fix them. This goes not just for your business, but also for your personal life. Learn to appreciate the success of others. Everybody wants to dominate the stage, but there comes one point in your life where you realize that it can't just be about you. Finally, never underestimate the power of a good story, but similarly, never try to warp a good story because you think it doesn't work for you. Stories have a power of their own and if you tell them right, they can speak in your favor.

Guest Bio

Jon Vroman is a motivational speaker, lifestyle coach and a seminar leader, who helps entrepreneurs, sales professionals and leaders come alive, find purpose and fully engage in their life's calling. Jon is also the host of The Front Row Factor podcast. He's the head usher for those that want to be in the front row of their lives so they can solve important challenges and elevate humanity. Jon has been voted Campus Speaker of the Year in both 2012 & 2013 by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities and also regularly engages in charity fundraising. To find out more about Jon's work, visit FrontRowFactor.com

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060: It’s the Category

Reprinted from SandHill.com

Category: The Single Point of Failure

Why did Google win in search?

Then lose with Google Docs?

Why did Amazon win with AWS?

Then lose in smart phones?

And why did Colgate win in toothpaste?

Then lose with lasagna!?

In a word, category. It turns out attacking existing market categories with new offerings is a disaster.

A lot of venture capitalists like to say, “We invest in great teams.” Every CEO likes to say, “We hire A-players”.

But a great team is nothing without a great category.

And categories make companies. Not the other way around. As a matter of fact, your category is your single point of failure. No category, no customers.

Or even worse, if someone else gets a hold of the agenda in your category they will position themselves as the leader and you’ll get to be MySpace.

While writing, Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets, we analyzed every venture-backed tech company founded since 2000.

We discovered that category kings in tech earn 76 percent of the market capitalization (aka total value created) in their space.

Making high stakes category dynamics worth exploring.

Google is a great brand because it is the category king of a great category, search. But in the category of "productivity suites" the Google brand is a loser. Because Microsoft is the category king.

As a matter of fact, Microsoft Office has a whopping ninety-five percent market share and does over $12 billion in sales. 

When Amazon attacked entrenched category king Apple in smart phones, they got crushed too. Same story.

And you can guess what played out when Colgate entered the lasagna space!

These category disasters happen over and over and over. Unfortunately many executives make an unconscious, un-questioned choice to position their products, services and companies in an existing category.

On the surface, it makes sense. You see a big market, you have an idea for a good product, maybe you lower the price a bit and pick up the “fast follower” position in a big space and make a bunch of money. Sounds like a perfect strategy.

But it fails way more than it works.

Category disasters have three things in common:

  1. Large existing market
  2. Incumbent category king
  3. A new competitive offering (that ultimately fails)

These multi-billion dollar category disasters don’t have to happen.

Categories can be designed. Just like products and companies can be designed.

Some executives talk about “the market” like it’s the weather—something that happens to them, verses something that they can affect and even drive.

Problems create categories.

New problems or existing problems re-imagined create, or re-create categories. The most successful innovators are natural “category designers”.

They are business leaders who intuitively understand that to win, you have to have the courage to change thinking, behavior and ultimately purchasing.

By changing thinking, category designers change a market. They condition a market to see things the way they want them to. Steve Jobs was the master.

In a well-honed category design strategy, a company designs the category, evangelizes the problem, offers its solution, and then the category makes the company its king.

When this happens at scale, it’s profound. Entire markets can appear or “move” seemingly over-night. Ask the Blockbuster folks how they feel about Netflix.

As Victor Hugo taught us, “Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Another way to think about it is, once people see a problem, they can’t un-see it. They have to have the solution.

It is the broad agreement about a problem and therefore a solution that creates a category.

In this context, you might say that the biggest marketing problem today is “too many solutions without a problem”.

No one really buy a drill, they buy holes. But for some reason, many companies quickly fall in love with their drill bits and forget about customer holes.

Unless Google can re-imagine the problem Google Docs solves, Microsoft’s $12 billion is pretty safe.

Airbnb had to get the world had to agree that renting a couch was a great idea long before it became a profitable, $31 billion value category king. They designed a new category. Brian Chesky did not position in the hotel space, he positioned AirBNB as something totally different from what had come before.

The mistake most business leaders make is assuming that they can not do the same.

You too can design categories! Markets are not like the weather.

The cloud vendors re-designed the storage problem and therefor solution. Making it suck to be a storage hardware provider.

Think about Sara Blakely the Spanx founder and category design of “shapeware”. She didn’t disrupt the underwear market in the traditional, run head-first into the competition way.

She didn’t call her innovation a girdle 2.0. She didn’t compete.

Sarah designed a whole new market category. And now she dominates it.

Great innovations, products and services are no longer enough on their own. Legendary products are now table stakes.

People thought Picasso’s art was crap until he explained “cubism” – his new category of art. Once people “got it” about cubism, Picasso became a genius.

If you make the same unconscious choice that most business leaders do, to move into someone else’s existing category, with a “we are better, faster, cheaper than the competition” strategy, you lose.

Alternatively, if you open up a new category or define the rules for an emerging one, you get to design the whole space the way you want it.

You become the category designer. And when the right product and right company connect to a strong category, the category literally pulls the product or service out of the company.

If you neglect your category design, someone else will do it—maybe a competitor, maybe customers, maybe a Gartner Group analyst, maybe the press.

It’s not always easy for leaders and entrepreneurs to think this way.

Aiming to design a new category where none exists can seem very risky, since by definition it is a zero billion dollar market.

The temptation is always to pick a large well-understood category and compete for market share.

When you choose to compete against a category king, you’re playing for - at most - 24 percent of total available market cap.

I believe that it is the job of the executive team and board to do everything possible to increase the odds of becoming a category king.

That makes category design a must. If you want 76 percent of the economics in a massive new space.

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059: An Unbeatable Mind - Navy Seal Mark Divine On Life, Business and Kicking Ass

Most people struggle with meditation because they don’t realize that it’s a learning process. What are the levels you need to go through to master it? How do you manage to silence your inner thinker and gain valuable personal insight? What are the benefits of self publishing a book? On this episode, we talk to SEALIFT founder, bestselling author and former Navy SEAL Mark Divine.

If you’re going to do a good martial arts program, there should be functional fitness baked into it. -Mark Divine

Takeaways

  1. Meditation allows for the ability to stay disconnected and disassociated from the thinker inside us.
  2. The way they teach police officers often gets them into trouble.
  3. Self-publishing gives you the chance to build a platform, a business and books that live for a very long time.

At the start of the show, Mark Divine shared on going through CPA training and Navy SEAL training. He also shared how he got on the path to martial arts and meditation. We also discussed the success of his books, and the additions he’s making to his original books.

Mark also shared on;

  • How to shift back to concentration during meditation
  • The advantages of self publishing
  • Finding the right martial arts training

The key to meditation is following your breath and your concentration, and developing the ability to escape the thinking part of your brain. It takes time to get to that level, so don’t give up when you notice yourself thinking, all you need to do is shift back to concentration. Go through the process of first learning to concentrate and learning to disassociate from your active thinking mind, and then focus on concentration and then finally you will be able to get into that void.

Guest Bio

Mark is the founder and CEO of SEALFIT, and a highly sought after speaker, coach, author who makes frequent media appearances to discuss Seal way of life. Go to SealFit.com for more information.

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058: One Woman’s Legendary Startup Quest: With Michel Feaster

Customer service is essentially how every company is going to win or lose the next generation. Why is data at the center of winning in customer service? How does category design play out in the enterprise space? What does a founder need to be equipped with to lead well? On this episode, we are joined by the engaging Michel Feaster who shares on her career and gives insights on being a founder.

Data isn’t the end game, the action of the data is the end game. - Michel Feaster

Takeaways

  1. Doing customer service well is all about context and personalized relevant action.
  2. Find the visionaries that will bet on you to make you a household name.
  3. CRM is going to be reinvented and that the future is essentially all data driven and in real-time.

Categories are created when more than 3 big disruptions affect the same individuals in a company. Only then do you have a buyer who is under enough pain that they need to change the status quo, move money to the vendor and establish something new. Customer service will continue to determine the survival of companies and their ability to become category kings. To succeed, the data we have has to be put in the right context and it has to be put together in the context of workflow. This will make personalized relevant action possible and help brands win with future generations.  

At the start of the show, Michel shared on the paradox of being a founder and how her company came into existence. Next, we talked about how categories are created, why the data conversation is useless without context and the importance of personalized relevant action. She also shared how therapy has helped her, how she worked her way up from working in a convenience store, and why secure leaders are so rare.

Michel also shared on;

  • Why customer service is the new battlefront
  • The struggles female founders face
  • Finding the right people to back your venture

Guest Bio

Michel is the co-founder and CEO of Usermind, responsible for company vision, strategic direction, planning, and execution. Michel’s enterprise software career spans almost 20 years with roles in sales, product, strategic marketing, and general management. Before founding Usermind, Michel was VP of products at Apptio, where she drove product strategy, defined the category and discipline of Technology Business Management, and helped grow the company from 30 to almost 400 employees. Go to UserMind.com for more information.

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057: Chris Voss: How To Negotiate With Terrorists, Businesspeople & Children

There’s never going to be a deal where you’re not hiding stuff from the other side. What are the other keys to mastering negotiation? Why is it so important to have a positive mindset? How do you get out of a potentially violent situation? On this episode, negotiator and author Chris Voss answers these and many other questions.

I’m never going to be able to win at any negotiation, unless I can navigate it from how you see it. - Chris Voss

3 Things We Learned From Chris Voss  

Every kidnapping in the world ultimately devolves into money.

In the realm of kidnapping, money is what often decides the outcome of the situation. Even when the needs of the kidnapper seem to be based on control - there’s a greater need to get money out of the kidnapped person’s family. It’s necessary to be careful, because some kidnappers will change the terms if they think the ransom has been met too quickly.

For most people, avoiding loss is a much bigger motivation than increasing gain.

Most decisions people make are based on fear of loss, and we are driven to avoid loss as opposed to finding the best ways to gain. The key to life is getting into curiosity and avoiding negativity because it gets in the way of excellent decision making.

Everyone lies 7 or 8 ways but they tell the truth one way.

When it comes to detecting lies, the people who are best at reading people are able to pinpoint how someone tells the truth. People only have one way to be honest and that’s why people are asked baseline questions to determine how they tell the truth. Even if they have different ways of lying - if it opposes the truth then you can tell.

The essence of an excellent negotiator is to put aside how they see things to understand how the other person sees things. You’ll never be able to win at any kind of negotiation, unless you can navigate from that angle. Remember that person’s viewpoint is what affects your decision making. Being a good negotiator is about being a good conversationalist and always seeking to understand before you are understood.

Guest Bio

Chris Voss is the Founder and CEO of the Black Swan Group Ltd and author of Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It. He has used his many years of experience in international crisis and high-stakes negotiations to develop a unique program and team that applies these globally proven techniques to the business world. Go to BlackSwanLTD.com for more information.

 

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056: From Super Bowl Champion 49er to Venture Capital Legend w/Brent Jones Part 2

Football and venture capital seem like two worlds apart. How can they come together? What's the road to success and is it as rocky as others make it seem? Why should we learn to appreciate, embrace and learn from failure? We sit down with ex-NFL star and now successful entrepreneur Brent Jones to talk about winning, investments, competition, and much more. 

There's nothing, to me, more powerful than a humble superstar. - Brent Jones

3 Things We Learned From Brent Jones

Coaches Are For Life

A coach's job is not to teach you how to win the next match, or how to get into the lists of your favorite teams. A coach's lessons have to stay with you for life and build you up as a person. Brent explained how his best coaches - one of which was his father - gave him not only the knowledge of how to become a successful sportsman, but also the experience and mindset of succeeding in the future beyond his career.

Competition Fuels Perfection

It's very often the case that you only recognize your true worth when compared to others. Brent talked about how a feud between two players in his NFL team sparked a competition, which the team's coach quietly fuelled. Brent pointed out that this made both players into stars and competing against each other was what motivated them to do better and better every day.

Losing is Inspirational, You Never Win Everything

Many people can find themselves giving up after one defeat. Brent talked about the importance of losing in order to appreciate your win. He mentioned not only losing the Super Bowl after riding on three previous wins, but also on how a car accident nearly cost him his NFL career before it had even started. Brent pointed out that if these things hadn't happened, he wouldn't be the man he is now. Losing builds your character just as much as winning does.

Sometimes it may look as if everything's going downhill and there's no way out. You should remember the way to success has never been easy for anyone. No matter what field you're in, try to find your strongest competition. They will inspire you to be a better version of yourself every day. Remember to always give back to your community and never betray your own roots. Everybody came from somewhere and had to walk up the hill to success while being a part of a community. Don't betray that community and, when the time is right, always remember to give back. It's not just your professional success but also your personal characteristics that will make you legendary.

Guest Bio

Brent Jones is a former American football tight end who played almost his entire NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers from 1987 to 1997. He was selected in the fifth round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brent won three Super Bowl rings with the 49ers and was three times named All-Pro (1992–1994) and is a four-time Pro Bowler (1992–1995). He finished his 11 NFL seasons with 417 receptions for 5,195 yards and 33 touchdowns. Brent then co-founded Northgate capital and participated as a private equity investor in several private company financings that have led to successful acquisitions or public offerings, including VA Linux, Assured Access, nVidia, Netro, Rightworks, and Verisity. Find out more about Northgate and Brent's work at NorthGate.com

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055: From Super Bowl Champion 49er to Venture Capital Legend w/Brent Jones Part 1

Football and venture capital seem like two worlds apart. How can they come together? What's the road to success and is it as rocky as others make it seem? Why should we learn to appreciate, embrace and learn from failure? We sit down with ex-NFL star and now successful entrepreneur Brent Jones to talk about winning, investments, competition, and much more.

There's nothing, to me, more powerful than a humble superstar. - Brent Jones

3 Things We Learned From Brent Jones

Coaches Are For Life

A coach's job is not to teach you how to win the next match, or how to get into the lists of your favorite teams. A coach's lessons have to stay with you for life and build you up as a person. Brent explained how his best coaches - one of which was his father - gave him not only the knowledge of how to become a successful sportsman, but also the experience and mindset of succeeding in the future beyond his career.

Competition Fuels Perfection

It's very often the case that you only recognize your true worth when compared to others. Brent talked about how a feud between two players in his NFL team sparked a competition, which the team's coach quietly fuelled. Brent pointed out that this made both players into stars and competing against each other was what motivated them to do better and better every day.

Losing is Inspirational, You Never Win Everything

Many people can find themselves giving up after one defeat. Brent talked about the importance of losing in order to appreciate your win. He mentioned not only losing the Super Bowl after riding on three previous wins, but also on how a car accident nearly cost him his NFL career before it had even started. Brent pointed out that if these things hadn't happened, he wouldn't be the man he is now. Losing builds your character just as much as winning does.

Sometimes it may look as if everything's going downhill and there's no way out. You should remember the way to success has never been easy for anyone. No matter what field you're in, try to find your strongest competition. They will inspire you to be a better version of yourself every day. Remember to always give back to your community and never betray your own roots. Everybody came from somewhere and had to walk up the hill to success while being a part of a community. Don't betray that community and, when the time is right, always remember to give back. It's not just your professional success but also your personal characteristics that will make you legendary.

Guest Bio

Brent Jones is a former American football tight end who played almost his entire NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers from 1987 to 1997. He was selected in the fifth round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brent won three Super Bowl rings with the 49ers and was three times named All-Pro (1992–1994) and is a four-time Pro Bowler (1992–1995). He finished his 11 NFL seasons with 417 receptions for 5,195 yards and 33 touchdowns. Brent then co-founded Northgate capital and participated as a private equity investor in several private company financings that have led to successful acquisitions or public offerings, including VA Linux, Assured Access, nVidia, Netro, Rightworks, and Verisity. Find out more about Northgate and Brent's work at NorthGate.com

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054: Fighting Crime On the Streets To Catching Keyboard Gangsters w/Morgan Wright Part 2

Google and Facebook are the epitome of unchecked power. What are the biggest mistakes we’re making when it comes to our online security? Why isn’t there a category king in the internet security space? Why is every company a tech company nowadays? On this episode, we are joined by Morgan Wright, who shares on his career and staying safe in this highly connected world.

It’s hard for people to quantify the value of security immediately. Unlike seat belts, and planes, there is no immediate impact if I have a bad password. -Morgan Wright  

Takeaways

  1. Facebook is not a platform for you to exploit, you are a platform for Facebook to exploit.
  2. Hacking is often self imposed, we shoot ourselves in our foot with bad passwords and weak security.
  3. It’s not about what security stops, it’s about what it makes possible.

At the start of the show, Morgan shared on how he got started and his background as a cop. We also talked about his current job as a security expert, and what people need to do to be safe on the internet. We also talked about why hacking is mostly self-imposed, what security companies get wrong with their marketing, and why companies really have to elevate the CISO. Towards the end of the show, we talked about the importance of making security a part of your culture.

Morgan also spoke about;

  • Ransomware as a service
  • Reasonable suspicion vs. probable cause
  • Why are there no category kings in internet security
  • What country he fears the most
  • Why every home needs a shredder

In this day and age, you should be as able to talk about security as you are about profit and loss, human resources, and the stock price. Until we get to that point, security won’t be taken as seriously as the bottom line. We have to make security part of our culture if we want it to really become a priority. Remember things like good passwords, secure VPN and two-factor authentication, make the biggest difference in keeping you safe.

Guest Bio

Morgan Wright is an internationally recognized expert on cybersecurity strategy, cyber terrorism, identity theft and privacy. His landmark testimony before Congress on Healthcare.gov changed how the government collected personally identifiable information. He has made hundreds of appearances on national news, radio, print and web, and has spoken to audiences around the world. Previously Morgan was a Senior Advisor in the US State Department Antiterrorism Assistance Program and Senior Law Enforcement Advisor for the 2012 Republican National Convention. In addition to 18 years in state and local law enforcement, Morgan has developed solutions in defense, justice and intelligence for the largest technology companies in the world. Go to MorganWright.us for more information on his work.

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053: Fighting Crime On the Streets To Catching Keyboard Gangsters w/Morgan Wright Part 1

Google and Facebook are the epitome of unchecked power. What are the biggest mistakes we’re making when it comes to our online security? Why isn’t there a category king in the internet security space? Why is every company a tech company nowadays? On this episode, we are joined by Morgan Wright, who shares on his career and staying safe in this highly connected world.

It’s hard for people to quantify the value of security immediately. Unlike seat belts, and planes, there is no immediate impact if I have a bad password. -Morgan Wright  

Takeaways

  1. Facebook is not a platform for you to exploit, you are a platform for Facebook to exploit.
  2. Hacking is often self imposed, we shoot ourselves in our foot with bad passwords and weak security.
  3. It’s not about what security stops, it’s about what it makes possible.

At the start of the show, Morgan shared on how he got started and his background as a cop. We also talked about his current job as a security expert, and what people need to do to be safe on the internet. We also talked about why hacking is mostly self-imposed, what security companies get wrong with their marketing, and why companies really have to elevate the CISO. Towards the end of the show, we talked about the importance of making security a part of your culture.

Morgan also spoke about;

  • Ransomware as a service
  • Reasonable suspicion vs. probable cause
  • Why are there no category kings in internet security
  • What country he fears the most
  • Why every home needs a shredder

In this day and age, you should be as able to talk about security as you are about profit and loss, human resources, and the stock price. Until we get to that point, security won’t be taken as seriously as the bottom line. We have to make security part of our culture if we want it to really become a priority. Remember things like good passwords, secure VPN and two-factor authentication, make the biggest difference in keeping you safe.

Guest Bio

Morgan Wright is an internationally recognized expert on cybersecurity strategy, cyber terrorism, identity theft and privacy. His landmark testimony before Congress on Healthcare.gov changed how the government collected personally identifiable information. He has made hundreds of appearances on national news, radio, print and web, and has spoken to audiences around the world. Previously Morgan was a Senior Advisor in the US State Department Antiterrorism Assistance Program and Senior Law Enforcement Advisor for the 2012 Republican National Convention. In addition to 18 years in state and local law enforcement, Morgan has developed solutions in defense, justice and intelligence for the largest technology companies in the world. Go to MorganWright.us for more information on his work.

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BONUS: Amazon + Whole Foods = Legendary, QVC + HSN = Loser

Legends do not compete. They create, design and dominate new market categories. Amazon + Whole Foods is two category kings coming together to redesign the grocery category. They are doing category expansion.

QVC + Home Shopping Network is category consolidation. The experts who think that by combining, they are better positioned against Amazon are just wrong. Two rocks don’t float any better than one.

There is a massive from to going on in the way people buy. From buying on TV to buying digitally. QVC + HSN does nothing to re-design a new shopping category. And unless they do, they’ll be the loser against Amazon.

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