Category Archives: International Business

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2015 SXSWi Recap by J.R. Atkins

Some of my friends and clients ask what the big deal is with South by Southwest Interactive or SXSWi. In short; ideas, technology and trends are introduced there that affect our lives and business. Technology such as Twitter (2006), Square (2009), Foursquare (2009), Uber (2009), Pinterest (2010), iPad2 (2011),  Microsoft Surface (2012), Google Glass (2012), Pebble Smart Watch (2013), Oculus Rift Virtual Reality head gear (2014) and see more historic trends at 22 Years of SXSWi.

At the 2015 SXSWi Festival I noticed the following 5 tech trends worth noting.

  1. New social Media App – MeerKat – Spontaneous video via Twitter
  2. Health Tech – Mobile App: Measure by Phillips Healthcare
  3. 4k TV – Samsung – 2X the Pixels
  4. International Flair – It’s a global event – Krista Hendriks, Utrecht Area, Netherlands
  5. com – It’s like UBER for overnight dog care

Please let me know if you find any of this interesting or beneficial to you or your business.

  1. MeerKat: http://meerkatapp.co

MeerKat is a new app that allows users to easily live stream video from their cell phonesJ.R> Atkins uses MeerKat via their Twitter accounts. You can “Schedule” a video and your MeerKat followers will get a notification of when you are about to begin. Or, you can create a live “stream” in the moment for those who are watching. Like Twitter, MeerKat video can be seen by anyone. It’s similar to a Google Hangout or Skype video call but much easier. Just download the app, sign in with twitter and click on “schedule” or “stream” and you’re ready to broadcast. The idea is making use of our desire to have a spontaneous connection.

Related story by David Gilbert of the International Business Times.

  1. Measure: in beta test

Nike Fit bit bits the dustPhillips Healthcare is building an online portal that will allow you to feed your data from non-Phillips devices such as a Fitbit, Moves App, Misfit Flash and Phillips devices such as Blood Pressure Cuff. Even the data from my Nike Plus (no longer supported by Nike) can be uploaded to the portal.

Moves App used by J.R> AtkinsPrior to this portal, each App or fitness solution had a separate place to store and view data. With the Phillips Measure platform, you could, in theory, import health measurement data.

During my visit, I was able to meet the developers, debug some code and gain some keen insight into the future of Individual Healthcare Monitoring. A person to follow is Hans Notenboom, Global Head of Digital at Philips Healthcare based in the Netherlands.

  1. Samsung Curved 4k TV: http://www.samsung.com/us/video/tvs

Samsung 4k curved TVI first heard of 4k in early 2014 from one of my videographer friends and I was think, “I’m just getting use to HD.” 4k means 4000 pixels vs HD which is 2000 pixels. So 4k is 2X. A 4k TV will have a resolution of at least 3840 x 2160.

Samsung took over a restaurant in Austin and turned it into an “experience” with fresh juices, snacks, a big video wall made of Samsun Tablets, a virtual reality experience and a blogger lounge.

The curved, 4k TVs were the big thing for me. Unlike the past, you don’t have to wait for the Cable and local TV stations to upgrade to 4k. YouTube, Netflix and Hulu are already broadcasting shows in 4k. So now that a 60” HD TV at Walmart id $600 or less, get ready to upgrade to 4k for $2500.

 

  1. International Flair

Meet Krista from the NetherlandsWhile having lunch at a sidewalk café in Austin, I met Krista Hendriks who was in town from the Netherlands to give a presentation on “Cuddly Drones” a project exploring the emerging surveillance culture, exploring the democratization of surveillance tools and how do teach children to critically explore this drone-filled future? Yea, you can meet people anywhere, but at SXSWi there is an instant level of trust and interest around how technology is affecting our lives.

Technology is bringing our world closer together and SXSWi is helping. Check out her profile on LinkedIn.

  1. com: www.Rover.com

J.R. Atkins uses Rover.comMy dog, Forte, travels frequently with me and he went to Austin to see the sights and keep me stress-free. Yet, I needed an overnight dog sitter so my wife and I could party on Saturday night. In steps Rover.com, an Uber like solution to help you connect with home based dog sitters. Download the app and in just a few minutes you are connecting with locals who can keep your pet overnight for about ½ the price of a Vet or animal boarding service. Send a message, confirm, and set up the drop-off and pick-up time. Rover.com covers the collection of fees. I called their customer service and had a great experience.

Events Worth Considering

03/30/15 – Principles of Social Media (CTC)
04/01/15 – LinkedIn for Success (CTC)
04/06/15 – Successfully use of Facebook (CTC)
04/08/15 – Using Video for Success (CTC)
04/10/15 – Selling in the Digital Age (CTC)
04/14/15 – Website Trends (CTC)
04/18/15 – Successful Marketing Plans (CTC)

04/22/15 – Social Media Basics – Lewisville Chamber & SCORE

04/23/15 – Your Effective Strategy Plan – Webinar


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The Value of Continuing Education by J.R. Atkins

If you consider yourself even somewhat successful in life, then you probably have an appreciation for continuing education. It does not matter if your education was attained in an artisan fashion through an apprenticeship program or if you hold a PhD from a prestigious university. Once we reach a level of skill and knowledge and begin to apply it, we find there is more to know. Some professions require CE units to continue one’s eligibility to practice their craft. For the rest of us, we are left to find our own way.

As I reflect on the past few years of growth and continuing education, I find that I receive this education in the follow ways:

  1. J.R. Atkins likes Duct Tape SellingConversations – With people with different perspectives, different backgrounds and life experiences, and often smarter than me. The DFW World Affairs Council is a good place for this.
  2. Books – Both fiction and non-fiction, especially about growing companies, new technology, and suspense thrillers. Two recent reads are Duct Tape Selling and Tribal Leadership.
  3. Workshops – Anything from a 30 minute Webinar to a full day with an expert, often about new products or businesses, such as my client, Financial Halo and their Prescriptions at Cost Program.
  4. Conferences – South by Southwest interactive (SXSWi) is one of my favorites, but I also attend world affairs related conferences such as “Walking with Palestinian Christians” in Tipp City Ohio.
  5. Structured Course Work – Self-study or guided by an expert such as the Academy for Spiritual Formation a 2 year course that meets each quarter for a week at a retreat center.

 

I also see a trend in the types and topics of continuing education:Prescription Medications at cost

  1. Industry Knowledge – skills, regulations, new developments
  2. Self-Improvement – Being vs. Doing
  3. Skill Development – WordPress, Public Speaking, Patience, Writing
  4. Spiritual Development – Prayer, Giving, Mission work
  5. Financial Development – Reducing expenses and increasing wealthJ.R Atkins needs your suppot to attend the Academy
  6. Management – New trends, Leading Projects, Online Management Tools
  7. Leadership – Beyond setting an example and motivating to help people attain their potential

 

As for frequency, I usually attend at least on big conference each year where I travel away from my local area and spend 2-5 days in a hotel thinking, learning, writing, planning and growing.

What about you? What kind of continuing education do you attend and how often? What would you say is the best source of development for you? I’d appreciate you sharing your experience and ideas on the blog so others can see, but any communication method that is good for you is good for me.

P.S. Note that I have two locations now:

North Texas Location: 8745 Gary Burns Dr # 160-210, Frisco, TX 75034J.R. & Stacey Lead a Ministry now

Central Texas Location: 1105 Bridge St, Gatesville, TX 76528

And my wife and I have started a ministry for spiritual growth called Something Different Ministries.

Events worth considering

 


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Why did the Publicis-Omnicom Merger Die?

According to Wikipedia, here is a list of the 10 largest Ad agencies as of July 2013

  1. WPP GroupLondon $15.6 billion
  2. Omnicom GroupNew York City $14.3 billion
  3. Publicis GroupeParis $7.7 billion
  4. Interpublic GroupNew York City $6.693 billion
  5. DentsuTokyo $3.1 billion
  6. HavasSuresnes, France 1.77 billion euros
  7. Hakuhodo DY HoldingsTokyo 1.2 trillion yen
  8. MerkleLanham, Maryland, $300 million
  9. Global Experience Specialists, subsidiary of Viad, $249.3 million
  10. Epsilon, subsidiary of Alliance Data

 

What would cause the #2 and #3 to want to merge? To take on #1? What would cause them to back out of the merger? It’s been long enough since the the decision to Not merge was made that many arm chair executives are weighing in on the reasons why and why not. If you did not see the Ad Age article I have include the Link and the first part of the article below.

Ad Week Article

It started in February of last year when John Wren visited Publicis Groupe and admired the company’s stunning Champs Élysées view. Maurice Lévy, CEO of the French agency giant, was quick to say that it could belong to the Omnicom chief. That “joke,” as Lévy later called it, led to a proposal to combine advertising’s second- and third-largest players to create a $24 billion colossus to unseat leader WPP, creating unprecedented industry scale.

Nine months and nearly $100 million in professional fees later, no one’s laughing at the punch line now delivered by two of the industry’s top executives, who killed their history-making merger Thursday.

It’s not just about losing face after a highly publicized effort to reshape the advertising landscape. The ease with which the two are walking away from the deal begs the question of the very rationale supporting its initial concept. Both parties now call the transaction an “opportunity,” not a “necessity.” Nonetheless, during the process each side revealed a weakness in praising the other’s strength: for Omnicom, it was Publicis’ digital resources and for Publicis, Omnicom’s creative assets. Officially, the complexities in attaining U.K. tax domicile and regulatory approvals, and subsequent transaction closing delays, are blamed for the deal’s collapse. But insiders insist the lack of consensus about management structure and top personnel decisions are the real reason, something even Omnicom’s Wren hints at.


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Why is everyone Hyping Video?

Because if a picture is worth 1000 words, a video is worth 100,000 or 1,000,000 words. It’s the next best thing to being there. If you are fond of saying “when people meet with me they buy” or when someone understands what we do, they buy, or give, or join us … then video communication is for you.

J.R. Atkins, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Something Different CompaniesThe least expensive and quickest way to share video is to shoot and post from your smart phone. You can do this by using your phone’s camera and mobile apps to share such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and others.

You can also use specialized apps such as Vine, Social Cam, Tout, DigiSocial, and Viddy to capture and post short video segments. Yet, the stalwarts of video sharing are YouTube, Vimeo, your website, and your blog.

Short videos, about 60 seconds, generate interest and are easy to share if they are entertaining, informative or news worthy. Long videos, about 2 minutes to 20 minutes, are great for “how to” help. This is how my son and I learned how to change the oil on his motorcycle.

To get the word out, I recommend companies use email and social media to provide a link back to their video content. It also helps to explain the video in the email or social media post so the person gets the message even if they do not watch your video.

Good luck using video. I look forward to hearing how you are using video to generate results.

Events Worth Considering


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How did Microsoft fall so far? Cannibalistic Culture (Stack Rankings)

“I see Microsoft as technology’s answer to Sears,” said Kurt Massey, a former senior marketing manager. “In the 40s, 50s, and 60s, Sears had it nailed. It was top-notch, but now it’s just a barren wasteland. And that’s Microsoft. The company just isn’t cool anymore.”

TConsultant J.R. Atkins comments on Microsofts fall from Technology leaderhis is just one of the insights you can gleam from the August article in Vanity Fair Magazine.

Analyzing one of American corporate history’s greatest mysteries—the lost decade of Microsoft—two-time George Polk Award winner (and V.F.’s newest contributing editor) Kurt Eichenwald traces the “astonishingly foolish management decisions” at the company that “could serve as a business-school case study on the pitfalls of success.” Relying on dozens of interviews and internal corporate records—including e-mails between executives at the company’s highest ranks—Eichenwald offers an unprecedented view of life inside Microsoft during the reign of its current chief executive, Steve Ballmer, in the August issue.

Today, a single Apple product—the iPhone—generates more revenue than all of Microsoft’s wares combined.

“They used to point their finger at IBM and laugh,” said Bill Hill, a former Microsoft manager. “Now they’ve become the thing they despised.”

“The main purpose of AIM wasn’t to chat, but to give you the chance to log in at any time and check out what your friends were doing.” When he pointed out to his boss that Messenger lacked a short-message feature, the older man dismissed his concerns; he couldn’t see why young people would care about putting up a few words. “He didn’t get it,” the developer says. “And because he didn’t know or didn’t believe how young people were using messenger programs, we didn’t do anything.”

Read the reset of the article and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.


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The Rise of Global Business

Are you engaged in Global Business? According to USLegal.com “Global business refers to international trade … a company doing business across the world.” With today’s technology, open access to information and contacts via Social Media, every business can engage in Global Business.

Looking back on history one can see how the lack of technology and relationship slowed an organization’s global expansion. Many companies were limited to their local geography to conduct business but today, most barriers have been removed or reduced. Let’s take a look at a few:

  1. Transportation – As the cost to drive, fly or ship people and goods decreased, more organizations could reach beyond their local borders.
  2. Communication – The Telecom boom of the 1990’s expanded capacity to talk and send data cheaply anywhere in the world. Then came Video, Skype, and Smartphone expansion. With our Smartphone we can access anyone, anywhere, anytime.
  3. Author, Speaker, Consultant J.R. Atkins references the World is FlatInformation Access – Thomas Freedman writes about the “Uploading” (flattener #4) of information in his book The World is Flat. We now have the information of the world in the palm of our hand. “Not knowing” is no longer an excuse.
  4. Relationship Access – With the development of Social Networks it is easier to identify, connect and build relationships with people of other lands. Prior to my last trip to the Middle East, I was able to set 5 meetings with new contacts from LinkedIn and Facebook. After meeting them in person, we continue to build our relationship through email, Skype and Facebook. See a related article by Alana Muller President of Kauffman FastTrac, created by the Kauffman Foundation.
  5. More ways to get Paid: EBay (Entrepreneur), Amazon (Wikipedia), PayPal (Overseas selling guide), and Square (comparison by HubPages) provide 4 additional ways to exchange value for currency and the cost of these transaction has decreased as well.
  6. Where is Value built: During the industrial revolution, value was built in the factory. Today, value is built with the licensing of Intellectual Property (Inc.), on-line, in the cloud, with virtual relationships, using technology and by knowledge workers.
  7. The Rise of the virtual organization: Co-workers no longer have to be in the same room, building, floor, city, county, country, or time zone. This means that your next great hire can come from anywhere and this may help you uncover global markets as well. Why not hire a developer in a country that you would like to expand? A good example of a virtual company is 37 Signals, maker of such products as Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack & Campfire (I like the outdoor names). They have succeeded as a virtual company where other non-virtual companies have struggled (i.e. Microsoft)

Still, with technology and access, you may be concerned about your own Cultural Awareness. Someone’s cultural awareness is their understanding of the differences between themselves and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values. Here are three ideas I have used to improve my own cultural awareness:

  1. Someone from there is already here – I look for foreign nationals, refugees, foreign dignitaries and others who have recently arrived from another country I am seeking to learn about.
  2. On-line help – Before traveling to the West Bank of Israel, I watched 28 videos from TEDxRamallah.
  3. Go and see – It is cheaper and easier to get to other countries than it used to be. Go and see for yourself.
  4. Get professional help – I have engaged university professors (Dr Robert Hunt) and other professionals (CI Cultural Intelligence) to help me overcome my own misconceptions.

My perception is that any business can have a global outlook if they choose. A hair salon can become globally oriented by saying so on their website, building relationships with global travelers and opening up communication channels such as Skype. What about your business; can you be a Global business today? Instead of a mammoth multinational corporation could you be a micro global business?

I look forward to reading your thoughts on the comment section of my blog (see below).

Resources

Events Worthy of your Consideration


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“TNT, We Know Drama” & so does Belgium now.

In an effort to promote its inclusion on Belgian TV, the TNT channel and agency Duval Guillaume pulled out all the stops, creating a huge spectacle for an unsuspecting crowd. First, some Flemish folks stumble upon a red button in the center of their town, with a sign pointing at it that reads, “Push to add drama.” Since TNT styles itself as the network that “knows drama,” one might expect that something dramatic would happen at this point. Instead, everything dramatic happens.

The town square suddenly becomes the nexus of all manner of cascading storylines and supporting players. There are car chases, a girl in lingerie on a motorcycle, football players, and cops and robbers. When the gun smoke clears, a giant banner comes down the side of a building that reads: “Your daily dose of drama. TNT.” And then everybody presumably went home and DVR’d Law & Order.

Original Article: http://www.fastcocreate.com/1680531/tnt-pushes-the-drama-button-on-unsuspecting-belgians


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Is Your Mobile phone Making You More or Less Productive?

We often hear about the ways our Mobile phone can help us become more productive with on-the go solutions like Mobile Website, Mobile Apps, email, push notifications, Geo-fencing, Meet Me Apps, …But could you be less productive as well? Do we let the technology run us sometimes instead of us running the technology?

Mobile App Consultant J.R. Atkins comments on Smartphone useNdubuisi Ekekwe is a founder of the non-profit African Institution of Technology and posted the below article in the Harvard Business Review. Please add your comments below the article.

Mobile devices have exacerbated an always-on work culture where employees work anytime, anywhere. They’ve contributed to the blurred distinction between when you’re “on the clock” and when you’re not. Service industry professionals are especially tethered to these devices. There’s an assumption that using smart devices boosts productivity, since they allow us to work constantly. But, we’re also jeopardizing long-term productivity by eliminating predictable time off that ensures balance in our lives. Is the obsession of regularly checking email really helping anyone’s bottom line? Are the unrealistic expectations these devices facilitate not setting staff up for burnout?

From my experience, this hyper-connectivity carries a cost to organizational productivity. Many months ago, in my Africa-based startup, my top managers decided to adopt a business engagement process where customers and staff could reach them 24/7. There was a perception that if a customer or a colleague needed something and couldn’t get it immediately, the firm would not be taken seriously. The staff was under intense pressure to be available whenever anyone called — it was simply expected. Six months later, we noticed that customer complaints were actually up, and team morale was down.

So, why were we spoiling dinner time for each other with calls that could have waited until the next business day?

In a forthcoming book, “Sleeping with Your Smartphone: How to Break the 24-7 Habit and Change the Way You Work,” Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow provides insights on this fraught relationship with smart devices. In an experiment that focused on mandating time off for consultants for at least one night per week, she noticed that — over time — their work lives improved, and they were largely more productive. For the research subjects who followed her policy of disconnecting from work at night, 78% said that they “feel satisfied” with their jobs, compared to the group of people who ignored the policy, where only 49% noted the same sense of satisfaction. Her results show that we’re creating a self-perpetuating perception that working faster is better — even when speed may not be necessary.

The reality is that business processes have been changed by technology. Competition is now global and companies need to act fast to survive. Accordingly, we have institutionalized a system where customers and staff expect everyone to be always-connected. And with that, 24/7 speed has become a key performance metric. The impetus to examine whether what we do requires 24/7 responsiveness is overlooked. We all work longer and harder, despite the possibility that we could work better. But since everyone is doing it, it’s considered acceptable.

But, here’s the thing: Business will not collapse if we don’t respond to e-mail at 11 PM. Waiting until 9 AM has plenty of benefits that arguably outweigh the benefits of speed, such as giving ourselves an opportunity to think through the problem and provide a better idea that customers will appreciate. Instead of acquiescing to the knee-jerk reflex of responding to every incoming message, we should put these devices in their place — that is, to serve us, and not the other way around.

Companies need to help employees unplug. (Of course, every business is unique, and must take its own processes into consideration. But for most companies, giving employees predictable time off will not hurt the bottom line.) In my own firm, when we noticed that always-on was not producing better results, we phased it out of our culture. A policy was instituted that encouraged everyone to respect time off, and discouraged people from sending unnecessary emails and making distracting calls after hours. It’s a system that works if all of the team members commit to it. Over time, we’ve seen a more motivated team that comes to work ready for business, and goes home to get rejuvenated. They work smarter, not blindly faster. And morale is higher.

Give it a try in your own company. As a trial, talk to your team and agree to shutdown tonight. I’m confident that you’ll all feel the benefits in the morning.

Link to orginal article.


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Helsinki’s Urbanflow; an Intersection of Technology, Transparency and Helpfulness

I find it very interesting where Mobile Apps, Events, Services, Art and Transportation intersect. There is a great article and video on the Fast Company Micro Site called CO.EXIST about Helsinki “Urban flow: A City’s Information, Visualized in Real Time – Combining a map, tourist information, and data about the city’s services, a new system is making Helsinki truly transparent.” Here is the text content, make sure you check out the video. It’s about 5 minutes but worth it if you like this topic.

“According to Adam Greenfield, most public information systems aren’t very useful. He reckons a lot of kiosks you see in stations, plazas, and on sidewalks are expensive white elephants: a nice idea in some official’s mind, but not something that real people want to actually delve into on a consistent basis.

“Our research suggests that the overwhelming majority of these remain woefully underutilized, resulting in virtually no return on the significant investment involved in installing and maintaining them,” he says, referring to his New York urban systems design practice, Urbanscale.

Greenfield’s firm has teamed up with another in Helsinki, called Nordkapp, to develop something better. The result is what they call Urbanflow, an information system that both tourists and local people might actually want to use.

Urbanflow provides layers of data: a way-finder allowing people to map A to B and find out about local services, and a mass of “ambient” city data on air quality, traffic density, parking, cycling, and public transport. Urbanflow is two-way: Users glean information, but also feed it back, for example reporting on, say, faulty streetlights or vandalism.

Sami Niemelä, Nordkapp’s creative director, says the system is not only designed to be useful, but also “playful,” encouraging people to use it. He also wants to change behavior, making people more aware of their environment.

“We’re making the city more transparent to its people, displaying data and making people care more,” he says. “I believe when you make the information more transparent it affects people’s behavior.”

Helsinki, a city of about 590,000 people, currently has 20 non-interactive urban screens used mostly for advertising. The new system will probably become available later this year, on one side of the same terminal. Urbanscale is developing a variant of Urbanflow for Chicago.”

 

Urbanflow Helsinki from Nordkapp on Vimeo.


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What are you seeing in Palestine?

Social Media Speaker & Trainer J.R. Atkins meeting with techies in Palestine

J.R. Atkins meeting with techies in Palestine

In addition to the many Biblical sites I have seen while traveling in Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, I have been meeting with Social/Mobile/Tech people along the way. Here is a short list of some of the topics of conversation so far.

Brain Drain” is the trend of smart, young people, leaving Palestine for other countries where they don’t have to live as second class citizens.  They move to the US, Jordan, Dubai, Lebanon and other places where they can create a better life for their families.

Maktoob” was a popular search engine developed in Jordan and recently purchased by Yahoo. This is the dream of every young Palestinian Technologist just like Americans; to develop a start up that goes viral and is purchased by a larger company.

TEDx Ramallah” occurred in April ’11 in Ramallah and was simulcast in Beirut and Amman. For those who attended in person or on line it represented a watershed event where people could share, collaborate, develop ideas and build the Palestinian community. TED has grown from Technology, Entertainment and Design to include a broader range of topics as indicated by the 28 videos from TEDx Ramallah.

Pal Connect” was the first-ever Palestinian conference for social media, held in Ramallah in December 2011.  The event attracted social media professionals, journalists, traditional media professionals, academics, students, and civil society representatives. The folks I spoke to said they expect next year’s event to be bigger and better.

Palestine ICT Incubator” PICTI assists tech entrepreneurs take their ideas to market by helping with designing, developing, implementing, and promoting those initiatives to business ventures. A Start Up weekend was held in 2011 and another one is planned for 2012. Spark is another business and technology incubator program being developed at Birzet University.

MARKAVIP” is another example of a tech success story. Similar to Living Social or Group On, the web site offers daily deals on select merchandise at a substantial discount.

I hope you have found these as interesting as I have. Please offer your thoughts in the comment section of the blog.


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