Insurgent Thinking?

What Amazon's AWS leader suggests you always have to think and act like the insurgent to win business

👋 Hey, Must Readers!  I trust you had a good week.

I’m back with 11 must-read stories for you to read & an exclusive microblog about being the creator of a million dollar group.


This👇 made me LOL a little too hard this weekend.

As a reminder: Each week Must Reads shares stories you have unlikely read, seen in your feeds or on your messenger of choice. Hit share to help Must Reads grow and help to make people more informed and entertained.

Must Read Articles Of The Week

  1. 5 Smart Ways Businesses Rethought The Work Week 💭
    The 5 companies who rethought the workweek to improve performance. Hint the post-it note was created in 15% time - Read the full article

  2. 🆓 New Leader Vision And Action Template
    Templates and frameworks are always the most popular clicked stories. So picture this; you are in your new role in January and you are presented as the new leader, what’s your next move? Here is a free framework and free template to drive your new (or old team) forward - Get the free template

  3. It Is Time To Rethink The Way You Are Spending Your Training Budgets 💴
    Stop attending the same old rubbish conferences and finishing another LinkedIn course, get yourself a coach or something more productive for you and your career - Read the full article

  4. Mrs Claus Is Saving Christmas 🤶
    Why Mrs Claus is in high demand and rightly becoming more popular.

  5. Does Every Brand Need NFT’s? 🖼
    Here is a great thread on why NFT’s should be considered by every brand - Read the thread
    (FYI I don’t think it is going to be an every brand action but one many will try and just fail with) » Listen to The Future State of NFT’s podcast to understand the value & pitfalls of NFT’s.

  6. Mental Flexibility Is Key To Perform Well Under Pressure 😓
    One of the most impressive traits former colleagues had was being able to perform under pressure, especially around hard deadlines and moving landscapes, this is a great long read on why talking tough doesn’t work but being mentally flexible will help - Read the full article

  7. Ghosting 👻
    A huge newer issue I wrote about earlier this year, is becoming the biggest business problem, yes, ghosting. The numbers have been collated and ghosting mentions on glassdoor has increased 450% in under 18 month period.
    This is a big issue you can & should tackle at your business - Read the full article

  8. Spotify The Audio & Soon To Be Video Giant 🚀
    Last week I referenced how Patreon is going after YouTube, Spotify has their sights set on video, in this long read it breaks down why velocity is going to help Spotiy become a prime time player in video and a destination creators will crave to be on. - Read the full article
    » Just remember as I said in the recent excel influencers microblog; Spotify has so much content, discovery becomes a real issue for creators and will be pay to play for most, if there is ever a time to build a discovery engine it’s now.

  9. Famous Families Feuds Explained 👟
    Some know that the founders of Adidas & Puma were (the Dassler) brothers, they had a huge argument and then split, then Puma was born, here are two other family fueds explained - Read the full article

  10. Drone Delivery Is Here? 🤨
    I joke regularly about brands who leverage narrative to gain press attention, Amazon are the masters of this, however, Walmart have started to actually test delivery by drone, I am not sure it has huge potential but seems to be worth well while the delivery space starts to consolidate & all by road - Read the full article
    » Related read: Find out why you have to know what side of the consolidation you are on

  11. 1m Followers With Microsoft Tips 🤩
    TikTok is very popular on must reads, I have questioned whether the next move into influencers on TikTok is the internal influencer, this is a product manager from Microsoft sharing tips for office and recently hit 1m followers. Who knew training and hacks would skyrocket following on TikTok.

Something To Think About:
AWS Leaders motto -Always Think Act An Insurgent”…Concentrate on Product & Customers and build what’s most important for our customers you will lead internally and externally.

Microblog: Are You A Million Dollar Group Creator?

Are you in work-related groups? Not just the meme group or LOL group with friends from home or full of family members who argue about everything?
Are you part of the professional movement towards chat-based groups that help recommend companies, agencies, vendors, quick solutions and then offer work and deals between each other?

There are invite-only groups on Slack, iMessage, WhatsApp, and more recently the rise of Discord servers.
Are you part of the millions of dollars or pounds economy that’s passing recommendations and word of mouth referrals? If not, consider how you could be a builder of it. How you could build a supportive community or leverage your expertise and monetise it.

The creator economy is thriving, there are thousands of professional groups that are charging for shared knowledge and expertise.
Are you an asset that could create more passive income based on your knowledge and expertise?
Don’t let your network and expertise be something that could bring in support, work and progression.

—My 3 tips—
(1) 👮‍♂️ Don’t create it on your primary messengers like iMessage or WhatsApp, you will need to mute and police this messenger.
(2) 👎 Facebook was an option but the default is often unruly comments and blind ignorance - it’s the wild west for groups & where they go to 🪦.
(3) 🚀If you want to lean into the future consider how you might use a platform like discord or Slack, remember urgent is only for the sender, never the receiver, so expectation management is essential.

Thanks for reading again today 🙏

A HUGE thank you for reading must reads again this week.

You can support by buying me a coffee, it’s like a small tip to say thanks.

Please remember: If you would like to discuss any articles, have questions or an article recommendation, I’m always free for Must Readers - just hit reply

Until next week’s Must Reads, go well, friends.

Danny Denhard Must Reads Editor, Growth & Marketing Coach 

Thank you for reading. Must Reads Newsletter 📧 - By Danny Denhard grows through word of mouth. Please consider sharing this post with someone who might appreciate it.


The Anti Mentor?

+ a 6 point plan to reduce those pointless meetings you're stuck in

👋 Hey, Must Readers!  I trust you had a good week.

I’m back with 11 must-read stories for you to read & an exclusive microblog about how to beat death by meetings!


As a reminder: Each week Must Reads shares stories you have unlikely read, seen in your feeds or on your messenger of choice. Hit share to help Must Reads grow and help to make people more informed

Must Read Articles Of The Week

  1. Want Quick Wins: Hand Over & Hand Back Framework
    Templates are extremely popular on must reads and this week here is a framework to help improve work, you know of the handover but do you hand back formally? Chances are no! Here is a free template to be more efficient - Read the full article and get the free template

  2. What Big CEO’s Think About Return The Office 🤨
    We are all at different phases of return to the office, some are back in others are not, some are shutting offices and leaving HQ’s optional but many large companies are still driving the standard, so here is what Google etc are actually thinking about returning to the office and what they miss - Read the full article

  3. The No-BS Guide To The Metaverse 💯
    The metaverse is reported everywhere, but a lot of the tech companies are misleading their audiences, here is the simple metaverse guide for work and for play
    - Read the full article

  4. How Smaller Brands Are Leveraging TikTok ⚡️
    Ever wondered how smaller less established brands are appearing in your feed? Ever wondered how a random thing blows up, smaller brands and their agencies break down how they leverage the new format, niche communities (TT is becoming the new creative Reddit) and leverage being creative not just paying for numerous ads - Read the full article

  5. YouTube Move Creators To Shorts & Production Companies 🧐
    YouTube is proactively changing the way they promote their content, subscribing to creators doesn’t guarantee videos are being surfaced and watched anymore. The next tactical move was moving you to your own home-feed (TikTok for your page like inspired move) is actually reducing views for YouTubers and placing more professional long-form content in your feed.
    What is the bigger picture? The birth of better platforms for creators and YouTubers. It’s likely a creator payment platform that is going to reshape the space, namely first mover to do this => creator first platform Patreon - Read the full article

  6. Amazon Prime Video Makes You The Marketers 🧠
    What is the easiest way to turn your prime users into marketers? Give you tools to promote Prime Video’s content. Smart right!
    This is where network effects (you share their content to your audience to drive interest and then they gain sign-ups) come in and drive interest in a show or film by creating 30-second snippets, ultimately driving interest in Amazon Prime Video. This is something others have offered with images and even with short gifs but ultimately struggled with this tactic previously but this new approach is a very smart growth tactic that scales well
    - Read the full article

  7. Luxury Gaming 💰 Gucci and Xbox have teamed up to release a limited-edition Xbox to leverage the theme for luxury brands going deep into gaming. Why? The time being spent and the money spent is huge and luxury brands need relevancy. Will this help Gucci and Xbox become relevant? Unlikely, but it is the ultimate swag few will get to show off and play on - Read the full article

  8. Be Prepared To Be Livestream Fatigued 🛒
    We have been told for around a year that shoppable live streams (everything becoming QVC) are about to take over. Many in the industry see it as the next battleground and many are pumping significant investment into the space. Payment providers like American Express and BNPL Klarna have been the first to really invest in the space to be relevant when it hits the mainstream. I often share the incredible numbers from 🇨🇳, including $2b of sales from this year’s Singles Day (that’s in one day!).
    Something to consider, in the West we have rushed to have more shoppable events and pulled forward annual seasonal events particularly in 🇬🇧, Black Friday (turned it into a week or a month which is madness), tried to roll out Singles Day & now many are struggling to see the impact through the noise of everyone doing it differently. Live streams will be spontaneous and planned and sponsorship might be the first way to go to get the wave moving away from bringing holidays and seasonal events forward - Read the full article

  9. The Incredible Story Of Catching A Turtle Theif 🐢
    An incredible story of the Terrapin, its history, the incredible price for one shell and why Scientists struggle to understand its decline alongside catching a turtle thief - Read the full article

  10. Face Pay - Russia’s Surveillance System? 💳
    Face pay is how you travel on the Moscow Metro (underground system) - it is extremely controversial and is leading to huge questions from inside and outside of Russia. As we move to depend more on technology, are we giving away more of our fingerprints/privacy for convenience? The question might be do we care if we aren’t doing anything wrong - Read the full article

  11. Need A Good News Fix? 🙋‍♀️
    Here is a collection of good news stories that will brighten up your weekend - Read the collection

Is It Time For An Anti Mentor?
As a big advocate of the concept and role of a mentor and having mentors in your life, this really helped reframe the benefits of different mentors.
BTW mentors help you long term with guidance, coaches help develop key skills with deadlines, it is important to know the difference and select the right paid-for option. » Here are my coaching services.

The Future State Of Meta (aka Facebook)
Why they are everywhere and talking about the future being digital (and being the metaverse)

» Read or » Listen

Microblog: How To Beat Death By Meetings

Did you know we have collectively increased the hours of meeting from 14 hours per week to 21.5 hours? That’s over half the working week and feedback on the majority of these meetings…they are actually status updates. Did you know there is such a thing called MRS (meeting recovery syndrome)? It is a big cause of stress and friction within business. Stealing time is one of the main unspoken causes of stress.

Problem Creator Or Problem Solver? Are you in control of the meeting or are you just attending as you have to or deciding to attend to be visible?

The best way to reduce death by meetings and meeting recovery syndrome is to be deliberate in planning and crafting meetings. From saying upfront why this has to be a meeting and why it couldn’t have been an email. Here 6 ways of creating the right criteria for a meeting and how for it to be successful.
(1) Having an objective for the meeting - clearly state it
(2) What success looks like from the meeting - clearly state it
(3) Explainer why attendees are invited and why they are needed to attend - yes, explain ‘why’, they will thank you
(4) Always have an agenda with time blocks - time blocks can be flexible but managing time helps get decisions and actions made
(5) Have a chairperson to help guide the meeting and take notes to distribute - notes improves knowledge and centralises thoughts and processes
(6) Have agreed on actions from the meeting with set dates - the chairperson is responsible to chase, rotate chairpeople meeting to meeting, share the power, don’t hoard it or rely on the hippo

Try it, this method works!

Thanks for reading today 🙏

Big thank you for reading must reads again this week.

You can support must reads by sharing this email with your colleagues and friends
OR by supporting through buying me a coffee, it’s like a small tip to say thanks.

Please remember: If you would like to discuss any articles, have questions or an article recommendation, I’m always free for Must Readers - just hit reply.

Until next week’s Must Reads, go well friends.

Danny Denhard


Should we have a holiday diet season? Why…thanks giving, Black Friday, singles day, bonfire night…Christmas 🎅 🤶

👋 Hey, Must Readers!  I trust you had a good week.

I’m back from my brilliant break away and this week’s Must Reads Newsletter returns to its usual format. I have 11 must-read stories for you to read & an exclusive microblog about why the metaverse is going to be a long battle no one wins quickly.


As a reminder: Each week Must Reads shares stories you have unlikely read, seen in your feeds or on your messenger of choice. Hit share to help Must Reads grow and help to make people more informed

Must Read Articles Of The Week

  1. Better Resolutions 👏
    Why December resolutions will be better for you than New Year’s resolutions - Read the full article

  2. Proactive > Reactive 💯
    Organisational design is something so many people struggle to plan for and build effectively, find out how and why you need to step up - Read the full article

  3. How To Test & Make 4 Day Work Weeks Work 👩‍💼
    A few weeks ago I mentioned that Front is testing flexible Friday’s vs enforcing 4 day work week, here is the breakdown with insights from how well and positively it is being received from Frontiers - Read the full article

  4. TikTok Internal Influencers? 💃
    You might have seen a number of TikTok accounts that uses their staff in videos and create small personalities around their teams. Is this the next phase of influencers or just a trend before TikTok evolves (or some might challenge it by it growing up) - Read the full article
    » This is a great example of U.K. retailer M&S’ stores entertaining us via TikTok

  5. Bumble MLM Problem 🐝
    MLM’s (Multi-level marketing) is surfacing again, this time on Bumble’s BFF platform. MLM’s aka pyramid scheme’s spring up everywhere, but rarely surface on social networks, moderation is hard but 101, we will likely see this with more social media especially professional social networks like LinkedIn being unbundled - Read the full article

  6. Disney’s NFT’s 🐭
    Disney is entering NFT’s with Simpsons, Iron Man, C-3PO and Wall-E all leading the way for exclusive characters art to buy, this is important because of Disney’s reach and cultural influence. Will you buy a toy, go on an experience or own their digital art? You decide - Read more

  7. Uber Profit 🤔 Uber Eats just became profitable on an adjusted basis - seven years after launching. Many people misunderstand that most of these businesses don’t actually make money because they use them and see them advertising constantly. It’s worth keeping in mind when you think of perceived large firms, especially when they heavily discount and ping you with push notifications.

  8. The 7 Types Of Rest We Need 💤
    I rarely share TED content, but this is a good read on the different types of rest we need and why it is important (hint sensory and mental rest are vital to us in a software-driven world of work) - Read the full article

  9. Theme: The 15 Minute City
    There has been a theme in Europe that any city becomes somewhere you can commute into within 15 minutes and everything is at your fingertips within that time, this is a long term theme being pushed by those who design cities. An example of this is what’s happening in the 🇺🇸 with suburbs becoming connecting cities and enabling quicker more direct commutes to large cities - Read the full article

  10. Is It A Matter Of Time Before Starbucks Loses ☕️
    Matter coffee is having a breakout moment in China 🇨🇳, cheaper and better coffee sounds a good strategy but how do you implement it? You have go after scale and that means more stores and being everywhere (store + order from dark stores/kitchen). So, could this happen in other parts of the world? Yes, however, it demands huge investment from outside capital and it’s a race to hit density and hundreds of stores in cities, towns and villages. There’s a big reason why Coca Cola brought Costa… - Read the full article

  11. Struggling With Notifications & Distractions ⚡️
    Here are 7 apps that will help you reduce distraction and drive more focus (FWIW I use focus mode and DND on my Apple products, plenty of ways without adding extensions and app downloads) - Read the full list

Easy & Key Way To Win: Personalisation and making people feel like heroes! 👇

Remember to copy and paste to your team or onto your email list to help your colleagues to stay informed.

Microblog: The Long Metaverse Battle No-One Is Talking About
The metaverse right now is VR headsets in a gaming or work environment or more AR filters enabling more entertaining/creative/immersive conversations.
Read my no BS metaverse guide.

The metaverse is one of the biggest buzzwords in 2021. Facebook (aka Meta), Microsoft are two juggernauts fighting out to be the canonical choice for what we understand the metaverse platform to be. Expect Apple, Google and gaming brands (such as Epic, Niantic) to ramp up their mentions of the metaverse in coming weeks and months.

Something people are struggling to understand is: If we can’t agree on an app to become or be the super app in the west, it will be years until the metaverse is even started to be shaped like a platform let alone a dedicated digital world.
The East’s closest metaverse is currently WeChat (a more integrated WhatsApp / iMessage) and the platform is going to take years to evolve into a fully integrated digital platform.

The metaverse narrative is about buzz and association alongside building reaction not about building something better yet. Yes, Teams is a good start but having to wear a VR headset or sit in teams with slightly better features isn’t anywhere near a metaverse. Be deliberate in understanding the next platform shift, the metaverse is likely years away and embracing the wrong platform blindly will likely have bigger long term repercussions.
» Here are two supporting podcasts for you: NFT’s use case now and next & VR & AR’s future

Thanks for reading today.

Big thanks for those supporting must reads with sharing to your colleagues and friends and to those supporting through buying me a coffee.

Please remember: If you would like to discuss any articles, have questions or an article recommendation, I’m always free for Must Readers - just hit reply.

Until next week’s Must Reads, go well friends.

Danny Denhard

OOO Edition

10 Must Read Stories From A Break Aka Out Of Office Edition

👋 Hey, Must Readers!  I trust you had a good week.

This week’s Must Reads Newsletter has 10 must-read stories with less commentary and no microblog this week as I am OOO taking a break this week.


A post shared by The New Yorker Cartoons (@newyorkercartoons)

As a quick reminder: Each week I curate the Must Reads Newsletter, sharing ‘stories’ you have unlikely read, seen in your feeds or on your messenger of choice.

Must Read Articles Of The Week

  1. How Are You Addressing Mirror Anxiety? 😟
    Mirror anxiety is how we are being judged on zoom and video calls. Pixel by pixel judgement. So the question is what are you or your company doing to address these anxieties? - Read the full article

  2. Do You Have Silent Mentors? 🙋‍♀️
    Do you have people who help shape your career that doesn’t know you exist and have an impact? Many do - do you? - Read the full article

  3. Fake CV/Resume Gets Interviews 👁
    This thread of an engineer faking their resume to get job interviews highlights a number of flaws in the existing system (looking for keywords, looking for big brand name etc) - Read the full thread

  4. Expert: The Office Is (Basically) Dead 💀
    As you know I fully support the hybrid office movement, an MIT professor is strongly suggesting the office isn’t coming back & it’s time to embrace change - Read the full article

  5. Going From Lockdown To Nationwide Must Have 🧁
    How one baker cooking from their mother’s kitchen became celebrity chefs and a-list celebrity must have’s and turned into a nationwide brand & opened a shop in the hotspot of London - Read the full article

  6. How To Stop Controversy Before It Blows Up 🤖
    The big issue many tech platforms struggle with is controlling whether something is a good controversy (helping to drive adoption, usage or viewership) or negative controversy. What is rarely talked about is how the platform can suppress the surfacing of content and appearance of content on their platforms, Netflix, Amazon etc can do this in many ways but often it’s killing it from the feed and removing the title from search - Read the full article

  7. Impact Of Virality 💃
    People, sounds, dance, video reviews and songs go viral via social apps but what actually happens once they hit a critical number of eyeballs - Read the full article

  8. Golf’s Expansion ⛳️
    Why Drake, Nike Streetwear and the pandemic helped golf evolve and why we are going to see a new wave of looks hitting the greens - Read the article

  9. Real Estate Flex 💪
    What do the mega-rich do to flex on and over their peers, they buy single properties for record amounts of money, this time a Malibu property sold to the inventor of the browser & VC legend for $177m! - Read the full article

  10. Powerful Watch:
    “The North Face presents: ASCEND, Reframing Disability in the Outdoors”

Must Readers Submissions: IKEA have a dedicated museum of all of their catalogues available online. It’s pretty cool (thanks Heather) view all the catalogues

You know it’s Christmas season🎄 when the John Lewis ads drops, this years is most definitely stranger things inspired and dare I challenge it’s quality. Thanks Paula for submitting!

Have a story you’d like shared, just reply to this email or tweet me @dannydenhard and I’ll add to next weeks

Podcasts To Listen To This Week 🎧

Support Must Reads ⬇️

Or on cash app £dannydenhard

Thanks for reading today.

If you like to discuss any articles, have questions or an article recommendation, I’m always free for Must Readers - just hit reply.

Until next week’s Must Reads, go well and be safe.

Danny Denhard

Excel Influencers

Why the next phase of influencers are helping you to get better at your role (not job) - because who else will help?

👋 Hey, Must Readers!  I trust you had a good week.

This week’s Must Reads Newsletter has 11 must-read stories & an exclusive microblog about why podcasters have a discovery battle.


As a reminder: Each week Must Reads shares stories you have unlikely read, seen in your feeds or on your messenger of choice.

Must Read Articles Of The Week

  1. Why Consolidation Is Coming 👁
    One guarantee in business - consolidation, find out why you need to be prepared and ahead of the upcoming wave of consolidation - Read the full article

  2. Do You Need An External Profile 📄
    A challenge many people have once they get into a management position is how to consider their external profile, here is a short guide helping you to understand if you should create an external profile (introverts this will be a good read for you) - Read the full article

  3. The Marketers Behind The Adult Social Networks 🧠
    Ever wondered if there were Marketing agencies and consultants helping adult stars (OF) to create content and help them to grow and ultimately make more money? Well, the answer is yes and they are smartly (whatever your own opinion is) helping to create standout adult stars and make a good living - Read the full article

  4. The Excel Influencers Taking Over Social 🧮
    How influencers of productivity apps and excel are taking over your feed and enabling salaries and even creating millionaires through teaching how to be better with software - Read the full article

  5. The Math(s) Behind Cancel Culture 💭
    There is an art and dark science behind which side you land on with cancel culture, why some people seem to get away with what they’ve done and others seem to have to disappear for smaller behaviours. Wired dived into the maths of it and it might just (as always) come down to money and reputation management - Read the full article

  6. Creating An Adored Murder 📺
    How Netflix builds Joe, the adored serial killer is created and what tricks you use to create an affinity to a character like him and Love - Read the full article (FWIW You series 3 was great)

  7. Nature Is Amazing 😻
    In recent years science has come under fire, but something that many haven’t seen is the steps made in non-headlines/news-making items. There has been a breakthrough in wood being able to rival steel for cutlery - Read the full article

  8. Cricket Fighting Is BIG Business 🦗
    Animal fighting is big business around the world, in China cricket fighting sees millions spent on two tiny crickets fighting each other - Read the full article

  9. Internet Culture Spotlight
    a. How Meme’s Are Being Used To Challenge 🇧🇷

    Brazil’s President is being challenged by meme creators to tackle his political tactics and by all accounts, it’s working! It is a tactic we will see happen in the rest of the world, away from mainstream social apps and more on chat apps
    - Read the full article
    b. How Emoji’s Mean Different Things 👀
    Longtime readers of must reads will know my affinity to emojis and understand them and their reactions is a job in itself, here is a good article breaking down what emoji’s mean across the world - Read the full article

  10. Company Culture Corner: Here are 2 good reads on 4 day working (work weeks)
    A. How to pitch your 4 day work week when suffering burnout
    B. Front’s approach to 4 day work weeks, flexible Friday’s

  11. Airbnb Gift Cards? 💳
    Major Travel supplier Airbnb is now offering gift cards, this shouldn’t be a surprise but will be an interesting branding (Marketing) exercise, a way for hosts to re-invest in the platform and for guests to psychologically save a little money (the kicker they don’t expire unlike other gift cards) - Read about it

The Future Of Social Media? The way we could build better social media - how we can do social differently and have actual conversations with audio, video, meme’s and screenshots (listen on Spotify or listen on apple)

Looking For A New Role?

EA or SEO? Good friend of Must Reads Beth Gladstone and her new microagency BuiltbyContent is looking for an executive assistant and a SEO keyword research specialist.

Are you a Product Manager? Are you looking for a new challenge or go on your next growth journey? Lewis is looking 👇

TikTok Of The Week 😝

Microblog: Platform Benefit - Content Discovery Problem

There Is Now 3.2million Podcasts On Spotify

Impressively Spotify announced in their quarterly earnings they now host 3.2 million podcasts on their platform. This is a huge number, an opportunity for Spotify, a disadvantage for creators.

We always get to this point. It is now not a quantity issue nor a quality issue.
It becomes a discovery issue (for podcasters aka creators) & then comes the demand for amplification.

Spotify’s business opportunity: Play the Google search ad game (same came to YouTube), play the Facebook page reach game, AKA Podcasters will have to pay for discovery and then subscriptions (listens / downloads are not automatic so you comparable to how Google PPC works) directly with Spotify and their predicted 400m users by the end of 2021. If you are a creator in any space, it is important to really get an audience who supports and amplifies your content otherwise growth will be limited and likely throttled by these platforms.
FYI Spotify’s third quarter ad revenue rose 75% & this is connected to podcasts.

Thanks for reading today.

If you like to discuss any articles, have questions or an article recommendation, I’m always free for Must Readers - just hit reply.

Until next week’s Must Reads, go well and be safe.

Danny Denhard

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