Chris McConnehey’s Three Questions on Blogs and Careers

October 15th, 2007

Should Amazon Blog?  By Hugh at GapingVoid.comRemember my post “I’m Glad We’re Not All Crazy” from last week? I blogged about how surprised I was that so few people in an MBA class were on LinkedIn or Facebook, or were following blogs. I got excellent comments to that post… and even one of the students who was there responded :) Maybe he’ll start following this blog :p

I wanted to address his specific questions here, in this post. So thanks to Chris McConnehey for the questions (read his entire comment here). I mentioned that the single most important tool I had to develop my professional network was this blog. Chris wonders:

What types of blogs should you look for?

I recommended to the class that they look for blogs that are inline with their industry, profession or geography. Sure you can go look for one of the most popular blogs, but I find those to be popular less for things that I’m interested in, and more for, well, herd mentality, popular reasons. Not that these blogs are bad, or suck, but considering the time you have to spend, make sure you aren’t following silly, goofy, pop blogs instead of following blogs that are more inline with your career aspirations. If you are in corporate finance, find some corporate finance blogs. Into legal issues? There are some great legal blogs, etc. etc.

I just happen to know that Chris wants to get into the VC world. There are a number of VC blogs that are worth following, from the straight VC to the analysts to the critics… so there is no shortage of learning about this space. I guarantee you’ll learn more about the VC space from a handful of good blogs than you will in school.

The blogs I follow are all career related – that is, personal branding, networking, social networking, job search, recruiter, job board news, etc. Following these types of blogs helps me understand the career landscape – how can you understand your industry landscape?

How to you find those that are most relevant?

There are three ways that I’ve found relevant blogs that are worth following:

  1. Go to a blog you like and click on the links in the blogroll. Usually bloggers put blogs they follow in their blogroll… so it’s (usually) almost an endorsement.
  2. Go to and search for certain terms. It always takes me a few tries but eventually I find some cool blogs. Note that there are non-blogs in the results, so you just have to sift through a lot of crap to find blogs that you like.
  3. Search in Technorati, which should give different results than the Google Blogsearch. Same concept though.

What types of questions should I be considering as we venture out into this new territory?

I would say that you should ask yourself what role you can or should have in the blogosphere. Should you read them like you do a newspaper, or should you go one step further and start to comment, or should you go another step further and have your own blog? I know it seems like a huge thing right now to start a blog, but you don’t start on the top 100 list… you just start with dialogue. Sometime the dialogue is to yourself, but let me make two points about this:

  1. Creating a blog is the single best thing you can do, if done well and right, to create your personal brand online. If you want to see some excellent examples just check out the You Get It award winners, which are all listed individually on the (very) bottom left.
  2. There are people who haven’t started to blog yet that will take over the top 100 in the future. It’s just change. And some on the top 100 have made a significant business out of it… at the very least they make a living from it. In my opinion, now is as good a time as any to get started – but just be smart about it (and what your brand and message will be).

Also, Darlene from Interview Chatter weighs in… you can see her comments here.

More tomorrow, with a bonus question from Chris.

What do you think? How would you answer his questions?

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I’m Not a Startup Princess. But I’m a Startup King.

October 13th, 2007

Kelly King Anderson is the Startup PrincessThis is according to the startup princess herself… as I would never call myself the king of anything right now (she has also called me the wizard) :p Kelly King Anderson grew up in a family of “kings” and has always had this element of kingdoms, royalty, etc. So when she started her business encouraging women entrepreneurs it was a natural theme, and a brand that was there for the taking. She snatched it up and ran with it!

Kelly hosted the first Startup Princess Conference in Provo, Utah yesterday, and she invited me to exhibit to her 60-100 attendees. I was excited for the opportunity, as I’ve been trying to figure out how to get more involved with her organization, but I had that problem (… the one where I could not be a princess… you know… ).

I have to admit, I was driving home after the conference, trying to think of a more inspiring business event that I’ve been to. I can’t. This was the most inspiring, uplifting, and informational conference that I can remember attending. The audience was alive with energy and questions. There were those who had not started their own business but wanted to. There were those that were in the thick of starting their own business, and there were those who have very successful startups, or work with startups. I love conferences where everyone wants to be there, and this was one of them.

Kelly King Anderson opened the event and had the entrepreneurs write down three to five things they needed in the next 60 days. The tagline on Kelly’s blog is “Make a wish, make it happen!” and this theme permeated the entire conference. There was mention in almost every presentation about networking, relationships, contacts, etc. (great for me, right?)

Becca Levie - Life on PurposeThe opening keynote was Becca Levie, who is a fabulous speaker with an amazing… amazing! story. I had goosebumps as she shared her story with us (read about her childhood here … unbelievable). But Becca has owned a number of businesses (right now she owns LipNotes) and was a terrific CEO-speaker. One of the things that I remember from her presentation is about how we think of ourselves, and the idea that no one will be able to think more of ourselves than we can (talking about having the right self-esteem).

Becca shared the idea of “grasshopperitis,” which is a disease that 85% of the population suffers from (I bet you do!). She bases it on the story of Moses and his men who he sent on various missions. One group came back and reported “and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (this is when the came across the giants (as in, David and Goliath) and were sure they would get crushed). Becca said “if we see ourselves as insignificant and incapable, then our dreams will not happen” (or something like that).

Erika Wilde - StopDirt.comI then went to Erika Wilde’s presentation titled “Bootstrapping to Grow Your Startup.” Erika owns, a website that sells mats. Mats. Can you believe her startup is to sell other people’s mats online? Well, she does, and she does quite well (she shared company revenues). What a terrific, inspirational story. I’m not even going to tell you how many hours she works now… it will make you jealous! Another awesome speaker with terrific information (cash flow is king… always watch your cash position!).

Next was a panel discussion that was really cool, featuring Melissa Chappell (Raw Melissa (raw foods)), Lori Harris, of Mary Jane’s Shoes in Park City, UT, Melissa DeMordaunt (no picture below :(), of Snugabug Baby (they sell “warmsies”), and Tracey Christensen of “Now I can Center for Intensive Therapy.” What an awesome group of women who had ideas and developed them into businesses! They each got five minutes to share how they went from idea to execution… it was so cool to hear what it took to get where they are now. One of the questions was “how much $ did it take to get your business started.” Huge differences, from the Mary Jane’s shoes needing the most startup capital (I think it was over $100,000) to Raw Melissa needing the least (she started with $30, made a pie, and sold it to a local health food store… and the rest is history). The message was inspiring, but to see these women entrepreneurs sit there with some level of success, and to be recognized as leaders, wow, it was very cool.

Raw Melissa (Melissa Chappell) Lori Harris - Mary Jane's Shoes Tracey Christensen - Now I Can

Cydno TetroThe third session I went to on “Building a Management and Support Team” by Cydni Tetro. I’ve bumped into Cydni a few times but this is the first time I heard her present. I have found Cydni to be the most talked about businesswomen in the Salt Lake area – and now I know why. She hold a CS from BYU, and an MBA, so she has the capacity to talk geek-stuff, but she is clearly passionate about business. Her presentation was probably too much for startups, and more appropriate for companies that just got venture funding, but it had plenty of meat for people to think about. I just sat in awe as she talked and talked and talked, thinking she is one of the smartest business people that I know. No wonder she holds a VP role at NextPage, as well as a number of consultant gigs around here (not to mention her own startup, Rocky Mountain Voices). She is very, very sharp.

Rachael Herrscher - successful startup business owner!The last session I went to was “Creating Strategic Partnerships” by Rachael Herrscher, of Today’s Mama (and now, blogger at I have “known” Rachael for a while, as Kelly would include her on e-mails that she has sent me in the past. But this was the first time that we actually got to talk, and I got to see her in action. Rachael is just 29 and has been building an awesome business for the last three years. I’ll probably blog on her stuff later, since there is so much to it, but the takeaway I got from her presentation was great. As you know, I am looking for industry partners… and so I was interested in hearing about how Rachael found her partners. During her presentation I learned that Rachael considers all of her network contacts partners (!!). Media partners, distribution partners, etc. I had been thinking of my partners as those who pay a license fee to me to incorporate JibberJobber into their system, but now I’m shifting the definition so that all of the people and companies I deal with are partners in one way or another. This is huge because “partner” means a lot more than “contact” or “associate” or even vendor, customer, etc. I learned a lot from Rachael, and I’m sure there is much more to learn. Watching her company grow in this next phase is going to be very, very exciting.

Barbara Vineyard - celebrating her magazine's second anniversaryBarbara Vineyard, Owner and editor of Wasatch Woman Magazine, ended the conference as the final keynote speaker. Barbara has a great, inspirational story. She is very transparent in her magazine, which is very refreshing. She talked a lot about her team, having their pictures on various slides as she described them and how great they were. You could tell that she had put together stellar team and allowed them to do their jobs. I think it’s fair to say that Barbara’s message is “if I can do it, anyone can do it!”

I would have liked to attend sessions from Inc 500 recipient Katie Maloney, Liz Galloway from Lotus Effects Spa Consulting, Nancy Cadjan from Sign Babies and Carrie Dunn from XO Marketing … but I had to choose :( Maybe next time.

Kelly, this was an awesome, awesome event. Congrats for bringing it to Utah, and helping women entrepreneurs (and me) make a wish, make it happen!



Legal Counsel at the Blogging for Business Conference

October 11th, 2007

Well, it’s probably not “legal counsel,” that might be illegal :)

But we do have a session that I haven’t seen elsewhere, in other blog conferences, and I’m pretty jazzed about it.

Rand Bateman - Utah Patent AttorneyRand Bateman is a fellow Utah blogger that I’ve bumped into here and there. He is also an Intellectual Property (IP) attorney in Utah. When I asked Rand about what he thought about my ideas for a legal presentation, he immediately started giving examples and ideas for a presentation, and it was totally inline with what I was thinking.

I actually like what Rand blogs about, since IP is an issue I have with JibberJobber (you know, the bad guys copying what I created :p) Here’s typical Rand style, at the very end of his most recent post about a local university barely getting around to getting a trademark:

For everyone else, I suggest registering your marks during the first century of use.

Rand will help us understand the legal issues surrounding blogging, what we should and shouldn’t communicate, etc. The interesting thing is, this issue always comes up when I hear about business blogs, as the #1 reason to NOT blog.

This will be a presentation worth the price of the ticket. If you can, come out to Utah and join us – heck, we’ll even feed you breakfast and lunch (and snacks in between!)

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On Building Intimate Relationships

October 10th, 2007

From my post last night you know that I spoke to an MBA class, and I started and ended with the idea from Keith Ferrazzi’s Never Eat Alone that we should be building intimate relationships.

Many in the class were not excited about “professional networking” because their idea was that people pass business cards, want to collect info about you, and then reach out and hopefully close some kind of deal. It feels like it’s leading to a one-way, almost superficial relationship.

I said that LinkedIn is a great tool to “find and be found,” and that even JibberJobber is a great networking tool. But neither of these, for me, has been key to building intimate relationships. Want to know what has been the number one tool for building real, meaningful relationships?

My blog. Yep. Through the comments I have met many, many cool people. At conferences I meet people who follow me daily but don’t leave comments (lurkers!). I get e-mail from people who have something to say about a post, but don’t want to comment. I have been able to learn about my readers (you!), and in many cases, get to know you much, much better than through other mediums. I have been building intellectual relationships, emotional relationships, and intimate relationships. And it has been awesome.

(transition to my conference in less than two weeks!) That’s one reason why, for the Blogging for Business conference we have at least three speakers that focus on developing relationships with bloggers. These three are masters of relationships, as you can tell by their own blogs and networks.

wendy-piersall.jpgWendy Piersall is the first keynote speaker. I saw her speak in Chicago at the SOBcon, and she was phenomonal. I live-blogged her presentation, which you can read here. I had goose-bumps during most of her presentation. I thought she was going to come out and tell us how to have a successful eBusiness, or an awesome blog, but it was totally different. And I know her presentation at Blogging for Business is going to be the bomb. You can listen to her 12 minute podcast with my cofounder, Matthew Reinbold, here.

liz_strauss_66.pngLiz Strauss is the lady I refer to as the Godmother of blogging. I don’t know anyone that has been blogging for a while that has not bumped into Liz. She was the founder of SOBcon, so I got to meet her in person this spring. Not only does Liz know just about everyone, and most people know Liz, I don’t know a single person that doesn’t have a ton of respect for her. She has built one of the strongest blog networks that I have ever seen (as I think about it, I don’t know anyone that has a stronger network of bloggers). It will be an absolute treat to learn from her.

lindsey_pollak_66.pngLindsey Pollak is another favorite of mine, and I’m excited to get to meet her in person. Lindsey speaks and writes about Gen Y, and their career management issues. You can see some of Lindsey’s presentations on the video clips on her site. I was anxious to get Lindsey out to speak because so many relationships to build will be with Gen Y bloggers – and understanding Gen Y mentality will be key in developing successful relationships.

So there it is. I’m a huge fan of building intimate relationships. These three ladies are going to talk about relationships, and how you can develop them with people in the social media space to make your business better – if you want to see them, sign up for the Blogging for Business Conference!



I’m Glad We’re Not All Crazy

October 9th, 2007

raise your hand if you use LinkedIn or FacebookTonight I spoke to an MBA class about “professional networking,” with a heavy slant on LinkedIn. I only had twenty minutes… I can’t even remember the last time I had just twenty minutes.

Anyway, I asked the class of thirty-two students “how many people had a LinkedIn account?” About four or five.

Of course, most would have Facebook accounts, I thought.

Only two had Facebook accounts.

First, I was blown away that Facebook’s [previous] target demographic had a smaller representation in that class than LinkedIn did. Isn’t FB about twice the size of LI???

Second, I was blown away that this hip group of MBA students was not really big into online social networking. According to everything I’ve read lately, the only way to not have an account on either of the two was to live in a cave.

The class proved that notion wrong. While it’s cool to “participate” in online social networking, I think it’s great that most of these people hadn’t started yet. Hopefully they are building relationships outside of the classroom, and outside of the virtual world.

My world is too myopic :)

Oh yeah, I asked how many of these bright, sharp MBA students followed ANY blogs. None.

Hopefully they’ll start soon (I know a great blog you can follow :p).



I’m Co-Hosting a Conference in Two Weeks

October 8th, 2007

click to see the speakers blogsI’d like to invite you to a conference I’m co-hosting with Matthew Reinbold on October 22nd. This event is at the Downtown Marriott in Salt Lake City (yes, I know… far away for many of you).

Why are we doing this? To provide the same excellent value and information for business, marketing and public relations (PR) professionals in and around the Rocky Mountain area. Matthew and I are bloggers, and business owners. On the blogger side we have been prospected by marketing and PR professionals asking us to consider blogging about their products (or, their clients’ products). To be honest with you, I have only received ONE pitch that wasn’t horribly lame, from my perspective.

From the business owner’s side, I want to leverage social media, specifically blogging, as much as I can to create buzz around my product. In fact, most of my marketing time and money goes into nurturing my blog network. Whether you own a web service, like I do, or a realty company, or a law firm, or Joe’s Pizza Shop, you can and should use some kind of blog strategy.

Am I talking about how to start a blog, and keep it up? Not necessarily. Even if you don’t have a blog, you can still have a blog marketing strategy! When you walk out of this conference you aren’t going to have all the tools and motivation to go to WordPress and start blogging, rather, you’ll have a much better understand of how to leverage blogging (and other social media tools) to accomplish your marketing goals.

How to leverage the medium to accomplish your goals. How powerful is that? Very powerful. Look what Yahoo! columnist Penelope Trunk did when she wrote her book … she asked bloggers to create buzz about it (who responded? See here and here and here and here)!

So how will we communicate this message? Through some awesome speakers – check out who is coming, and what they are talking about (the agenda is unlike any other conference I’ve seen… (can you tell this is not a techy, geeky gathering?)

… more throughout this week! Oh yeah, the website is Blogging for Business. Mark your calendar, and sign up on the website!

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Be Better than Grandma at Sending Thank You Cards

October 5th, 2007

Get birthday reminders e-mailed to you!Do you have a grandma that never misses your birthday? You get a thank you card a day or two before your birthday?

Here’s what you can do to be better than her…

  1. Sign up for a free account on JibberJobber
  2. Put in as many contacts as you want (it could be just family, or your clients, or your employees, etc.) — all you need is their first and last name, AND
  3. put in their birthday (at least the month and day, the year is optional)

By default, even in the free account, you will get two e-mail reminders for each birthday (you can go to My Account/Preferences to change that):

  1. At the beginning of every month, to tell you what birthday’s are coming up in the next five weeks, and
  2. Two days before the person’s birthday. If you send birthday cards perhaps you want notice ten days earlier.

Birthday wishes, even if just an e-mail, are a great way to reach out to someone, and continue to nurture the relationship. All these little things add up.

What are you waiting for? Sign up for the free account now (it won’t ever expire, and I won’t force you or trick you into upgrading :)) and get those birthday reminders e-mailed to you! You’ll make Grandma jealous!



Meet My Newest Partners

October 4th, 2007

NRWA logoLast week I flew to Savannah, Georgia, to attend the National Resume Writers’ Association conference. It was the second conference that I’ve been to in the career professional space and I absolutely loved it. My last industry was building maintenance/management, and conferences there were filled with people that didn’t want to be there, and wondering where the next golf course or restaurant was. However, people attending these conferences are usually paying their own way to be there, so they don’t really want to miss a thing. In addition, the conferences are small (around 100 people), so during the three days you can meet just about everyone.

Resume writers are special people. I couldn’t do it – I know my personality and what drives me, and the level of attention and creativity needed to write a strong resume in a challenging situation is something that I doubt I would be able to make a career out of. I remember last year when I did The Resume Experiment, Pete Johnson left a comment saying that he believes everyone should write their own resume. I definitely agree, going through the process is important, and we should all do it. But there are times when calling in a professional is necessary, or wise (or both)!

Sitting through the sessions at this conference gave me a new appreciation for professional resume writers. There is art, mixed with science, and these professionals are at the top of their game (and working to improve). Some have chosen to partner with JibberJobber to add value to the client relationship, as well as make their operations and marketing more effective and efficient. I’m pleased to present to you my seven newest partners (in the order that they signed up):

  1. Kathy Warwick, Confident Careers
  2. Linsey Levine, Career Counsel
  3. Bonnie Kurka, Executive Career Suite
  4. Susan Whitcomb, Career Coach Academy
  5. Eleanore Farmer, Be Ready Resumes
  6. Claudine Vainrub, EduPlan
  7. Marcia Baker, Mark of Success

Many of you know where I’ve come from since last January. I was the guy who couldn’t get an interview (because my resume had problems). I was the guy who went from “60 to zero” pretty quick. It was demoralizing. Now, I have something cool that industry leaders are jumping on, and it is very, very flattering. I’m honored to be associated with these new partners, and thrilled to add them to my existing partners list!



I Use LinkedIn … But Don’t Preach To Me

October 3rd, 2007

Preach to me, tell me how to use LinkedIn!Last week I linked to Thom Singer’s brilliant post about LinkedIn, and got almost as many comments in that one post as he’s had in his entire blog history (commenters on his or other’s posts include Carol Deckert, Scott Ingram, Jonathon Morgan, Aruni Gunasegaram, Josh Greene, Liz Handlin, Darlene McDaniel, James Seay, Mark Herpel)) :) He hit a real sore spot, and was dead-on. Go read his post: LinkedIn Rant – And A Challenge To Bloggers.

There are two responses that I’m reading, one is “Yes Thom, you are so right!” and the other is “Thom, you are using LinkedIn wrong!” Thom’s post quickly explains his personal connection policy on LinkedIn (which is pretty much what LinkedIn suggests, and Scott Allen endorses). But that’s not the point of Thom’s post, as far as I read. His point is that the guy who invited him, and got declined, tried to “school” him, telling him HOW Thom should use LinkedIn.

And this is what one of my beefs is. I have been involved in LinkedIn and various e-mail lists centered on LinkedIn for over a year, and it still amazes me how people are preaching how you need to use LinkedIn.

Why do I say “preach?” Because the tone that I read in these e-mails or posts is authoritive…. and there is so much passion about a certain position that people seem to be defending a religion! Here’s a short position on where I stand on two preach-worthy topics:

  1. Quality vs. Quantity: this is the undying debate about which is better, a huge network with thousands of first degree connections (quantity), or a small network only made up of people that I “know and trust” (quality). Well folks, different people need different things! But don’t tell me where I should stand on this spectrum! You have your own policy, and let it go at that! I find that recruiters, business development professionals, small business owners and the like are more inclined to have a more open policy on connecting with people that they “just met,” as opposed to people that they know and trust. Wrong or right? I think it depends, and I’m not going to tell you where you should fall. Please don’t tell me.
  2. LinkedIn vs. Facebook (and the others): Which is better, which is worse? Which is going to be around, and which is going to be outdated next week? Come on folks, are you serious? First, how important is this debate? You can take all of 60 minutes to flesh out your LinkedIn profile and then really never go back, and still possibly get value out of it. Every week take a few minutes and accept some invitations. It’s not like we’re talking about investing 20 hours a week here. Should you get on Facebook? Why not? Probably 85% of my Facebook network is made up of business professionals, and the students that are connected to me are very business or career oriented. Do either suck my time? NO. Am I there, in the right spot, at the right time? Could be. If I’m not there I might miss out – and all it took was about 60 minutes to set up a decent profile. Don’t get social-network-religous on me and preach to me about which is the true social network, and I’ll go to hell if I am on the other one (okay, it hasn’t been that strong, but it sure feels like it sometimes!).

This preaching is tiring and boring. Seriously – give it a rest. Thom got preached to and he read right through it – I’m glad he put up that post, and I know he’s not alone in his frustration.

If you are an evangelist for one or the other, or one method or another, slow down and consider what message people are really hearing from you. And if you get preached to, I suggest you just ignore it. Debating or “discussing” really isn’t worth the time it takes. (of course, if you are a blogger, blog on it … it makes blog reading more fun :) :))



Where Do You Find The Best Leads? Not From Family And Friends!

October 2nd, 2007

family and friendsI feel like the topic of this post violates what I wrote yesterday, about not liking career advice :p Oh well. This had a profound impact on me, so I’ll share it with you :)

Last year, in my two day workshop to help me in my job search, they said that you get job leads from your third and fourth degree contacts. In other words, you aren’t going to get job leads from family and friends.

Why? I don’t know – maybe some sociologist of anthropologist can inform us. But I found it to be true. In fact, there are other interesting things related to this weird networking issue:

  1. Family and friends want to help, but might not want to get too close. Most of my family and friends seemed to have an arms-length approach with me during my job search… they were “there for me,” and certainly provided (a) moral support, (b) encouragement, or (c) some kind of sympathetic approach helping me understand that I would get through it. All I really wanted was a warm introduction to a hiring manager, which no one seemed to be able to provide :)
  2. The networks of my family and friends was not very strong. I can’t really think of any family or friends that had a broad or deep network. Just like me, they had neglected relationships that were outside of their daily lives, which usually meant work or church friends.
  3. Their networks weren’t diverse enough to really add value to my job search. The concept of diversity is simple… it basically means that instead of having just mechanics in your network, you also have accountants. And computer geeks. And college professors. And authors. And government employees… and … and … and … I think you get the point.
  4. Their relationships didn’t seem to be very strong, and/or they didn’t know how to go out on a limb. Endorsements and introductions seemed to be week and half-hearted. At first I thought it might be because they thought I was a loser (after all, isn’t it a loser that loses his job??), but I came to realize that they really had not worked on developing a deeper, more intimate relationship (for more on intimate networking, check out Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi).

As I started to network outside of the family and friends circle, I found an entirely different type of people and support group. Many of these people were hustling for their own well-being. They were either in a job search or owned their own businesses… but they all had one thing in common – they understood networking and relationships. Since they didn’t know me (or, they didn’t assume they knew me), they wanted to learn about me. We began to develop relationships that went deeper than I was accustomed to. We were helping one another, and introducing each other to our networks.

Now, don’t think this was an overly-superficial process. There were long lunches, and we were really digging and trying and figure out how and where we could add value to one another. In the process, because these were people that ran in completely different circles than I had, we introduced a significant amount of diversity to one another’s network.

As with family and friends, they may not have been the person to refer me to someone that was a decision-maker. But usually they could introduce me to someone who knew someone. The third or fourth degree contact that would be valuable in my job search.

Don’t waste time or effort getting mad with family and friends. Get out there in various network opportunities, and toss your hat in the ring. It’s scary, but you’ll be amazed at what it does to your network.

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