Category Archives: Technology

Weighing in on Recurring Revenues to Tip Your Business’ Scale

Weighing in on Recurring Revenues to Tip Your Business’ Scale

Tip Your Business’ Scale

CEOs, investors, analysts, and business advisors have fallen in love with the recurring revenue business model. In fact, when comparing like software companies, Wall Street gives 2x higher valuations for businesses with successful recurring revenue models in place. It’s no wonder that research indicates 50% of US businesses have already adopted or are considering to adopt a recurring revenue business model.

And why not? Recurring revenue is more predictable than one‐time sales.

The Fast Track

Global 5,000 public companies are quickly moving to transform via recurring revenue models. Here’s why: suppose you run a $100 million company and 90 percent of that is recurring revenue. When the next year starts, you can count on $90 million in repeat revenue and only need to book $10 million in new sales to reach last year’s level. If you run a $100 million non‐recurring revenue business, you start at zero every year and need to book the entire $100 million each time.

Significant competitive advantages exist with recurring revenue models that can adjust to meet changing market demands. Compare the fates of two movie rental companies: subscription‐based goliath Netflix and once‐mighty Blockbuster, a company that relied on one‐time transactions.


(Image Source: Statista)

As customer demands and preferences shifted towards new technological advancements, Netflix soared and Blockbuster headed for bankruptcy. Customers clearly preferred the convenience of Netflix’s distribution methods and the cost advantages of a recurring revenue model, which enabled the company to develop a rapidly expanding and predictable business.

Beyond Basic Billing

Recurring revenue models offer advantages that go beyond predictable streams:

  • Capability to scale revenues with costs
  • Lower cost of sales
  • Added bundling potential
  • Higher customer lifetime value
  • Exponential growth and valuation

Who doesn’t want that?

Yet, with the added flexibility and increased benefits of recurring revenue models also comes added complexity that can trickle down into every aspect of managing customers and products. Keep in mind that while the model is compelling, failing to manage its hidden complexities can negate the benefits.


Many mistakenly view recurring revenue as just basic subscription billing, like paying for a time-honored magazine subscription. But recurring revenues come in many flavors: basic subscriptions, usage-based, tiered, and hybrid models to name a few. As a result, recurring revenue management may be one of the most misunderstood concepts in the business world. Many managers think of recurring revenue management as repeat customer orders handled by the billing department, with printers spewing out invoice after invoice, while the accounts receivables manager sends out an occasional collection email. If it were only that simple.

Smart businesses, on the other hand, realize that taking advantage of recurring revenue setups require technology that not only handles the bill, but also monetizes their products and services over time.

Go All in: Manage Every Revenue Moment

Bill handling is just the start. To maximize recurring revenue, companies need to manage the complete customer relationship rather than the discrete transaction. The goal is to engage with the customer over the course of years or even decades. To effectively manage the relationship you must manage every customer interaction or “revenue moment”. Since every interaction has the potential to add profits or lose customers, management is critical.

The good news is recurring revenue businesses have ample opportunities to manage these moments. Here are some revenue moments that should be managed and accompanying actions that could be taken:

  • Customer acquisitions – introduce attractive bundles or offers
  • Product and service delivery – add the option for support packages
  • Management and rating of usage – give the opportunity to upgrade plans when usage nears its threshold
  • Financial interactions – alert customers of expiring credit cards to avoid service disruptions
  • Data interactions – offer new features or services based on data usage with upsells and cross-sells

By focusing on the relationship versus the transaction, you can proactively guide a positive customer experience into a loyal, long-term partnership.

A Paradigm Shift in the Back Office

When embarking on a recurring revenue model, you should rethink how you currently price, package, and manage revenue. To build a successful recurring revenue management system, “normal” communications and billing systems must also change. What’s traditionally relegated to back office operations should move into the front office, driven by the focus on the customer relationship.

Hop aboard. The recurring revenue implementation journey may be windy, but the end destination is worth its weight in gold.

By Tom Dibble

Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings

Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings

Global Startup Ecosystem Rankings

Compass, formerly the startup Genome, released their 2015 Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking with a revamped component index using five major components: Performance, funding, talent, market reach, and startup experience. Unsurprisingly, Silicon Valley tops the list, and in fact, the US dominates the top ten rankings. But many regions globally are fighting for their own places on the list, as Canada positions itself firmly in the late teens, Australia makes a show with Sydney at 16, and the European continent boasts several hubs including London at 6, Berlin at 9, and Paris at 11. It should be noted, Compass’ index does not include startup ecosystems from China, Taiwan, Japan, or South Korea due to challenges in acquiring survey participants and complete data.


(Survey Source:

Socioeconomic Impact of Startup Ecosystems

The Compass research points to a global phenomenon of tech entrepreneurship with startup ecosystems emerging rapidly worldwide. Today’s tech entrepreneurs have all of the necessary tools and resources at their fingertips, as well as the market conditions to scale companies to billion dollar enterprises faster than ever before. States Compass, “Given technology startups’ critical role in the information economy, the importance of healthy startup ecosystems only stands to increase in the future.

Key Findings

Five key findings have been identified by Compass:

  • Ecosystems have become more interconnected, and startup teams have become more international. 37% of all of the funding rounds of the top 20 ecosystems included at least one investor from an external ecosystem.
  • Exit growth is rising. Across the top 20 ecosystems, exit growth rose 81% annually from 2013 to 2014.
  • Venture capital (VC) trends in startup ecosystems appear to be on the increase as from 2013 to 2014 a VC investment growth of 95% could be seen across the top 20 ecosystems.
  • The ecosystem rankings have changed dramatically since 2012. New York, Austin, Bangalore, Singapore, Berlin and Chicago made the greatest leaps, while Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney, and Seattle slid down the ranks.
  • Though gender equality is missing across all startup ecosystems, the trend for female entrepreneurship is up, and the number of female founders in the global startup ecosystem grew by 80% over the last three years.

Noteworthy Omissions

(Image Source: Stefan Holm / Shutterstock)

Though The Telegraph calls Sweden the startup capital of Europe, submitting that Stockholm is second only to Silicon Valley as a tech hub on a per capita basis, this Nordic city tends to be overlooked in many global startup rankings. Says Skype creator Niklas Zennström, “Stockholm is becoming a world leader in technology.” Thanks to a small population of 9.8 million people, just a little more than London, Sweden’s tech scene has thrived due to its global outlook, and Zennström believes the success of Stockholm’s startups is owing to the realization that their domestic market is not big enough. With the average 1.4 years required for international company expansion from small countries and substantial government investment in Sweden’s tech infrastructure, it’s no wonder Stockholm’s tech scene is booming. Stockholm’s exclusion from this (and other) list should be a reminder that statistics aren’t able to account for everything, and the startup environment is one which lives by its own rules.

By Jennifer Klostermann

The Rise of Fintech and the End of Traditional Banking

The Rise of Fintech and the End of Traditional Banking

The Rise of Fintech

Developments in financial technology, or fintech, are changing the way we make payments, with new products gradually transforming how personal and commercial transactions are processed. The pace of these developments has opened up a whole range of opportunities for fintech start-ups and new players; but the arrival of cutting-edge technology has also presented challenges to traditional banks and the retail sector, which have had to adjust their strategies accordingly. For customers, however, there are two key areas where we can see the impact of fintech – namely, security and the arrival of the “mobile wallet”. In this post, I want to take an in-depth look at these areas and weigh up the challenges and opportunities for retailers.

From the customer’s point of view, fintech has the potential to deliver increased security and improved flexibility. Indeed, the consumer and retail sector has led the early adoption of new payment methods, with digital growth encouraging and facilitating the move towards a “post cash” economy. According to a report published last year, mobile payments grew from an estimated $5bn in 2013 to as much as $16bn in 2015. As customer expectations change and consumers grow used to mobile payments, it is becoming more and more important for retailers to provide an optimized, secure and convenient payment system.


(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The smartphone is of course one of the main factors behind this innovation. Consumers can now easily make in-store payments and transfer money to friends using their phone. Last month’s launch of Apple Pay in China is a reminder of the scale of the opportunities – even if the company must first overcome resistance from big banks and retailers. This is important because the system requires a digitized version of a credit or debit card to be stored in the “mobile wallet”. At present, transactions are secured using “digital secure remote payment”, with authentication with Apple TouchID authorizing a transaction up to limited amount.

But Apple is just one entrant in a market that is moving rapidly and in different directions, and shifts in consumer expectations are as much an indicator as a driver of change. Pivotal here is the role being played by cloud-based technology, new security measures and the analysis of big data. Cloud- based solutions, for example, have allowed organizations to develop scalable and cost-effective services, with APIs allowing for more intelligent and efficient data management. Providers of online payment systems such as Stripe and PayPal have been working hard to expand and develop their services, as well as competing to get their products embedded into social media channels.

GPS Developments

(Image Source: dennizn / Shutterstock)

This new technology has prompted some to voice concerns about privacy and information security. In response, traditional banks and start-ups have been investing large sums in the development of new security technology, with biometric security – fingerprints, facial recognition and even iris scanning – now widely available. This is combined with the development of increasingly sophisticated algorithms based on individuals’ spending history. One significant development is the possibility of using GPS to confirm an individual’s location: if an alert is raised by a potentially fraudulent payment, the bank can use the account holder’s smartphone to verify their location. Some customers, however, may still have doubts about the possible implications for privacy.

Big data is another area of real opportunity for banks and for start-ups looking to disrupt the market. Indeed, a bank’s capacity to leverage the possibilities opened up by big data is becoming an increasingly important factor in the competition for customers and clients. This is the reason why banks, and venture capitalists, have started to invest such huge sums in the analysis of financial data. Those banks that can effectively analyze and interpret the vast quantities of financial information will be better able to develop new, client-friendly products that today’s tech-savvy customers want and, perhaps more importantly, deliver a more reliable and cost-effective service. With person-to- person (P2P) mobile payments, for instance, customers can now make payments directly into other accounts with their smartphone.

In light of these developments in fintech, traditional retailers and online businesses need to do several things. To begin with, we need to come up with strategies and payment solutions that account for changing customer expectations by delivering fast, secure and convenient payment across multiple devices. But, perhaps more importantly, we need to find ways of leveraging new technologies and payments infrastructure to remain competitive and ultimately deliver better products and services to our customers.

By George Foot

Startups To Have Reached $1 Billion Valuation In Record Time

Startups To Have Reached $1 Billion Valuation In Record Time

Startups $1 Billion Valuation

Not a lot of startups are resilient enough to vanquish the initial challenges and reach $1 billion valuation, also known as the “unicorn” status. But some of them eventually manage to get there a lot faster than others. A couple of years ago Dan Price wrote about how Venture Capitalists are using big data analytics to spot potential investment plays.

For those who are regularly involved with SMEs, venture capital, and company valuations, it is common knowledge that start-ups that exit for more than $1 billion dollars are extremely rare – often termed ‘unicorn’ companies.

Despite their rarity, it should come as no surprise that venture capitalists are very keen to identify them at the earliest possible stage. The problem is that it is much easier said than done. Traditionally, locating, predicting and investing in unicorn companies has required a lot of time and effort; a good investment could reap huge rewards, whereas a poor investment could cause bankruptcy, yet a good VC that could maximise returns consistently was hard to find…

When the term “unicorn” was first coined around 2002-2003, only a few startups could qualify for that prestigious and rather enviable title. While finding the actual number of unicorns in existence today is a rather herculean task, there is no second opinion on the fact that those belonging to the tech variety have been increasing in number at a rather exponential rate.

Infographics below have been discovered via Visualcapitalist.

Unicorn Births Per Year


The Fastest Startups


By Brent Anderson

TELUS Investing $2 Billion Through 2020 In IoT, Cloud Services and Infosec

TELUS Investing $2 Billion Through 2020 In IoT, Cloud Services and Infosec

Significant investment across the province will increase wireless speeds, extend TELUS’ fibre optic Internet network to even more homes and businesses, and help deliver better healthcare

MONTREAL, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – March 21, 2016) – (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) – TELUS intends to invest $2 billion in new communications infrastructure across Quebec through 2020. This year alone, TELUS will invest $340 million in the province to extend fibre optic infrastructure directly to thousands of homes and businesses in rural and urban communities, further strengthen wireless service, and support key services including healthcare with new technologies.

By the end of 2020 TELUS will have invested more than $27 billion in Quebec since 2000,” said François Gratton, Executive Vice-President and President, Business Solutions East and TELUS Quebec. “This sustained commitment attests to our confidence in Quebec’s future, and our determination to support that future and the competitiveness of our economy through investment that directly helps companies become more productive, supports better healthcare through technology, extends fibre optic infrastructure in communities across eastern Quebec, provides Quebecers with unmatched entertainment and Internet services, and connects us wirelessly faster and more securely than ever before.”

TELUS’ infrastructure and technology investments will advance services for the benefit of all Quebecers, in 2016 and beyond, including:


  • Wireless network TELUS will continue building new wireless sites to add capacity and extend the reach of its wireless network in rural areas, while extending 4G LTE and LTE-advanced – the world’s fastest and most advanced wireless technology – across TELUS’ network, even into Montréal’s metro. This investment will dramatically increase data speeds to satisfy customer demand for downloads and video streaming.
  • Fibre optic network – This year alone, TELUS will connect thousands of homes in Chaudière-Appalaches, Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie to TELUS’ fibre optic network, the fastest and most reliable wireline technology available in the world today. Families and businesses alike will benefit from the next generation of Internet and TV services over this gigabit-enabled network in the coming years, as demand continues to increase. In addition, in collaboration with the Federal Government’s Connecting Canadians program, TELUS will connect close to 10,000 homes in rural Quebec communities such as Lac-au-Saumon, Saint-Léonard and Saint-Anaclet-de-Lessard directly to fibre optic communications infrastructure by 2017.
  • Optik TV – TELUS will continue to roll out Optik TV as well as invest in enhancing its service while adding new content through television apps like Netflix and


  • Fibre optics – TELUS will continue to connect businesses and industrial parks directly to its fibre optic network to further stimulate economic growth and help organizations improve the ways in which they deliver their services. In the last 10 years, TELUS has deployed countless kilometres of fibre optic cable across the province to connect thousands of businesses in Eastern Quebec, the North Shore, Saguenay, Québec City, Montréal, and Trois-Rivières, dramatically increasing their available Internet speeds and capacity.
  • Internet of Things – TELUS will continue its sustained investment in and research of Internet-connected devices to promote the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) in Quebec, driving solutions that will enable all sectors to further their global competitive advantage, reduce their environmental impact and increase worker safety.
  • Security – TELUS will continue to invest in areas like advanced analytics, cloud-based security services and integrated security solutions to help Quebec businesses maintain strong security against a rapidly-growing number of online threats.
  • Data centre and Cloud services – TELUS will expand the capacity of its advanced Internet data centre in Rimouski to meet the growing needs of its current and future clients in Quebec and across Canada. Combined with TELUS’ expanded cloud portfolio, Quebec businesses now have access to a full suite of managed Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions that includes public and private cloud options, as well as Canada’s first hybrid cloud offering built on the Industry-leading Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform.


  • TELUS Health – TELUS will continue investing in TELUS Health, which currently provides electronic medical records to approximately 15,000 Canadian physicians as well as health benefits management solutions to more than 10,000 pharmacies, 11,000 dental clinics and 33,000 extended health care providers across the country. TELUS Health has invested more than $1.6 billion to bring patient-centred solutions to market which are improving the flow of information across the health care continuum and enabling better health outcomes for Quebecers and all Canadians.


  • Support for grassroots organizations: In 2016, TELUS, its current and retired team members and its Community Boards in Quebec will donate $4.5 million to hundreds of local organizations.
  • TELUS Days of Giving: Each year, more than 2,500 TELUS Quebec team members take part in TELUS Days of Giving, rolling up their sleeves to help dozens of local organizations including Opération Enfant Soleil, The Lighthouse Children and Families, and the Association du cancer de l’Est du Quebec.

TELUS, which has approximately 6,000 team members in Quebec, has also contributed $2 billion in payroll, property taxes and other taxes in Quebec since 2000, supporting services for residents across the province. Combined with the salaries paid and goods and services purchased in the province, TELUS’ total operating investment in Quebec since 2000 has been $12 billion.

The investments announced in this media release were reflected in TELUS’ capital expenditure guidance for 2016, which was issued on February 12, 2016.


TELUS (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) is Canada’s fastest-growing national telecommunications company, with $12.5 billion of annual revenue and 12.5 million customer connections, including 8.5 million wireless subscribers, 1.5 million residential network access lines, 1.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers and 1.0 million TELUS TV customers. TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and video, and is Canada’s largest healthcare IT provider.

For more information about TELUS, please visit

TELUS in Quebec:

TELUS is planning to invest $2 billion in new infrastructure and facilities across the province of Quebec over the next five years. By the end of 2020 TELUS expects to have invested more than $27 billion in the province since 2000 to extend the reach of advanced wireless and wireline telecommunications infrastructure throughout the province. As part of that commitment, TELUS has connected homes, businesses, schools and healthcare institutions in multiple urban and rural communities directly to TELUS’ fibre network in order to support sustained innovation and fuel the province’s economic growth.

In support of the company’s philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, team members and retirees have contributed more than $54 million and 540,000 volunteer hours to charitable and community organizations throughout Quebec since 2000. Created in 2005 by President and CEO Darren Entwistle, TELUS has 15 local community boards dedicated to supporting local projects. Since inception, the three Community Boards in QC have donated more than $12.4 million in support of thousands of local charitable projects with such organizations as L’Ancre des jeunes, Motivaction Jeunesse and Fondation du CRBM.

In September 2012, TELUS opened its state of the art Intelligent Data Centre located in Rimouski, Quebec. TELUS built the centre in Rimouski due to the community’s skilled workforce, cool climate and abundant green hydroelectricity. Considered as one of the most technologically advanced and energy efficient Internet data centres in the world, the TELUS Rimouski Data Centre received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for sustainable development in 2015.

Automatic Braking Sensors Expected In Future Automobiles

Automatic Braking Sensors Expected In Future Automobiles

Automatic braking will be standard in most cars and light trucks within six years, and on heavier SUVs and pickup trucks within eight years, according to an agreement that transportation officials and automakers announced Thursday.

The voluntary agreement with 20 car manufacturers means that the important safety technology will be available more quickly than if the government had gone through the lengthy process of issuing mandatory rules, said Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

But some safety advocates have filed a petition asking the government to issue mandatory regulations, saying the voluntary agreements aren’t enforceable.

Automatic braking systems use cameras, radar and other sensors to see objects that are in the way, and slow or stop a vehicle if the driver doesn’t react. It’s the most important safety technology currently available that’s not already required in cars…

Full Article Source: Washington Post

Edutech and the Online Education Industry

Edutech and the Online Education Industry

Edutech Trends

Over the last 20 years we have seen the classroom evolve in very tactile ways. Blackboards became whiteboards to reduce dust in the classroom, pencils became pens as a means to reduce instrument breakage and the need for costly sharpeners, and notebooks became computers because, well, everything became about computers. But one evolution that has flown undercover during the past two decades does not involve what’s in a classroom, but the idea of what a classroom actually is. Online education has grown from “that one nerdy kid who is trying to pick up extra credit before college” to a massive and international industry that has opened up the borders of learning to anyone with an internet connection. But how did online education take off? Where did it begin? It all goes back to long before the age of wires.


People expanding the classroom is not a modern phenomenon. In fact, the first known occurrence of distance education dates back to 1728, when Caleb Phillips, a short-hand writing teacher, advertised his course and its weekly mail-in lessons in the Boston Gazette. The first traditional distance education program was established over 100 years later by Sir Isaac Pitman. Like Phillips, he to was looking to teach people short-hand writing but did so in a way that he was able to provide feedback for his students, a crucial flaw in Phillips’ program original program. Pitman’s method became so popular it led to the establishment of the Phonographic Correspondence Society, hence giving life to the term “correspondence courses”, a popular way to refer to mail-in distance education courses before the beginning of the internet age. The University Of London, referred to as “The People’s University” by famous author Charles Dickens, soon popularized these courses with the blessing of Queen Victoria. By 1906 there were over 900,000 students enrolled in distance education courses in England.

Online Education Beginings 

But enough history, when did distance learning become online education? With the advent of widespread online access thanks to the World Wide Web, online learning programs and platforms sprung from the woodwork of the education sector across the World. The first online high school became a reality in 1994 with the launching of CompuHigh. CompuHigh eventually became an accredited course provider by the NCAA. Since then online education has become a fixture in schools across the World, with many students now enrolled in hybrid programs that incorporate both traditional courses and supplemental online courses.

krishna-kumarToday, the online education sector is led by individual universities across the World and independent learning institutions like Edutech and Simplilearn. When asked why online learning has exploded over the course of the last decade, founder and CEO of Simplilearn Krishna Kumar believes it’s simple, online learning has brought people into the classroom that wouldn’t have necessarily have the chance, saying “Online learning dismantled various constraints such as the physical presence of a teacher or learner in a classroom or their availability at a particular time of the day. Be it self-learning or with the help of an instructor virtually, online learning has minimized barriers, benefiting the learner and the trainer,” adding “Availability of broadband and a surge in smartphone use have helped online learning grow at a fast pace. One of the main benefits of online learning is the ability to learn at one’s own convenience and comfort, regardless of time zones and geographies.” Another major reason is that online courses also allow students access to programs and courses that may not be available in their schools, opening up a world of opportunity for students across the World.

The online learning industry was expected to be worth $107 billion at the conclusion of 2015, with five year compound annual growth rate of 9.2%. This grew revenues from $32.1 billion in 2010, to $49.9 billion in 2015.

By Keith Holland

Usermind – Orchestration Hub for Business Operations

Usermind – Orchestration Hub for Business Operations

Orchestration Hub for Business Operations

Usermind, the first business operations (BizOps) technology platform that lets companies coordinate end-to-end processes as well as full customer, product, and partner lifestyles across all of their enterprise apps, has just announced $14.5 million in Series B funding, led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and CRV. Though ops are traditionally confined to their individual departments, BizOps gets the most out of business logic and data through company-wide software orchestration from sources such as Marketo, MixPanel, and Salesforce with the ultimate result of better retention and improved revenue results than seen in more traditional siloed methods. Corresponding with CloudTweaks, Usermind’s CEO and co-founder Michel Feaster explains, “Right now, many companies aren’t aware of BizOps or that commercial technology exists, but this reality is going to change quickly. Look no further than LinkedIn, Uber or Stripe to understand the potential of BizOps. Every company wants that kind of growth and agility. Consequently, I believe BizOps has the potential to become a $30-50 billion market.”

michel-feasterFeaster, the Harvard dropout who previously led HP’s $1.6 billion acquisition of Opsware, Ben Horowitz’ service automation company. With a career spanning nearly 20 years in various enterprise software roles, Feaster is responsible for company vision, strategic direction, planning, and execution, and her earlier success as VP of products for Apptio where she defined the category and discipline of Technology Business Management, drove product strategy, and helped grow the company from 30 to almost 400 employees, bodes well for Usermind’s future.


The emerging business practice of BizOps is designed to drive front-office growth and revenue, similarly to DevOps’ transformation of IT and engineering. Usermind points to three core principles: breaking down the walls between business operation teams; shifting the perspective from tactical management of leads, opportunities, and escalations to a focus on strategic management of customer, partner, and product lifestyles; and combining analysis with action and experimentation for improved growth, decreased cost of sales, and increased lifetime value of customers. Feaster states, “This emerging practice (BizOps) combines teams, strategy and orchestration technology to unify siloed SaaS platforms and other systems of record to create a gestalt. With BizOps, companies can change their perspective from leads, opportunities and escalations to a more strategic focus on customer, partner and product lifecycles.”

Continues Feaster, “The number of SaaS applications such as Salesforce, Workday and Zuora have grown dramatically as companies race to digitize their businesses across all departments. The next step is creating end-to-end processes such as improving collections, reducing churn or providing a seamless customer experience. This is done through BizOps.” Specifically built for marketing, sales, and business operations teams, Usermind professes to be the first unified platform for orchestrating business operations, automating end-to-end processes and unify data across applications and teams without any coding requirements.

By Jennifer Klostermann

CloudTweaks Comics
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