THS 1: How to Stay Motivated to Work Hard with David Markovich


Show Notes

On today’s episode, we have an amazing chat with David Markovich from Online Geniuses, an incredible Slack community for marketers.

David Markovich grew this community from 200 to 20,000 members, providing incredible content to all its members including meetups and conferences around the country. David’s passion towards communities led him to create a very engaging community and has become one of the top places to hang out if you’re an online marketer.

Although Online Geniuses started as a Skype Community, David knew that if he wanted the community to grow exponentially he was going to need a more efficient platform than Skype, that’s when they moved on to Slack (A super useful tool for communication and real time chatting).

Although David agrees that entrepreneurship is hard, he shared with us what kept him going and why he did not quit when things got though. He also taught us that the big secret of success and how he’s able to stay ahead of the next trend and act with perfect timing.


David’s Book Recommendation:

Give and Take by Adam Grant. David shared with us that this book taught him that the givers always end up on top.


Links to Connect with David Markovich:

Conversation Transcript:

“All riches have their origin in mind, wealth is in idea, not money” -Robert Collier

Christian:                Thank you so very much for being here on episode one of the hustle show, the very first one ever. I’m very grateful to have you here thank you so much for taking the time to watch it on our You Tube channel or you’re listening to our audio experience on our podcast, thank you so very much. I would really really appreciate if you hit that subscribe button and you subscribe to our show, that would mean the world to me. On today’s episode we have the amazing and very successful David Markovich from; he’s built an amazing and incredible community online. How he was able to grow a small Skype community from two hundred people all the way to twenty thousand people and now having meet ups and conferences all around the country just providing valuable content for online marketers; providing connections and allowing you to create this amazing experience of this marketers community. He’s also going to talk to us about how is he able to stay motivated? what is driving him to create this amazing communities? and some tips that you can apply right now to your business to keep pushing even harder than where you are right now. So without further ado; David Markovich.

Christian:    Welcome David.

David:          Thank you for having me

Christian:                Yeah, I’m very excited to have you here you know, I’m very passionate about communities and I know you build this amazing entrepreneurial marketing community online with over fifteen thousand members that’s impressive. You know I’m very impressed with you with your story and I know you have a real hustler story that I want to share to the world today; just tell us a little bit of how did you get involved in this? How did it all started?

David:                      So with the community like, I’ve always been a community oriented person whether it was like creating my own or attending others, so i just sort of represent the marketing bounced around that industry for quite a while, creating some of my own tools, working through some tools, working for some companies, and doing consulting and during that time I was able to build up relationships with some phenomenal people and actually when you meet good people you want to put the good people that you know together because it’s like wow! I really enjoy this person, now I think that other people I know might enjoy them.

So I created this Skype group, put a lot of people I knew in there and the group that was really well engaged and the retention of the people participating and hanging around was pretty high and the referrals were growing as well, so people part of the community; they were like wow this is great! let me invite my friends and we were based on Skype, kind of like we’re chatting up, which is not necessarily meant for communities. So we were like switching platforms and you know weeks at the max we had like three hundred people and I was like oh wow! we have the biggest community ever and then now like we’re getting close to twenty thousand members and we actually put together you know like you said events across the world and then it’s just based on giving. You know like we could give, so as much as we could give to the community, the community will give back.

Christian:                Right, yeah. And then I love the story of how you got started just because it was your true passion, I mean because we’ve all seen it when you go after the money, it never works out that way so I love it that you get started because it was your true passion and something that you really enjoy doing and giving back to the community. When you back started this, you have any doubts that should have taking off or did you ever doubt yourself, should I do it or should I not do it.

David:                      So I’ll bring up one point that you said before; it’s like hey! You didn’t do the money! I can’t even count on my hands and toes how many people told me to start charging members for the community; there’s a tremendous amount of people like hey! Hey! Why don’t you just start charging people to join your community, like the demand is there and I was like I don’t want, that’s not the way I want to run my community, you know I want the community to grow and with time you know revenue will come in but that shouldn’t be my main focus. But I had a lot of conversations because I also run a community of people who run communities and I had a lot of conversations with people telling them “don’t charge for your community, build the community, if money is your main focus you’re going to fail when you’re running a community”. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all community shouldn’t charge, but at the beginning and the first year or two, once you charge, you don’t get that many new members and the high quality people don’t necessarily join because they are like why should I pay? Like I’m giving you a ton to this community, why should I give you money also? Like I may be participating, I may to be referring my friends, I’m up with events. So like the people that I want to super engage, I want to participate highly in the community they tend to not want to pay to be part of community because they’ want to be connected if it’s big enough. So adjust to bringing that point and still to this day we don’t charge a penny for people to join the community. What we do is to everyone’s advantage, so we don’t want like that more to protect the community. So for example, we don’t want like recruiters poking around because then the community is really engaged and there’s somebody that’s like; oh, hey! do you want to work here? do you want to work there?, these are the reasons why we don’t use LinkedIn, this is the reason why we left all those Facebook groups and so on and so forth.

Christian:                So how do you manage that? Do you have people in charge of just keeping an eye on the conversation or are you keeping this people that is not reporting to your community as far as valuable content? How do you keep them away?

David:                      It’s not mandatory to participate and I don’t want people to participate because the rule is that 99 % of people in the community won’t participate and one.., or maybe 95% won’t participate, 4% would passively participate and 1% will be like the power users. So the lurkers and the people that don’t participate, the people that kind of hang around, they’re fine like I don’t have a problem. The only time we have a problem is with the destructive community members. We’re the ones that are okay, this is a great audience, now let me try to push them to my agenda without offering value, without helping out and so on and so forth. So okay guys signed up to my tools! and marketers are the worst, so this is the hardest community to run. We are the one, it’s not like it’s a bowling community; it was like oh! you know, marketers that’s what we do is we try to get eyeballs and like they come in and they see a tremendous amount thousands of people like oh! this is perfect! I can get them to use my service; I can get them to use my software. So those are the people, the destructive ones, are the people that ruin the community because they’re not like.., they’re passively participating or not participating, they’re hurting other members by not reading the community feel and you know me hanging in an uncomfortable place for people to hang out.

So those we have like a team of twenty people with all different jobs; well a lot of them are moderators and at 24/7 they moderate and they have the right to ban as they please. So they could come in and they could say “hey! you know this person has been warned twice!”, they fill out a form and then the moderator who did that bans them; that happened a few hundred times already. Unfortunately like we used to do like three, four warnings and then we are like – hey!, this people are not getting in and let’s just kick them out! And we also have like a really strict code of conduct, like we don’t you know, racism, sexism, lashing certain communities, like certain maybe cities or countries like oh! Don’t send the work there, this place sucks; like just don’t try to make anyone feel bad, like we’re all trying to have a good time, we’re all going to try to get business, we’re all going to try to learn.

Christian:                I actually sign up, so hopefully I get accepted in there, I have a marketing background actually.

David:                      You could have just emailed directly, we’re actually really backed up at the moment, so you can just shoot me an email and I’ll get past the line.

Christian:                Sounds good and okay. So looking back in time, I mean when you first started this adventure, you know the online geniuses community, how were the first six months? Really hard, were they not hard? You know, what kind of struggles did you have at the beginning?

David:                      So the first struggle was – we were on one platform and I made the decision from moving to Skype to slack. So we had an extremely active community on Skype which is a platform that I know people are consistently using, whether or not they’re using our community there on Skype especially in our field right where outsourcing work, we’re partnering with other areas like Skype is one of the best solution. So slack as a software that not that many people heard about that time, now everyone has heard of it, but Slack was really annoying; it was another app that I download. So I made an announcement that we were moving over to slack and I didn’t do that declaration properly right. So like I started messaging like a week we are going to be moving to slack. I started PA like DMing the power users, hey! we’re moving to slack and then we moved. So basically we opened up our slack and now there’s a hundred people on Slack, three hundred in Skype, everyone’s confused and all the communities died. So we were like (09:15) to get a hundred people to sign up to slack, I had to go back to the drawing board and say like hey! now both and I was like it’s done like this.

That was a good experiment but I think I potentially just learned something that was really powerful. So I basically said okay now, I’m going to start marketing it as a marketing community per slack. So I started marketing it you know, through other channels like Reddit and Quora and so on and we started getting a new influx of people that haven’t even heard about the Skype group, they were kind of trickling in and then we had all these new members and slowly, I think I got up to like 500 members on slack and engagement picked up and we were sending like a few thousand messages a week. I felt a little bit more comfortable and then from there the slack communities became a thing. It was easy for us to get new users and then we started getting a lot of guts you know, to do AMEs and events and then so then I was like okay, now we’re back to having a community. So it was.., listen, there’s a lot of times I just wanted to throw in the towel and then you know, okay this is not working, I messed it up; it’s not working, like it wasn’t making any money it; was even like you looked at it with a microscope it was losing me money because of all the time and resources I was putting into it and a lot of favors I had to call in to get like some guys and to help out. I was making money elsewhere but I just really wanted to do this, so I kept on like you know, try like spend a lot of time whether it’s like before I went to sleep or in the shower or like Uber to work thinking of like okay, like how can I do this? Like how could we actually make this work?

Christian:                Very cool, I like that, I like that a lot. When you say you were making money aside from this venture, well did you have a job or do you have another business running, what were you doing back then?


David:                      So I was doing a lot of consulting, I also had some tools that I made to help marketers. I was making money, I have like.., I was working on a lot of commissions, making introductions to people that needed a product to be vetting the vendors seeing if it was a fair… So I had that.., it’s always been like a good you know, revenue driver for myself. The community was like a secondary because it wasn’t like they pay my rent you know.

Christian:                Right. So you were surviving, you were good with that. Of course it’s hard at the beginning, the first few months is pretty hard to you know, you’re putting all your resources and all your energy and you’re not seeing any income yet; so what kept you moving? what motivated you to keep on going and believe that you can do it?

David:                      I never used the money as a motivation for the community, the main motivation was like some people get really hyped up when they have like a Paypal Email, so it’s like oh! you’ve been paid like $5000, $10000! I’m like that’s a good sign. I got really excited when somebody was like wow! because of online geniuses I just got hired at my first job that pay me $120000 a year; or like wow! I just found this vendor and he was creating online geniuses or you know, this is a great article that just saved me hundreds of hours of work, problem solving. So I think that’s what’s getting me up; I’m like wow! this is great; it’s actually really helping people which is like in the core of my body is like hey! how could I continuously help the people?

Christian:                Right. All these people that you’re helping throughout you know, through your community and stuff; how are they important right now to the business? I mean is there any way..? How are the company generated revenue? Do you guys have like conferences or any additional beyond the community side of this business?

David:                      We do work with numerous companies on sponsorships and we do it through events. Like we have an event on the 27th in New York City with Gilt and WebMD, it’s about an email marketing focused event. Somebody from Send Pulse is going to be there. It’s going to be moderated by Roy who is like the VP of sales at Send Pulse, I don’t know if you know them, they do like ARiP email marketing; it’s like pretty interesting. So we work with companies because we have the audience and hopefully it’s a cafe where everyone can benefit from that.


Christian:                Very cool, I like that. So was it easy for you, I mean did you ever stop doing the other things that you were doing before online geniuses? the software, the application, the affiliate products; did you ever stop doing that or you’re still doing that?

David:                      So like the things that I don’t have to do any work with it, I’m not going to destroy it. So some of them was like I’m not going.., oh yeah! I’m going fully and like I’m going to unplug things that are not like glad we’re on. Obviously, I’m more focused now than ever solely on this just because of the growth that we’ve been having but yeah, I free up some of the bigger projects. I definitely like pull away from…

Christian:                Okay. Was it hard at the beginning you know, at the time to do that you know, okay well, I got to refocus energy and go into online geniuses 100%? Was it hard or what were you thinking back then?

David:                      So are you familiar with the bird in the boat story?

Christian:                I don’t think so.

David:                      Okay, so that’s actually what kept me through the hustles. So like I had a good income but I wasn’t able to just time and emotionally, like I just didn’t have like what it took to really go full force into both areas. So the burnable just basically got public and like let’s save the story but I hope you get the point. There’s a war and a bunch of boats pull up to an island, they get off; they realize that there defensive team, there are more people in them and they’re out gunned, they have better technology, so the people there came to the shore and were like hey! we are going to lose this war! like we just came to their island and we are out everything. So the general said burn the boats, so now you don’t have an option, you have to win; either you win and we go home in their boats; so you loose and you die.

So like that’s the burnables; that’s how you really have to think about it.

You are like.., people realize you have so much, they think that they have so much time like oh! I’ll do it next year next year!, and then you realize how long ago were you in high school and how long ago were you in junior high? Time flies by very fast, so the only way to really hustle is just to make some drastic decisions like burn those boats, and then okay, I’ll figure it out because if I have no choice I’ll figure it out. And I know a lot of people because I meet with a lot of super successful people in numerous industries biz that have done that, just say okay, I have to go of course, I have to quit what I’m doing right now because it’s not possible for me to have my goals while doing this and there’s a lot of things that you have to quit to get to your goals and they are going to make you feel extremely uncomfortable niches.

For example you want to lose weight, you got to cut out some of the food that you’re used to eating every day; If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, you got to not smoke that cigarette that gets you up in the morning. You have to just keep on doing that, and then you will progress into where you want to be.

Christian:                Yea that sounds amazing, that’s actually how I position myself as well. I have always had the tendencies but you know I just decided to quit and figure it out on my own you know, just like your story that you shared – that’s pretty cool.

David:                      You have done a good job, look at this.

Christian:                Yea, you know, I decided to take this hit, and you know I’ve never interviewed anybody before, so it’s definitely stepping out of my comfort zone. But I look forward… You know, it sounds very fun and very exciting you know: I get the opportunity to meet you so that’s pretty cool.

David:                      I really appreciate that, I think you’re really doing a good job.

Christian:                Oh thank you, I appreciate that. You know, looking back for example, I mean I had ups and downs, I bet you had too but there’s always that one moment that you feel like, you know, the world was ending on you and you know was the worst hurdle, you thought it couldn’t get any worse than that. What was that like for you, what was your worst entrepreneurial moment?

David:                      I’ll tell you simply that feeling you think will go away, it never goes away. That’s always in entrepreneurs, they will always feel like that. That’s what people don’t realize our head is serving point. There’s always a point in your life that you are going to feel like everything is the worst, this is the worst that’s ever been.

Christian:                Right.

David:                      You have to look in the eye and the best way to pass that is like “I have been through this before, look where I am now”; keep on moving forward. You don’t realize it… there’s no consistency when you are an entrepreneur. So for example it’s not just money that’s what I am trying to say or “I would not be able to afford this or that”. There are times when everyone is having fun and you are working, there’s time that you work. Entrepreneurs work a tremendous amount of hours for free: when someone works at the grocery store, they would leave at the end of the week and get paid whatever it is. Entrepreneur, you try to close a deal even you, you’re trying to get a really good speaker for your pod cast, you might work 15-20 hours with one person to lock them down with calls and they might decide last minute they don’t want to do it right?

Christian:                Right.

David:                      Nobody paid you for that time. Now look at you again, re-doing this now you have to figure out how to get sponsors; so you’re going to be working a lot of time for free when everyone else is working and getting paid.

Christian:                Yea.

David:                      That’s something you have to look at. A lot of times it would be stressful but as long as you don’t have anything to go back on, you just got to continue.

Christian:                Yea. I mean you’re basically settling yourself for success or you know there’s no other way no plan B, there’s only one way out.

David:                      You have to do that, listen if you have the motivation. Not everyone’s direction of life to do this: a lot of people don’t have what it takes, a lot of people have what it takes but they don’t necessarily want it – they have other focuses in life.

Christian:                Then yea, I mean that was what I was going to say. There’s a lot of… I mean, I can hear it in you having the passion that is driving you: the motivation is not coming through monetary or the funds of the company is coming but because you love what you doing, you’re enjoying it, you do it for fun so now you’re looking at doing this for fun and you are getting paid, that is awesome.

David:                      Yea.

Christian:                Now that we are talking about you, in your case that the passion is driving you, what do you think is causing other people to quit and fail right before. I mean, you heard the story that most people quit before their biggest success and you know there is a reason. Why do you think that they fail and why do you think that they quit before they are given that success?

David:                      I don’t know, I really can’t speak for other people. I know that for me I wanted to quit before a lot of my successes and I would consider the mediocre successes but if one more email could follow up and see what they say and I’m like “should I respond positively?” and like we could work something out. So I don’t know why people… it’s what you can handle. You’re an entrepreneur and what’s your option, what’s your next option? You will die inside if you go work for someone after being an entrepreneur for a certain amount of years unless it’s something you are really passionate about and it’s part of a team and the culture fits: but if you’re an entrepreneur and someone sticks you in a cubicle, you are going to be having a really bad time. When you quit entrepreneurism you’re putting yourself in a bad situation because what are you going to do? Are you going to get yourself a job or you’re going to take off and you’re going to be really hungry or if you didn’t hit any success, you don’t have any savings, I don’t know?

Christian:                That’s one of the biggest things that people don’t realize that it’s hard and, you know, it’s probably one of the hardest things and you will work for free for many hours but, what you get out of it, the feeling the happiness, the freedom -if you want to call it- of doing what you love, there’s no monetary reward; it’s something beyond the money, beyond anything you can think of. Going back to you story a little bit, what would you say would be your greatest success moment as an entrepreneur that you’re very proud of yourself for achieving?

David:                      I don’t think I can answer that yet cause I don’t know; I think I would have to wait for like 2 years and I’d think, “ok, this is it”. Right now I don’t think I have done anything yet to give myself a pat on the back.

Christian:                Yea, you know, you just keep doing it and hopefully, soon, you just look back and see like “hey this was the biggest thing I have ever done”.

David:                      Yea, I hope the biggest thing I have done is not in the past, it’s in the future.

Christian:                Yea I like that. If anybody asks you or, you know, anybody would look into app for you and they would ask you “what is your secret to success?”, what would you answer?

David:                      First of all a lot of it is luck, which a lot of people don’t say but the question is how did they get lucky?

Christian: `             Right.

David:                      For example, if UBER was a year later it wouldn’t have been UBER, it would have been another.. like Lift would have been UBER. So how did they get lucky ended up starting a year earlier or maybe 6 months earlier? The big secret to success is just continuously reading, like if you just read. This is the rule: read like 2 hours a day about what you are interested in being successful. If you can’t stand reading 2 hours a day of what you want to be successful in, then you probably shouldn’t be working in that industry. I believe cause this is what I tell my friends. If you can’t wake up in the morning and the first thing you pick up is like oh I am interested in diamonds and like read the news about diamonds, if that pisses you off then you’re not going to be successful in that industry. It has to be something you are totally hyped about.

I read a lot about marketing, communities, digital, products, start-ups. I just like to read about it everyday and there’s always enough time: if I have enough time to read then you do. Trust me, if I follow you through out the day I have a stopwatch I would find like 3 hours, 4 hours straight that you could have read. And that’s like maybe too much but at least an hour a day, half hour in the morning and half hour at night just to keep up to date. When you keep on reading you will find where your place will be or you will find like an opportunity. Also meeting people, whether it’s digitally, whether it’s in person just continue to meet people in that industry. Again, the same rule if you can’t meet enough people in the industry, you are probably in the wrong industry and it’s not fit for you.

Christian:                Yea that’s for sure. Reading definitely helps every entrepreneur, it teaches you but it also motivates you to hear other people’s point of view, interests and stuffs so I love that. So any favorite book if you want to mention?

David:                      I want to mention like 2 but I am in the middle of reading them so I don’t want to give them shout outs until I fully finish. So probably Adams Grant’s “Give and Take” would probably be like something I would recommend that I actually did finish. Essentially what he talks about is the 3 types of people in this world: the givers, the takers, and the matchers, essentially how the givers would always end up on top. So that’s a really interesting book, so I would recommend that.

Christian:                Cool, alright you know I mean definitely books, hearing the voice of other very successful people really helps you to push beyond what you are doing and keep you going. And as far as other people, is there anybody in your life that is helping you, you know, emotionally and just pushing you to be a better person; maybe a family member or somebody in your life that’s doing that for you?

David:                      Yea definitely. You have to stay in.. I think you have to have that feeling of people having your back.

Christian:                Yea for sure. Who would that be in your life?

David:                      So I have a girlfriend and I think that she has my back. I have a lot of really good friends that I always feel like I can count on and for me like there’s also family which I know some people don’t have any of them but, that’s very important. I think that knowing that people have your back.. I think it’s very settling if you’re about to put yourself in a situation that might be like emotionally, financially, physically hard like being an entrepreneur. I think it is very important to know that if you do, when things get really bad you always have people around like people who aren’t totally related to what you are doing and they are not consistent of whether or not you are successful or not or where you are in life or where you are leaving, it’s just knowing that people are there.

Christian:                Right, very cool. I mean my girlfriend in my case is very important for me as well and I do have a family but they are more into the get a job, get a college degree and go get a job so we had our difficulty there. Yea for sure I mean its always good to have that feeling just like we talked about: you know, sometimes like everyday can be very, very tough emotionally like a rollercoaster up and down so having that one person that’s always going to believe in you and keep pushing you is definitely a good thing to have.

David:                      Yea I think it’s one of the most important things is, knowing that there’s someone there no matter what.

Christian:                Cool I love that. Just changing gear a little bit, giving some advice to other people that might be hearing this and want to hear a bit more about how you have been so successful and all the things you have achieved. What would you give an advice for anybody out there that’s looking to start or struggling right now to grow their business, what would you say to them?

David:                      It’s the matter of the industry cause some industries are big, I don’t know how to grow those types of business. With mine I think it’s just persistence; probably the best thing to do is look at your competitor seeing what your competition is doing and try to do it better than them. You know, there’s a lot of tools out there to figure out what your competitor is doing to be successful: where they are getting their traffics from, what social networks they are killing it on and be like “let me write down my top 5 competitors and what they are doing” and if you are just persistent and pushing out good quality work, you will probably be up to them.

And I think consistency is key: a lot of self-control like “I would put in the late work, I would put in the work during the holidays, I would put in the work when everyone is at the beach”. Just keep on doing it and I think even if you don’t hit, it’s okay you would get back up, you will do something else. If you do hit, even a little bit.. It’s really hard to get something to work a little bit. So if you have something working a little bit, like you have a podcast right, and you have it work a little bit it’s not like you have an idea for a podcast cause you have the mic, you have the computer, you have the recording software, you have the editing software, you have the guests, you have the channel right? You have a little bit working, so just keep on pushing and you will end up working bigger. It’s very hard to get a little like… for every person doing a podcast there’s probably thousands of people thinking I wish I did a podcast and they just need that little push like “oh, okay cool. Now I have the mic and I have…” like you’re already doing it. So like I say, just keep on doing it and it’s okay I am at a guru, I don’t really know what works or what doesn’t. I just know that if you have something working a little bit, just keep on pumping you will realize what other people are doing and you try to emulate, try to create ways that people are going to be feeling it, try to get guests that nobody else has, interesting stories and just keep on hustling keep on doing what you are doing.

Christian:                I love that. I mean, you know, that’s exactly what we are doing here I think persistence is the key for everything. A lot of people quit before they start seeing success because they don’t have the patience or they just thought it was going to be an overnight success like those stories out there which never, you know, they don’t exist, but they want to believe in it and because they didn’t go through that, it’s not possible. I think that persistence is key for everything you do so… I just want to thank you very much David. I had a blast talking to you and going over some of your hassle stories. I love them; I appreciate everything you do for the community. I look forward to sending you an email and hopefully joining the community and seeing what it is about, you know, just get to know more people, keep expanding, getting more people, building more relationships.

David:                      Just keep on doing it: if I can help you in anyway let me know. When I get the email, you’d be in the community and we can chat through there. Thanks for having me. It’s actually funny, this is the first time we spoke that wasn’t through text so you got only success. I really hope that you keep on doing what you’re doing, you’re motivated and if I can help you in anyway let me know.

Christian:                Thank you very much, you are very passionate. I wish you the best of success as well: hopefully we stay in touch, we keep chatting in there and you know.. Grateful to have you here and for this opportunity man.

David:                      Sounds good to me, I am looking forward.

Christian:                Sounds good we’ll talk to you soon. So there you have it, David Markbeach from, a very successful slack community for online entrepreneurs. You’ve seen his story, you have seen the passion that’s driving him: I want you to take all this and go and apply it to your business and keep pushing. I know you can do it and I believe in you and I hope you get connected with David on today’s episode and you apply the same passion that he is applying in his business towards yours as well so that you can achieve that level of success you have always dreamed of. Just like David said, that uncertainty that entrepreneurs feel (I mean we all feel it) don’t let that stop you; don’t let fear stop you and I truly want to thank you for taking your time to watch and listen to our show today to episode 1 and I hope you join us on the next episode as we would have an amazing hustler story to share with you. Okay hustlers, I will talk to you soon.


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