Episode 300: Scott Mills Interviews Rob Cairns

Show Summary

Guest Host Scott Mills Interviews Rob Cairns

Show Highlights:

  1. Rob’s community involvement.
  2. Scott and Rob Livestream Toronto BMX.
  3. Two things that matter in Digital Marketing for your business.
  4. Some quick Podcast tips.

Show Notes

Welcome to the SDM show. This is episode 300 and I’m your guest host today, Scott Mills, and I’m very honored to be able to introduce Mr. Robert Cairns today. Robert, are you there?

Hey Scott, how you doing today 300? It’s what a journey you and I have been through in like the last 10 years, haven’t we?

It’s been pretty crazy. I guess this is a bit bit of a surprise for your people a little. Bit of a different start. I’ll just tell you briefly who I am and why Rob and I know each other. Essentially, I’m in the law enforcement world, and I’ve done quite a lot of work with the social media and youth. Engagement and put those two together. Rob Cairns has been in the background helping. With all things WordPress, all things social media, all things relevant. New innovative just been a tremendous assistance to me over my policing career. Since I’ve known him, I think Rob did say it was. Over 10 years. No doubt some of the things that he’s helped me with are the Ontario Police Memorial Foundation. The Canadian Police and Peace Officers Memorial. I think my most favorite thing Rob has helped me with was Toronto BMX. Yeah, so for for a change. I know Robb’s professional life fairly.

Oh yeah.

Fairly well and, uh, I I want to try and highlight some of that for for some of the listeners here today. So right off the top Rob you. You’ve got a gig coming up at podcamp in in Toronto. That’s a big deal, and it’s I’m just going to turn it over to you to explain exactly what you’re doing there.

Yeah, so so podcamp’s an interesting conference. It’s in the WordPress space. We have word camps which are like word press conferences and we talk about all things WordPress. This podcast is kind of a digital new media conference at PODCAMP. It takes place at the Ted Rogers School of Business at the Metropolitan University, formerly known as Ryerson. It’s the weekend of the 26th and 27th, the 25th of Friday is a social and then Saturday and Sundays talks and getting a chance to network with people. And I’ve submitted a talk call entitled How to Build a podcast on the budget. So what that entails is how do you take your podcast without spending you know $600.00 on equipment because you don’t need a $600.00 mic to get started. And how can somebody build this pot thing called a podcast? Without spending lots of money to start, so we’re going to sit down with. Pull and show them how to build that on a budget. Everything from what equipment they can buy and not break the bank to some software. They can use both free and otherwise low cost and then how they can promote that and even how to get guests without spending all the money to fund.

I think that is a great topic. Rob and myself and and and a Co colleague of mine named Josh Jutras. We started up a podcast about a year and a half ago, right from Ground Zero. Didn’t know what we were doing. And I got to say this for the listeners out there. I reached out to some highfalutin type podcasting. You know, will come and you know, comb your hair and make you look pretty and all this type of stuff. And I I basically. Said to. My big question after the whole pitch that they gave me and wanted to charge thousands and thousands of dollars for their service. I said I think the biggest thing I’m looking at is how do I record online? What’s the best way to record? And I was told. Well, that’s copyrighted by us, and you’re going to have to. Pay for it and that. Pretty much ended the conversation for me. Rob is the type of guy I’m sure many of you know that if you call him up and you say. What are the best ways to record online? So I’m actually going to ask him that question because he’ll tell you and he’s not going to. Send you a bill. So he just wants you to be successful. You know he, he does make money off of of what he does, but he’s about helping people first and foremost. So Rob, tell everybody how we’re actually recording this thing today.

I actually prefer a service called zencastr. I’ve played with a number of services and I know a number of people in the podcast space and everybody has their likes and dislikes. One of the things I like with Zen Caster is it records the audios on separate tracks. So for those who don’t know in audio, when you lay down music instruments in a in a musical, sometimes they’ll record the cello first and the violin, and then they’ll mix them all together. The podcast is no different. Scott’s recording and my recording are on separate tracks, so if I have an issue with one of the tracks I can play with them before I merge them back together. So that’s why I like sand caster. And I shout out to those guys over there because they do a super job and I love the product and it just makes my life easy. So yeah.

Rob, if you’re editing, are you editing right in zencastr or what are? You doing with that?

If I’m editing so I do what’s called record the tape, and for those who don’t know, record the tape generally means I don’t do any hard edits usually, so it means whatever gets said gets into the podcast, unless there’s something going. I do all my editing and all my merging in a software package called Audacity which is open source and free, and it’s got so so much support in the community that. It works really well and I’ve got the package pretty well down so. I can go to Adobe products, but then I have to pay the Adobe license agreement and. I’m just not doing that so.

Well, I must say that we’ve been using audacity for editing as well, and it’s it is very effective once you’re on to it. I absolutely hate editing, but that’s just me. Personally, the audacity seems to work fairly well. I gotta ask your question on this because. And make listeners out there. Feel free to tell me, can you hear my water heater rob?

I can.

You cannot hear my water here, so just to give you a visual, I’m in my man cave in my basement. And I got kids upstairs and the water heater just kicked on, which is right beside my desk. I’m just recording with us. Actually have one of those. Jason, what is that Mike called? The blue mic you know it’s it’s 100.

Getting Yep.

Yeah, it’s a blue Yeti. And I’ve got it on kind of just regular settings and I actually think it’s on 360 settings. I didn’t even. Check so I guess the point I’m trying to make right here is if this Zen caster recording you can’t hear my water tank right now, that’s a good thing. And the reason I’m saying that is is we’ve been actually using. Clean feet and it’s it’s worked out fairly decently for us, so you can actually tweak the audio and stuff like that. Easy to record. Lots of good things about it. But it kicks us out all the time and I don’t know why. So if anybody out there knows why.


Please let me know because I do like losing clean feed. I am checking out this Zen caster based on robs recommendation. But what do you think? What’s your thoughts on clean feed? Have you used it, Rob?

I haven’t that’s one I haven’t played with. I’m not a big fan of jumping around tools I’ve talked about that in my agency business. I’ve talked about that I’m I’m one of these guys. When I find something that works for me, I just lock it down and get to know the product. And learn how to use it better. So for me, I’m not really into jumping around unless I have a reason or an issue so.

I’m I’m kind of with you there. Another another thing that we have. Variance and this might be new to some of the audience. When I was playing around with Zencastr. As well as clean feed last week one of our guests had a brand new iPhone. And we recorded several times before with people on iPhone and. Uh, lots of times you know, using air pods? Sometimes air pods give us an issue, but we we overcome them. It basically said not supported at all. Using clean feed went into zencastr or not supported at all. So just a tip for you there if you’re. Are coming on. Using a brand new iPhone, you might want to take that into consideration. We ended up having to postpone that particular episode recording last week, so.

I actually don’t. I actually don’t let my my guests use an iPhone to join my as a rule. I generally require a mic and they say if you got to join off the phone, we’ll reschedule because the Audio’s not as clean so I.

Have you heard of that happen in Rome?

I much prefer and by the way, your water. Heater just kicked in.

Oh, you’re hearing it now, are you?

I just did. Yeah, that’s OK. That’s all.

How did it kick? In just now, because it’s been on ever since we started talking.

I didn’t know, I heard it rumble so it’s all good.

Well, let’s do a little check on this. Let’s just keep it rolling. I could go over and unplug it. Let’s keep it rolling. We’ll just leave that one on the self. I want to know from the the listeners out there flip me a quick e-mail. Scott Mills 1T at Gmail. Com.scottmils@gmail.com if you send it to the guy with two T’s it goes to some guy in. Arizona that hates. My guts so. One T and let me know if you. Can hear my water here so rob. I want to move on. I want to move on and I I want to. Talk a little bit about. Websites so. I know you offer. Probably the most economical website WordPress services out there for tech support. You’ve taught me a wealth of knowledge, you know. Recently I ended up referring a customer over to you that didn’t have any social media presence. Any website presence and they weren’t. They’re definitely picky customers and and they.

Oh yes.

They were quite happy with your services and when I went and looked at your website that you made and put literally had it out there within a couple of days week Max. It was simple. It was to the fact it was brilliant and that’s the type of thing I think people are looking for. Out there. Rob, can you just give people some advice on if you know what? I don’t have a website and I’m starting something up I don’t. Have any social media? What do you do?

So I always say the coins. The two things you gotta build right off top. If you don’t have anything is a website and a mailing list. And the reason for that is those are the two things you own. You own that space. You don’t own social media. You don’t own Facebook. You don’t own Twitter. And many of us know the rules change on a daily basis. The other thing I always suggest is make your websites to the point and clean and simple the number. One reason people go to the website is how. How do I go? How do I get ahold of you? The number two reason they go to a website is to find information quickly and too many times people make it a little more. Difficult so. I think we need to keep that in mind. The other thing we gotta keep in mind is 50% of all searches are done on a mobile phone or a tablet like a Samsung tablet or an iPad. So when you’re designing your websites, keep that in effect and we’ve proven that people in certain sectors. So things like retail stores. Things like restaurants, the one thing they do is if they go to a website on their mobile phone, they’re probably going to want to call you, so make it easy for them to call you. Put a call button on your website that only shows on mobile so that they can push a button and just call you because that’s what they’re trying to do. To be honest with you.

The conversation is so important. You know you can have any any emails, text, whatever. You’re going back and forth on I. I believe the conversation is so important. I and I believe that’s why podcasts are so popular these days is because it’s conversation you. You get the intonation of people’s voices, you get a feeling for what’s going on. While we’re on that topic, there Rob you said very key points there. Two most important things, website and a mailing list. I want to go to mailing lists here. There seem to be two major ones out there, constant contact and MailChimp. Do you use those?

I’m actually using right now a product called Mailer Lite which is very similar to MailChimp and if you’re into things like automation so if you’re doing what we call funnels in the business or stuff, there’s actually better choices. Things like active campaign. Things like Groundhog, which run with inside WordPress shout out to Adrian, Toby the developer. I think infusion soft is or keep as it’s now called is a little bit more on the complex side for most people, so I wouldn’t go there. But it all depends what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re just sending out a newsletter, constant contact, MailChimp, mail or light work well. If you’re trying to do a little more. Complex, so maybe you want to up your game a little bit and switch products.

Did you say that was called Mailer Light?

That is correct. Yep, MAILERLITEI believe.

How do you? Spell that. Alright, going to check that out. I’ve actually used extensively, constant contact and MailChimp. I find MailChimp to be. Much more expensive, there’s probably a lot more that I could do with MailChimp that I don’t know how to use it yet, so I probably need to take a MailChimp course constant contact.

It is.

Haven’t had too many problems with and we don’t seem to hit the spam box that often with what I’m doing up to. You know eight 9000 people on the mail list and we don’t get too much of a bounce right there, so. I’m just telling you my experience. I’m not really. I’m not endorsing anything here, I’m just we’re just having a conversation here. But that’s where it’s kind of worked out for me. There’s you mentioned something there. Rob’s Groundhog you have mentioned Groundhog to me before. What is Groundhog?

So Groundhog is a CRM, a customer relation manager, and a Mailer that runs right within WordPress so you don’t have to go to an outside. Source to send your mailing list. To build it right within your WordPress dashboard. I’ll tell you a little bit of story about Groundhog Adrian. Toby is the son of Paul, Toby, one of my mentors. And we’re just saying I was out for drinks with Paul last Sunday. Last Saturday, actually in his home, he invited us over, which was wonderful. And we were talking about that and I can remember when Paul owns an agency called training business Pros and they used to have an office on Last Mile in Toronto. So I’d go in and take a course and Adrian would call me over and show me this wonderful project he was working on and they were at one time the number one infusion. Soft reseller. In the country in Canada and Infusionsoft now, called keep has its limitations and Adrian out of frustration, built Groundhog, which is basically the same thing, except it runs with inside the WordPress dashboard.

So just for you know the people out there. They’re kind of like me and it’s like I want this to be simple and easy and I want to abide by all the spam laws and all that type of stuff so. If I put this ground hub plug into my WordPress site and I have something like I want to create a media list for my organization of reporters who will sign up. You can actually make it. Correct me if I’m wrong, Rob, you can actually make it right on WordPress, so the reporter would go in and add their e-mail to it. They would get a little click through on their e-mail saying you know your their permission. To be. Added to the list the lists that go right into WordPress. Then when you go to put out your quote, UN quote press release, or your blog, or whatever it is, as soon as you hit send on that blog. Everybody on that list is going to get a a notification to go and read your blog or your press release, correct?

Yeah, that is. Correct and and remember in Camden the US is very. Or the two ways you can add people to a mailing list is a they opt in, meaning they explicitly asked to be on that list, or B you’ve sold to them. So if a customer, if you bought say from Old Navy, Old Navy has the right to put you on that list. Until you opt out of that list legally because you’ve bought services or goods from them, so those are the two reasons you can opt into. A mailing list.

I didn’t even know that. Learn something new every day, Rob, it’s this is what it’s like. If you got Rob Karens in your back pocket because you learn all these little tips and tricks so huge congratulations on the 300th episode of your podcast.

Thank you.

I haven’t listened every single one, but I’ve definitely listened to the ones that you pointed out to me, and I know that you. Of quite a quite a reach out. There, how many downloads do you have?

The last episode I did last week, I was well over 1000, so for me that’s for an independent podcast. It’s really, really good. I don’t take on outside sponsorship for the podcast right now. The only ad in the podcast is actually for my agency. I have decided not to go that route just because I want editorial control and sometimes outside sponsorship impacts editorial controls. It’s been fun.

1000 downloads and episode with 300 episodes is that is that kind of the norm of the episode or is that was that in popular? Or what’s the deal there?

And it depends on the topic. So couple episodes with the gentleman by the name of Matthias Ventura. He’s the lead Gutenberg lead working for automatic. His episodes usually go through the roof and it it all depends on what the topic is. I alternate so I’ll do an interview and then I’ll do a. A quick five. Minute tip episode and I was going to stop tip tip episodes and several people said to. Me, please don’t. So I do both.

Well, you got a surprise coming your way because when we end this, I’m going to end it in a way that’s. More than tips so I. Keep that one in your back pocket. Very, very interesting that you say this. I would like to kind of switch gears here Rob into oh, you know what I wanted to say was just for comparative purposes. For how many downloads you’re getting there on your podcast, I’m saying let’s say, 1000 downloads per episode 300 episodes. That’s a lot. For comparative I I worked for a fairly large provincial organization. And our podcast gets about 500 per an average of 500. So Rob, you and there’s no ads on ours either. But I got to congratulate you on doing that.

Thank you.

You’re a. You’re a one man show, and obviously what you’re saying is reverberating with people out there. So thank you. So Rob, thank you to the listeners for listening. I want to move move forward just into. I want people to know Rob. What you did? To help me in the Toronto BMX Jam and I wanted to hear it from from your perspective and I want to I want to discuss some of the the challenges that we had on that, but also some of the. Amazing times that we had and so many smiles on kids faces.

I’m I’m smiling right now. I’m smiling right now just thinking about it and I was out on the weekend showing some pictures of our good friend Drew Bezanson, who’s recovering from an accident right now. Many people don’t know Drew. I believe we had a car accident like a year. Ago or two years ago.

He had a serious car crash that he had a stroke.

Yeah, and he’s still recovering and. I was showing off pictures of Drew going and grabbing the overhang at the Better Living Center at the scenic grounds in Toronto and jumping off. In the air from 10 feet. And that’s just empowering. So, kind of where the BMX fell in the play was. You were having problems with the website at the time and you called me and you said would I bill? Would I get involved and build a website, but that that was easy. That was the easy part of it. The fun of it all was going to the jam every year and sitting with you on the top of a 10 foot ramp. Live streaming off a Mac with a webcam in those. And I would tell you, we had the best seats in the House, no question. And I don’t like heights and you meant to get me on top of a 10 foot ramp. So you’re doing well.

Actually, as you described that I could feel those ramps moving as these kids were doing their jumps on, they’re all wood ramps and I can feel us going. I hope that railing we put up there last. So just for background we had two BMX bike parks myself. Being a I was I was a police officer and I was. Partnered for youth engagement with a city of Toronto parks, forestry and recreation. Employee who was quite passionate about youth engagement. Two named Al Crawford and the guy that really made things work was Michael Heaton and Michael Heaton. He was Toronto BMX and probably still is. I I know he’s still out there and and doing his thing. Around there, but Michael was a teacher and he said I he was taught at an alternative school and he said I can’t even get these kids to come to school. So he went in. He had a lifelong passion for BMX bikes. He basically became the BMX guy and all of these kids flocked to him. They learned how to ride bikes. I was in Toronto Crime Stoppers at the time community LED program for anonymous tips to prevent and solve crime and and that we just started posting videos on YouTube. Check them out on Toronto BMX on YouTube. You can see some. Of the stuff. Rob and I did. You might even hear Rob screaming a little bit, because when these guys land beside you when you’re up on that ramp live stream, it’s crazy.

It’s like.

I got to say this, this still bothers me. To one day I have. I have kind of. A A trauma over. It’s when we were live streaming an international event. Toronto BMX Jam BMX riders from the entire world. We had a but we’d actually. Moved forward from from our little perks with our webcam at this point and we actually had these kids with cameras and actually making a more fulsome professional broadcast and the Union at the. Facility we’re at. Shut them down because that was a union. It still bothers me to this. Day, do you remember that Rob?

I I do and. They pulled our Internet connection and we ended up. Saying OK and we rolled the Internet connection off the cell connection that weekend. If you remember and and part of it is the some of these unions. And and you know, I look at people like. Chris ****, who is Ember Mcarthur’s partner in life and he used to be a videographer at City TV and now runs a they jointly run a new media company so he gets it. But some of these people don’t get that you don’t need professional grade. Cameras anymore to do ice streaming. You can get very good cameras and do it yourself at a reasonable cost, and the mixers are cheap. I mean, look what we’re doing with this podcast, you know and podcasting on a budget you can. To do that, there’s a tech journalist by the name of Leo LaPorte who built the Twit network in Petaluma, CA. And you couldn’t have done this 30 years ago and it has changed the whole way. We view advance and the whole way we view live streaming. And yeah, one of the guys that I know very well and he’s coming on the show next week is a gentleman by name of Ross Brandt, Live Stream, Universe and Ross. Talks about it and Ross and I talk all the time and it’s. It’s so easy to do now compared, so even in the web camera game. I mean I’m looking at I have a webcam in my laptop. On top of my laptop I have what’s called a Logitech ultra Breel 4K camera. That 4K camera they give the listener some idea. It’s under 200 bucks. Things have changed, and Audio’s changed and in the days we did it we used to take a Sennheiser mic and throw it by the speaker to pick up the audio. And then we would throw the. We would use a remote and plug it into the audio mixer. Remember those days, right?

Yeah, yeah.

And now it’s totally changed, but it’s all about getting the message out and getting out what you need to get out. And that’s what people got to remember, and it causes the conversation, like when Drew Bezanson used to take the call. You and I would watch the numbers on the YouTube live stream just. Go through the roof.

Oh everybody wanted to see Drew, you know they still do wanna see Drew Drew is out there inspiring the world. Still, you know, the guys, a fighter. He posts videos of of his recovery. You know it just kind of it kind of gets to me a little bit that that he had such a misfortune and but his legacy is out there and he is carrying it on. He is such an inspiration to go go follow him up on social media. There Instagram is where he’s thought most of the time. They’re drew to, say, instant. He’s some Truro NS. And, uh. Just a proud, proud Canadian international champion BMX riders. So that’s what we did on the live streaming and what on the on those live streaming thing you mentioned Ross Brand. I believe he’s a streamer guy, correct?

Yeah, he used to be. He used to do work with streamer. He doesn’t, but he uses stream yard stream yards. A great product that lets. You take your life streams and push them out. So in the old days Scott not used to use a product called OB S Very much so and the problem with OB S is you have to put in all your stream keys. It becomes awful and it’s just a harder job to do. And these new streaming products just do it all for you. It connects and it just makes it easy and. The reason I’m having Ross back on the show is he’s written his third edition of the 100 tips for the year about life streams, so he’s gone out to other life streamers and asked them for tips and he’s compiled this into a book and it’s quite amazing actually, yeah.

Excellently, I’ll give you a quick tip restream. I’ve been using it quite a bit and you can stream onto multiple platforms, not Instagram, by the way, but I’ve actually got it going on Twitter, Facebook. UM LinkedIn? And YouTube simultaneously works pretty good. There’s this feature that came out. I think it must have been a year ago. Don’t quote me on. That, but it’s called restream pairs. Pairs if you’re actually hosting a broadcast, it’s going on to all your social media. You can actually send a code to somebody else that might be interested in broadcasting on their social media. And all you do is put the code into your restream account that’s connected to your social media and say I want to broadcast this. It actually rebroadcasts it directly onto your your social media real estate. And we’ve been using it for recruiting purposes in in the organization I work with large provincial organization and big hiring blitz right now and. It is so simple and it works so effectively and. Like I I learned about it from a guy named Sean Shapiro who’s a Toronto police traffic cop who’s all over this stuff. You got to check. This guy out. He is unbelievable and he he talks about policing and traffic laws and and safety and stuff like that but. He’s a just a dynamic live. Beamer has an amazing setup and and, uh, he said, check out this pairs thing. Scott and I tell you, I’m going to be using it moving forward quite a bit because it’s it’s a great way to actually. Engage your partners and amplify your message and so easy. So there’s a tip for you. Rob, you told me you were doing half an hour. I think we’ve been on here 45 minutes.

Yeah, not quite, but you can keep going.

All right, I’m going to bring this down. Bring this down to a close here. There’s on the pockets we have. Josh and I were Co hosted and we are all about change and we decided that we would ask your 3 wishes for change in the world. Usually we tee up our guests guests and tell them that we’re going to ask them this in advance so they can think about it. Robots had no no warning on this, so I I can say knowing Rob buckle up people Rob 3 wishes for change in our world #1

I think people need to be more open minded and by that I mean accepting other people not going in silos, meaning just accepting the overall picture and look at the big picture, not their individual goals because the world as a whole. Needs a more open view. Right now we’re in a very. Narrow minded view in the world.

That’s a brilliant piece of advice that’s #1 Rob Cairns, SDM show. Wish #2 for change in the world.

Spend the time with the people. That you love and you care about more and more. Life is way too short. I’ve been through a couple bad relationships. I’ve been through a divorce, it’s hard and invest the time in those people and the people around you that you really care about because one day they’re not going to be around. So spend their time with them.

Very good advice, Rob. #3 what is robs #3 top wish for change in the world? Rob Cairns on the SDM show.

Let’s stop all the heat going on out there. I mean we have problems with Russia right now, and the Ukraine we’ve got problems in China. We’ve even got problems in in Canada right now and. You know, everybody hates everybody for some reason and it comes back to the first one a little bit, but let’s just make the world a better place and work with each other and help each other out and just stop hating everything.

I couldn’t agree with you more, Rob I I kind of want to say I want to end on this, but I actually want to. I kind of. Want to end with a smile on your face? And a smile on every single person’s face that there that’s listening to this I kind of cringing even gonna ask this question. Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup this year in hockey?

Not to Toronto mayplace. I’ll tell you that it’s probably gonna be. I don’t know somebody out West I’m not. I’m not sure at this point there’s couple of good teams out there. It won’t be the ways. I hate to say it. Leaf nation. I don’t think your team’s got it. It’s not going to be the senator. Sorry Reggie, Reggie Scott, son, and it’s certainly not going to be my Montreal Canadiens, and it’s certainly not going to be. The Chicago Blackhawks so.

I’m actually glad to hear you humbled about your Montreal Canadians. I thought for sure you would be your standard brain frost Montreal Canadiens fan and say Montreal Canadiens all the way.

They’re rebuilding, that’s just the reality, so you get.

Alright, we’re coming up the baseball season. What do you think of those days?

They’ve made some. Interesting moves in the off season and we’re gonna have a a new stadium to go into. That’s under renovations. Rogers center. They’re in the middle of phase one of. Changing that the outfield dimensions of all chains, the walls are going to go up the it’s just going to be an interesting year.

Well, looking forward to it and Rob. Thank you for all you’ve done in the background. You have put endless hours into helping the community through through my work, my career and you’ve helped a lot of kids and. UM? Yeah, I I’m not sure if I said this before, but I was a police officer for 30 years. I think I did mention it and. To have a community person helping you behind the scenes with all these tech issues, who’s as knowledgeable and progressive as we’re up Karens is is definitely an asset for community safety, so I know you’ve made a difference out there. Rob, I know you continue to make a difference. And it’s I. I’m honored that you asked me to host your 300th SDM podcast. The SDM show podcast. Episode, so thank you very much and. All the best here. I guess we’ll be signing off here from the SDM show 300th Edition, and Rob Cairns is your host. This has been Scott Mills, your guest host for this episode, and please stay safe out there.

Thank you Scott. Have a great day everybody.


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