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EFP 68: 6 Business Takeaways From Our SEAsia Trip And DCBKK

Justin Cooke October 31, 2013

We are BACK, baby!

After a long 5-week trip through SEAsia, Joe and I are finally back in Davao City and sat down to discuss some of the takeaways from our trip. We were able to sit down for coffee beers with many of you and came away with some amazing experiences and connections.

6 Important Business Takeaways

We also had a chance to attend the Dynamite Circle meetup in Bangkok and were on a panel discussing podcasting with our friends (Left To Right) Dan Andrews, Terry Lin, Chris Ducker, James Schramko (credit for photo!), and Tim Conley.

We wanted to share some of the learning experiences and takeaways from our trip with you in this episode with the hope that it will help you as you continue to grow your business.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Perils of working on the road
  • How our peers inspire us (and how we can use that inspiration)
  • Masterminds: Extension of corporate meetings and bringing the mastermind mentality to the boardroom
  • Kick-Ass communities
  • Building a business around your principles


Here are a few pictures from our travels…you can see more on our Facebook page!

So, what did you like about this episode? Who would you like to see us interview and what should we ask them as a part of our Empire Builder series? Let us know on Twitter or leave us a comment – we’d love to hear from you!


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Speaker 1:                           Welcome to the Empire Flippers Podcast. Are you sick and tired of gurus who have plenty of ideas, but are short on substance? Worried that the ebook you bought for $17.95 won’t bring you the personal and financial freedom you long for? Hey, you’re not alone. Join thousands of others in their pursuit of huge profits, without the bullshit. Straight from your hosts, Justin and Joe from Empire Flippers.

Justin Cooke:                     Welcome to Episode 68 of the Empire Flippers podcast. I’m your host, Justin Cooke, and I’m here with my biz partner extraordinaire, Joe Magnotti. What is going on brother?

Joe Magnotti:                    We are back in action, baby.

Justin Cooke:                     Back in action. Back from a very long trip. We’ve got some great takeaways we’re going to discuss. Actually this episode is all about the takeaways and actual bits of information we got from the Dynamite Circle meetup in Bangkok. Before we do that though, we are going to do some updates, news and info, buddy.

Joe Magnotti:                    Hit me up man.

Justin Cooke:                     First thing we’ve got is three new five star reviews, pretty fired up about that. Nick [Lopper 00:01:00] says, “One of my favorites. Justin and Joe are constistantly on point and entertaining, makes for great company on a long drive.” We’ve got RhinoSuccess, says, “Great episode, for Episode 67. I see all the time, ideas have no value. What adds value is taking action.” We’ve also got Matt Domny with another five star, “You won’t need to skip any. With my typical podcast subscriptions, I listen to podcasts that are relevant, but I can’t help but listen to every episode because Justin and Joe are always on point delivering excellent information”.

                                                You know what we’ve been hearing a lot buddy is like people that don’t even do niche sites are listening to the Empire Brothers podcast, which fires me up because we can’t sit here and talk about SCO for niche sides all day or content strategies, that’d be pretty lame.

Joe Magnotti:                    No we can’t. So, I think that it’s great that when we expanded the branch Empire Flippers we’ve also expanded our audience and we can kind of speak about more general terms and be more interesting.

Justin Cooke:                     And, talking about our business in more general terms and kind of what we’re doing to develop new profit streams and that kind of thing, which I think is fantastic. Another update we’ve got is our new apprentice Vincent Nguyen is coming out here next week, buddy. So we’re gonna have a new edition to the Empire Flippers team.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, by the time people are probably listening to this he’ll be on the plane doing his long travel. How long is it gonna take him to get here?

Justin Cooke:                     Oh God dude. It’s not that bad because he’s flying LAX to Manila, and then Manila to the house so it’s not the whole like three leg journey through you know through Honk Konk.

Joe Magnotti:                    They’re not sending him through Japan.

Justin Cooke:                     No the cheap ass flyer where he’s got like a ten hour layover in Seoul, no nothing crazy like that. So he’ll be coming straight here. He did have some last minute questions. I was still gone on vacation and he was asking me, “Hey man, I’m leaving soon buddy, what’s the deal, can we talk, can we make sure I’ve got everything figured out as far as what I need to bring?” So I ended up having a chat with him a couple days ago, and I think he’s ready to roll out.

                                                Next thing we want to mention, we’ve got some new sites for sale on the marketplace that are in the $3,000 to $10,000 dollar range, so if you’re looking for that under $10,000 range, we do have a few sites for sale right now. And we just recently sold our largest featured site listing so far. We actually sold that yesterday. So I thought it’d be exciting.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I sold it to a customer on Skype. She’s very excited about getting the site and the deal is done so happy about handing that over. And if you guys have any questions about the sites we have for sale, feel free to reach out.

Justin Cooke:                     Other thing I wanted to mention, in Bangkok, I got a chance to hang out a bit with Tung Tran over at I love this guy’s story, it’s so awesome. We were chatting a bit and we were talking about meeting up in Bangkok. He actually came out, so first off he’s a 19 year old dude, lives in Vietnam in Hanoi, never been off site of Vietnam before and then he’s in Bangkok meeting a bunch of entrepreneurs, getting ideas, sharing his information. He’s a really soft spoken, kind of shy but awesome guy. I think it’s fantastic, this 19 year old Vietnamese guy has all these 40 plus year old American guys, maybe six figure guys, wanting to figure out how to build niche sites and how to do what he does and it’s just so inspiring to see him, to meet him and to be able to hangout and I was really impressed with him, so I wanted to give him a shout-out.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah I sat next to him at one of the speakers, I forget which one, but we talked a little bit, yeah, really nice kid.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, so last thing we’re gonna mention is this is kind of like leading into the heart of this week’s episode, but we’re gonna talk about our trip. So, I left, I went over to Ho Chi Minh, I was in Cambodia for about a week. I checked out Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Went back to Ho Chi Minh, was in Bangkok, we went to Bucket to hang out there for a week. So all along the way I got to meet a bunch of listeners, Empire Flippers listeners, other entrepreneurs doing the travel/work thing. It was really interesting to get some outside perspectives. We’re gonna talk about some of the lessons we learned both on our trip and also in Bangkok while we were there. And Joe’s been doing a lot of traveling as well.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I’m not as crazy as you, but I did Manila, then Bangkok, then Bucket, then back to Bangkok, then back to Manila, then finally back to Davao on Sunday night. So yeah it’s been quite a travel lag for me as well.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah we’ve been a little off the radar a bit. Apologies for that, but we are back in business we are ready to rock and roll and we wanted to share with you a few of the insights, the six insights actually that we learned as business takeaways from our trip to Bangkok. So let’s get right into it.

Speaker 1:                           This is the Empire Flippers podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     Alright buddy so our first take-away is regarding business on the road and one thing that we both found is that it’s a lot easier to maintain your business then to actually grow your business while you’re doing all this travel thing.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah I think the big thing to remember about travel is travel is expensive. And when I say travel is expensive, I don’t just mean money wise, I mean time wise. Whenever you get to a new place, you have to find out where the supermarket is, where to get a haircut, where the hotel is. All this kind of stuff takes time. And then plus there are lots of distractions as well, right?

Justin Cooke:                     You’re so right, the silly things, right. So like, oops I left my deodorant at the last hotel, so I need to go find a place to get deodorant, where do I go? That turns into like an hour and a half of wasted time looking for deodorant.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah so it becomes very expensive in terms of your time that way. And not only that, for me, and I think for most people, you, listen, at a stand up desk, or a sit up desk, but a desk, a quiet room and the ability to have your own workspace is a lot more efficient than having a coffee shop or a bed or something where you’re uncomfortable. I mean you’re just not as productive in those types of formats.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, we found, I mean we have a team of people that are obviously handling our customer service requests and taking on new product orders, that kind of thing. So we’re able to kind of maintain, they’re able to do their work while we’re gone. But really growing or driving the business forward just doesn’t seem to be as much of a reality. And you have competing interests, right? Because while you’re traveling, you do want to go see things, you want to spend time hanging out with these other entrepreneurs that you’re meeting up with and not constantly on your phone or checking e-mail or putting fires out. You don’t wanna do that, so it always feels like you’re competing for time. The tourist-y kind of stuff, and meeting other people on the way, and then handling your business. And those three are always competing for your time.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, agree. And then, you know, people are gonna say well what about a co-working space, I’ve heard there’s a lot of those and you can do it. Let me tell you my co-working experience, my co-working space experience. Me and Chris Tucker were looking for Hubba, which is a really nice co-working place in Bangkok.

Justin Cooke:                     Which they offered I think free time or something in their co-working space while we were there.

Joe Magnotti:                    Right, I really appreciate that. So before I was leaving, I was leaving Bangkok, I was coming back to Manila and we stopped in, in to Hubba. Well it took us in Bangkok traffic, it took us more than an hour to get from the hotel to Hubba and then we had to find a place to have lunch because it was around lunch time so by the time I got settled to get to work it was like a two to three hour kind of trip. And really, that’s not really gonna work very well if you wanna just get to work and be productive. So, I think co-working spaces have some potential but unless you are living close to them and really have it down to a schedule, if you’re just a traveler looking to get there, it’s going to be tough.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, we talked about this episode quite a bit in our episode with Cody McKibben where he talked about long travel, or slow travel, that kind of thing. So I’ll put a link to that in the shout-outs if you wanna hear more about it.

                                                Our second point, and this is a big one I think, is that we found that inspiration from your peers is important. So all along the way we were meeting with other entrepreneurs, people that have big businesses, that are just starting out, that are established. And hearing these different insights and the way they approach their business was really interesting. And their thoughts on what we’re kind of doing as well. And I think being able to share kind of like our thoughts with them will help them grow their business and really kind of expand what we have today.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah I think it’s so inspirational to hear the stories from both those that are a little bit behind you and those that are in front of you. So meeting and networking with all these people was so helpful to me as just an entrepreneur and making sure that I’m pushing my business to the next level. I’m saying, you know what I’m missing out I can’t wait to get back to work kind of thing. And that’s helpful, because, you don’t wanna be, and we say this all the time, you don’t want to be that entrepreneur on an island, right, where you don’t connect with anyone else because then you don’t have any yardstick to see where you’re at. It’s nice to know that you’re ahead of some people but still behind some others because there’s some goal level that you have to set there.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah I mean if there are other entrepreneurs that are in your space or even outside of your space but they’re local and you can hook up with them via meet up or whatever, I really recommend doing it. It’s interesting to hear their strategies and they’re gonna have a different approach and take on business that you might get some inspiration from or actually be able to help out your business.

                                                Our third point is that masterminds are helpful. Joe and I have been a part of masterminds obviously here in the Philippines we’ve got a Philippines mastermind going on. We’ve also done some phone masterminds that we’ve been on. And we did a mastermind while we were in Bangkok with some other entrepreneurs that we never met before. So we got to hear a bit about their story and be able to help each other out. I’ll let you make the next point.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah so I mean just the mastermind right before DCBKK was I thought the best thing about the conference. I really, really loved it. And I think the reason why you and I are probably so comfortable in masterminds is because really masterminds are extensions of corporate meetings, right? Back when you were working your office job and you ran a department, you had to go to these inner department meetings and you had to give an update on your failures and success as a department leader. And that’s basically what a mastermind is except you’re talking about your whole business instead of your department. So you take that and now you put it in a comfortable situation where you’ve done that with many other entrepreneurs and wow it’s just so much better. It’s fun.

Justin Cooke:                     One thing I think would be interesting for any of you working in a corporate job where you do run a department or you’re part of a department, is having these meetups with other departments and turning it more into a mastermind, might actually be an interesting and good idea for your corporation and something you want to explore.

                                                Talking about masterminds a bit, one of the things I love about it, especially at a conference, is I’m not great in a group of 200 people. I get a little uncomfortable and just a little freaked out with so many different people and I don’t know it just feels odd to me. I’m not that social. But in a smaller group setting, eight people, ten people, I think that’s fantastic because it’s a more intimate experience. A closer understanding of each other’s businesses. You build closer connections I think that are valuable beyond the conference.

Joe Magnotti:                    Well just the roar of 200 people talking at some of these parties.

Justin Cooke:                     Oh my God. Yeah. Well I gotta go outside, I’m drinking my beer, let me go outside a little bit and hangout with like a smaller group and chill.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, so I loved that about the masterminds. We broke up into groups of eight and we really were able to go through stuff and build some actionable items for these people to build their business on.

Justin Cooke:                     Well, the thing with masterminds too is that it’s not a silver bullet, you’re not gonna get anything magically done. There’s no actual work being done. So you have to take whatever you get out of mastermind and apply it after the fact. So, after you do the mastermind, you’re gonna have to go and do the hard work. So it’s good to take notes and actually provide updates both to other people that were in the mastermind and for yourself so you can look back and say okay I got these bits of info out of it. I was able to apply it to my business through A, B, and C.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah I love the follow up piece because, look, if it’s a one time mastermind like this mastermind was for DCBKK.

Justin Cooke:                     Which it doesn’t have to be necessarily, I’m sure some will continue on, but yeah if it is a one time for you.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah and if it is a one time thing it’s definitely great to follow up with your mastermind via email and say look, here’s what I’ve done, what do you guys think the next steps are? And I think, otherwise you’re just not maximizing your value there.

Justin Cooke:                     I would also say too that if you have a larger business, it’s probably better to come with one specific problem because you might be able to handle that one specific issue or something that, some good group thing might help out with where like new ideas or approaches that would probably be helpful. It’s a bit difficult if you come with major overriding business changes or something, that might be a bit more difficult.

                                                I think for people that are brand new, you may not get a clear answer on the direction you need to head, but it’ll definitely point you in the direction and then you can go off and take the first couple of steps.

Joe Magnotti:                    And don’t be afraid of getting beat up a little bit because it’s gonna happen.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, a good mastermind will, right? You’re gonna beat each other up a little bit and be a little aggressive in your approach. And maybe, you’re not right in your criticisms but it brings out other ideas that wouldn’t have come out otherwise and I think that’s an important part of masterminds.

                                                Our fourth point is memberships and communities are F’ing awesome, right dude? I mean ridiculous. So getting like-minded people together. I joked about this on Twitter, but it’s like kind of all the benefits of a cult without the downside. It’s crazy because we’re in Bangkok and everyone’s kind of speaking the same language, right, and we’re all kind of like dorking out on some of the same interests. We all have similar interests as far as businesses go. So it was pretty cool to be around that many other people that feel similarly.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I mean you just look at how powerful these memberships and communities are. We had a sub event of the e-commerce fuel guys at the DCBKK. I mean I wasn’t able to attend the event because it was the same night as the speaker center, but that’s amazing to me that there’s enough people in their community to make a sub-community. Which is really cool and you should check out, if you are in e-commerce space you should check out e-commerce fuel forum because it’s really cool.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, other people have done that like Pat Flynn did that at new midi expo he had the smart passive income group, went to dinner, he bought a bunch of people dinner. A lot of those happen like these other side groups end up springing out of memberships and communities. And one of the benefits of that is that you’re compounding value, so you’ve now got all these other small groups and communities that are branching off of the main community, and it’s just awesome to see and be a part of honestly. So yeah I’m bullish on memberships and communities right now. I know there are a lot of other memberships and communities starting and I’m looking to be a part of a lot of them, so it’s pretty cool.

                                                Fifth point I wanted to mention is that podcasts are critical for online brand development.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah you’re pretty bullish about podcasts, as well.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, yeah we were hammering that home at this event talking about how important podcasts are, and it’s true man. You mentioned this, Joe, before we got on the show, but most of the speakers or presenters either have a podcast that they run regularly, or they’re actively featured on a bunch of different podcasts on a regular basis, and there’s something to that.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I think if you are in the online space or looking to get in the online space and you don’t have a podcast, you need to start one now. Get a few episodes in the tank. Get some recorded, get over the technical limitations, over the thing about hearing your own voice and all these little things you get over starting a podcast. It’s so much easier to do a podcast then to do blog posts. And it gives you that much more authority in the space and it really speaks to your crowd. So we were talking a little bit about Damian before the show, how it’s easier to digest this type of content than it is just blog posts. You can do it in the car, you can do it in the gym. It’s great for your brand.

Justin Cooke:                     We talked about this on the podcast panel and I’ll just hammer it home here but, one of the reasons that you and I love podcasts is we don’t really like sales all that much. We’re not hardcore sales guys, we don’t like that. And having a podcast, the people we do business with that are introduced through us through the podcast know our business. They know how we operate, they know our principles, they know where we’re coming from. And it’s so much easier to business with someone who knows your principles, right. And I think that’s one of the real values of having the podcast is that it’s not a hard sell. They come to you and you say look here’s the deal here’s what we offer and they either like it and they get it or they don’t. But you’re not hard selling it’s pull marketing versus push marketing.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, thanks to Danny again for having us again on the podcast panel, it was really awesome. But it really just drove home how important it is to have one of these things going. Because once you start to get in to this kind of fluid environment of talking back and forth it just makes it that much easier to talk to your brand.

Justin Cooke:                     So our sixth and final point that we want to talk about today is something that you and I kind of came to some conclusions on I think over the weekend. And it’s just the fact that there is no set path to success. There are plenty of ways to skin a cat, right? So I’ve seen threads going back and forth on whether you should be transparent in your business or you should not be transparent, you know different approaches to business, you know. Do you need to monetize every visitor as much as you can, get as much profit out of them, or not would be the [inaudible 00:18:02] approach where it’s a ton of traffic and it isn’t as highly monetized. The monetized would be that James [inaudible 00:18:08] approach where he is highly monetized on his visitors and his traffic.

                                                And I don’t know, I mean there are multiple ways to do it and there’s not necessarily a right way.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah I love this because that’s one of the big takeaways I got from this conference was that there are so many people at different levels of their business and are very happy with where they’re at. They don’t want to expand. Obviously they don’t want to contract and they don’t want to change course. They’re very happy with where their business is at, and they want to keep that business the way it is.

Justin Cooke:                     Our buddy Mark Brenwall right with the buying, building, selling sites, he’s happy with that. We’re like look man, you could do this and you could expand it this way, he’s like yeah no I’m not really interested I don’t want to do that. That’s not a part or a piece of his business as he sees it. But that’s okay and what’s interesting is like I’m putting my own beliefs on what he should do with his business on him and it makes me realize well maybe that’s not right for him, right?

                                                I think what’s critical for me out of this is that you can have a principle based business that works. What I mean by that is you can have principles about the way you want to operate, about how you value information. How you treat your customers. And you don’t have to break from those. You can run a very successful business by maintaining your principles and the way you want to operate your business.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I think as long as you stick to those principles, you can change those principles but if you change them you have to stick to the new ones.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah and be clear about why you’re making the change. I’m not sure I’m explaining this as well as I’d like but the point, I think what I’m saying is, you prefer transparency and you think, oh my God but that’s not the best way the way to make the most amount of money. The people I know that are really successful are not fully transparent about their business. It doesn’t matter, you can do it the way you want to do it and the way you want to run your business. The way that feels right to you.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah especially for an online business. It doesn’t have to be any other persons or any other method out there. There’s no set path. I think that that’s the biggest takeaway that you could bring from this podcast would be do it your own way and if you’re successful in your own way, I think you’re gonna be happier with that.

Justin Cooke:                     Do it the way that feels right to you, the high road, right? Take the high road and run your business that way. I was reading a thread a while back, someone was writing about do you have to be a little evil in your business, right? You have to define evil of course, but if by being evil you’re saying going against your principles or against your business principles to do that, I don’t think that’s true at all. I don’t think you have to do that, and I’m finding more and more that the most successful people build their business through their principles and they don’t waver from those. I thought that was a really interesting takeaway for us. I hope that’s valuable for you in your business. We’ll expand on that probably in another episode, but for now let’s get in to our tips, tricks, and our plans for the future.

Speaker 1:                           You’re listening to the Empire Flippers podcast with Justin and Joe.

Justin Cooke:                     Alright Joe, buddy so you’ve got our first tip for us, what is it?

Joe Magnotti:                    Well there’s been a good DC thread going around about watches. It’s kind of an off topic. One of the guys came in and he’s running a Kickstarter campaign on a new type of watch. You see, most watches kind of look the same because they use the same materials, whether that be a leather strap with a metal case or a metal strap with a metal case. They all look pretty much the same because all the materials are the same. They’ve gone out and they’re using stone to make their watches. It’s pretty interesting and it makes for some pretty unique looking watches. The company’s name is Lexell, L-E-X-E-L-L, and they’re having a Kickstarter campaign going on right now.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s funded.

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah. It’s fully funded, it’s still got 30 days more to go. You should check it out and we’ll put a link in the show notes. I really like what they’re putting out there. I’m not so sure about stone watches, but it’s very interesting.

Justin Cooke:                     I like the idea, it’s unique. I was looking at the watches, they look, it’s kind of sexy many I kind of dig it. You know I’ve always liked watches, I’ve just never worn them. I always have a problem, I get a rash on the inside of my wrist. Joe’s looking at me, he’s laughing, “what are you talking about dude.” I get like this rash, it sucks. But it’s a great jewelry piece for men.

                                                I know a lot of guys that do the whole, they buy themselves a watch when they hit certain milestones and I kind of like that idea so I don’t know I’m thinking about buying a watch buddy, should it be a stone faced watch?

Joe Magnotti:                    Yeah, I think check it out and it’s very reasonably priced, under $200 bucks you can get a watch, so that’s nice.

Justin Cooke:                     I’ll have to check it out man. Next point I want to talk about is our Empire building series. Basically it’s a series of interviews with people that are looking to build online Empires. We’ve started it but we haven’t followed up on it. We will be over the next couple of weeks.

                                                So, I’d like to ask you, dear listener, who should we have on? Who is building an empire online that you’d really like to hear us interview? And what kind of questions would you like us to ask them?

Joe Magnotti:                    And leave us a message on Speakpipe so we can put you on the show.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, we’d love to hear your questions, we’ll make sure to ask those questions then when we interview them. And, we’ll get it done.

                                                That’s it for episode 68 of the Empire Flippers podcast. Thanks for being with us. Make sure to check us out on Twitter @empireflippers and we’ll see you next week.

Joe Magnotti:                    Bye, bye everybody.

Speaker 1:                           You’ve been listening to the Empire Flippers podcast, with Justin and Joe. Be sure to hit up for more. That’s Thanks for listening.



  • Hey

    6 out of 7 of those guys do my favorite podcast !!!

    Looks like you all had a blast

    And yes if you have principles stick to them until somebody can show you they are bad for other people. After all George W Bush has principles !!

  • Hi guys .

    It was pleasure to finally meet you in DCBKK . You rocked the podcasting panel .
    For me masterminds have made huge difference . The Friday’s session where I had the privilege to sit on the table with James Schramko or earlier this year I had the honour to attend one of Chris Duckers masterminds . These experiences have shaped the way I look my business and gave an actionable plan I am starting to execute .

    Nice meeting you again ,

    Be healthy and smile !

  • Dan says:

    Great EP guys, I especially loved the part about the “principles” at the end. What’s the point of wealth if you can’t use it to behave (and create organizations) in a way that represent what you want to see more of in the world?

    • A big sticking point for Justin that I have come around on as well. It just makes sense, if you’re going to have principles, you better stick to them.

    • Justin Cooke says:

      Thanks, Dan! I think I’d like to do an entire episode on following your principles in your business. It’s probably not groundbreaking, but what we’ve seen is that you really don’t have to wiggle your way around your principles, “be evil”, etc. In fact, you’re more likely to add problems to your business if you try…

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