The Tech Blog Writer Podcast - Inspired Startup Stories & Interviews With Tech Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Innovators & Disruptors

Tech Columnist Neil C. Hughes Interviews Innovative Startups, Tech Leaders, CEO's, Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs. Guests share their stories, experiences and invaluable advice about the latest tech trends affecting multiple industries. As a tech blog writer, I created this podcast to add real human voices to my written articles and bring them to life. My aim was to create a top podcast that unites the global community and connect every tech fan and entrepreneur in the world. A wealth of guests that cover every aspect of the startup scene discussing Venture Capital, Technology Startups, Advice and Strategy, Angel Investors, Bootstrapping, Business Ideas, Co-Founders, and Crowdfunding. We also look at how the digital transformation and technologies such as machine learning, AI, AR, VR, FinTech, Edtech are impacting businesses. Steve Jobs once said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." This show aims to empower those followers to learn from those on a similar journey so they too can create their own path by educating and mentoring.
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 The Tech Blog Writer Podcast


Tech columnist Neil Hughes is the host of the Tech Blog Writer Podcast that is also available on iTunesStitcher, PlayerFM and TuneIn Radio.

I launched this podcast to add real human voices to my written articles and bring them to life. My aim was to create a top podcast that unites the global community and connect every tech fan and entrepreneur in the world.

Steve Jobs once said, "Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." This show aims to empower those followers to learn from those on a similar journey so they too can create their own path by educating and mentoring.

You can also reach me on Twitter at @NeilCHughes or at





May 16, 2017

Crestron is a $1.5B company that builds connected home and office technology. In Dec., Mark Zuckerberg talked about how Crestron powers his home. Many will remember that at the beginning of 2016 Mark Zuckerberg set himself a challenge to build a smart home AI called Jarvis, but his lighting, doors, and thermostat were already controlled by a Crestron automation system.

The company has some pretty incredible conn ected office tech, too, and is currently used by the likes of Facebook and Microsoft.

Crestron also recently announced a new product that will make high-end collaboration technology traditionally reserved for large enterprises accessible to any business.

Crestron are a big deal in the tech world and although their unicorn status but this only tells half the story, so I invited Dan Jackson Onto the show to find out more.

Guest Info 

Daniel Jackson
Director, Enterprise Technology, Crestron.

May 15, 2017

You may have heard about the thriving tech start-up scene in New York, Chicago, Houston or even Tel Aviv, but I recently learned that Ukraine also has a fantastic tech scene too.

MacPaw is a team of like-minded techies, who live in the heart of Ukraine and create apps loved by users everywhere. As true geeks, we never stop exploring tech and looking for ways to make your Mac life better. Not because they have to, but because it’s fun.

You may remember that back on episode 199 I interviewed the CEO of Setapp which was made by MacPaw and offers Netflix for Mac Apps in an alternative app store and they made me realise that I am intrigued about a new tech start-up scene in Ukraine, and I have a contact out there too.

Add these two together, and I was able to convince Julia Petryk, the PR & Media Manager over at MacPaw Inc to come on the show and tell us all about how technology is transforming life in Ukraine.

I chat to Julia about everything from the Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev, the thriving tech and startup scene and even visiting Chernobyl in an episode which is a must listen to those passionate about technology and travel.

May 15, 2017

I recently read how Gartner predicts 20.8 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020, up from 6.4 billion in 2016.

While Much of the media is focusing on the security concerns of every member of society having hundreds of devices permanently connected online. Others are seeing great opportunity

Twisthink released a great strategy guide entitled SMART, CONNECTED, AND PROFITABLE 5 steps to monetizing your IOT Strategy which is a fantastic read and I was intrigued to find out more.

Robert Niemiec is a managing partner at Twisthink where he manages business strategy, day-to-day team leadership, and business development. 

Throughout his 15 years of entrepreneurial experience and 17 years of senior-level corporate experience, Robert has a proven track record of building high functioning, diverse teams that achieve success and deliver results so I invited him onto the show.

May 14, 2017

From the number of steps we take to the hours we sleep, it's clear we are obsessed with tracking their bodies' data. So why not track sperm? The average sperm count in men has fallen significantly and continuously over the last several decades due to biological, environmental, and lifestyle shifts.

Now, men will be able to take control of their health with a new, FDA-cleared, at-home device called the Trak Male Fertility Testing System. The test allows men to measure and track their sperm counts as "low," "moderate," or "optimal" based on World Health Organization guidelines. The award-winning system allows men to measure and improve reproductive health addressing the growing problem of male fertility, which accounts for 30-50% of all infertility cases…all from the comfort of their recliner.

The Trak Male Fertility Testing System from Sandstone Diagnostics uses centrifugal force to isolate and quantify sperm cells using specially designed disposable cartridges.

I chat to Sandstone Diagnostics Founder & CEO, Greg Sommer, PhD about the Trak Male Fertility Testing System and the label of Fitbit for Sperm

May 11, 2017

Dale Drew, the CSO of Level 3 covers the following security topics in a conversation with Neil Hughes.

The evolution of the botnet
Botnets are becoming more sophisticated – which means they are becoming harder to detect, track and take down. Dale has some interesting stats around costs to rent botnets and the percentage of internet traffic that is bad/botnet traffc.

The state of healthcare security
Despite breaches increasing in volume and sophistication, only about 1/3 of healthcare organizations are highly concerned over a breach impacting critical care in the next year according to a study conducted by HIMSS Analytics we recently announced.

A few other key takeaways:
Nearly 80 percent of survey participants identified employee security awareness as the source of their greatest concern regarding threat exposure. Respondents identified which systems have the greatest need for network uptime – including those needed to deliver critical care.

The majority of organizations employ multiple risk mitigation practices – and Dale can walk through what those as well as what organizations are looking to do in the next two years.

The big threat for 2017 = Ransomware
Startling recent findings include victims are paying and nearly half of consumers haven’t heard of ransomware. 

About Dale Drew

As Chief Security Officer, Dale is responsible for Level 3's Global Global Security Program; Corporate and Product Security Policies, Logical Security, Physical Security, Voice/VoIP Fraud, Managed Security, Corporate Risk, Governance, Federal Programs and Corporate Investigations programs. Dale manages Level 3's centralized Global Security organization that encompasses both responsibility for Level 3's internal assets, and all product and service portfolios.

About Level 3

Level 3 Communications is a premier global communications provider headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, that provides communications services to enterprise, government and carrier customers.

Anchored by extensive fiber networks on three continents and connected by undersea facilities, our global services platform features deep metro assets reaching more than 500 markets in more than 60 countries.

May 10, 2017

ClearMetal, an edgy logistics tech provider applying AI and machine learning to the massive global logistics industry where a digital overhaul is desperately needed. The $26T per year global supply chain represents nearly 10% of global GDP, but still runs on legacy, pre-internet technology.

The industry is poised for digital disruption as logistics professionals seek new ways to make sense of the supply chain's overwhelming complexities. Just as machine learning and AI have overhauled other industries, they’ve already started to streamline efficiencies in supply chain and create a powerful new digital solution called “predictive logistics.”

By gathering and harnessing siloed supply chain data, adding new data sources, and applying advanced technology, predictive logistics has emerged.

I speak with Adam Compain, founder and CEO of ClearMetal, about how this startup is specializing in predictive analytics within freight transportation.

May 9, 2017

In 1995, British Medical Journal (BMJ) became the first medical publisher to go online. Now, the company has made history again by bringing their latest research directly to healthcare professionals via the Figure 1 app.

With more than one million doctors, nurses, and medical students on the network, BMJ researchers are using Figure 1 to discuss their work with their target audience immediately after its publication.

Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa of Harvard University was the first BMJ researcher to take part in a live Q&A on Figure 1. He presented research showing that US patients have lower mortality rates when they are treated by foreign-trained doctors.

“The intelligent conversation sparked by the forum was something that just didn’t exist before,” said Dr. Tsugawa. “It’s an incredible way for researchers to bring their work directly to the global medical community“

Dr. Tsugawa’s one-hour Q&A was viewed more than 125,000 times by healthcare professionals in 83 countries and received more than 150 comments and questions from a specialized audience.

BMJ publishes more than 55 medical and allied science journals and was a pioneer of the migration to digital publishing and the development of open access. Figure 1 has since flourished in the open access environment that BMJ helped to create. A partnership is the next step towards bringing open access evidence-based medicine to healthcare professionals.

I interview Dr. Joshua Landy, the co-founder and chief medical officer of Figure 1 in tonight's show.

About Figure 1
Figure 1 is a free mobile app that helps millions of healthcare professionals in more than 190 countries connect, communicate, and collaborate. With 70% of North American medical students now using it as an educational resource, Figure 1 represents the future of medicine. To learn more, go to

About BMJ
BMJ is a healthcare knowledge provider that aims to advance healthcare worldwide by sharing knowledge and expertise to improve experiences, outcomes, and value. For a full list of BMJ products and services visit

May 9, 2017

Around 3,500 representatives from the largest enterprises in the world braved the unseasonal heatwave in San Francisco to attend the Apttus Accelerate conference over in Pier 48 last week. As the doors opened for the show, word spread quickly about the quote-to-cash solution provider being recognized as a visionary in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for the second year in a row.

It’s easy to see how Apttus have been continuously growing at a phenomenal rate since its humble beginnings in a laundry room. After bootstrapping its way to unicorn status, it can now only be a matter of time that they hit the IPO button.

I invited Apttus CEO Kirk Krappe onto the show to learn about their entire journey and introducing the world's first intelligent agent at Accelerate.



May 8, 2017

Completed, which is based in San Francisco, is the first verified peer review platform to cover all professionals in every industry. Its mission is to create the most comprehensive profile of an individual on the internet.

A Completed profile will show the full person including constructive feedback that identifies their strengths and weaknesses, helping people improve themselves while at the same time opening the door to opportunities for other people to engage with them in a positive manner. 

In the same way that Yelp! users review businesses, allows users to rate and review every professional – from a waiter to Fortune 500 CEO – anonymously or using a verified identity.

Completed’s easy-to-use 5-star ratings and reviews, which are verified by the company’s proprietary algorithm, can help professionals identify areas of weakness to improve their work and provide employers an unadulterated profile of a candidate to enable them to hire with confidence.

“Yelp doesn’t identify employees, LinkedIn doesn’t identify weakness, one-off professional reviews sites, like, omit most industries, and professional complaint boards, like, are not trusted,” said Zammuto.

 “The current professional review landscape is broken, and there is a clear need for a central information source and a trusted review system that provides accurate ratings for all professional in every industry. 

I invited Michael Zammuto, CEO of San Francisco-based Completed onto the show to find out more.

For more information, visit:

May 4, 2017

Thomson Reuters provides content, expertise, and technology solutions to help lawyers, bankers, and tax and accounting professionals make critical decisions every day. 

Digitization is transforming the global media and information industry. Upon learning how Thomson Reuters is leveraging the power of Quote-to-Cash in the cloud to stay on top in this digitized landscape at the Apttus Accelerate event, I invited them onto the show.

Craig Eiter, the VP, Sales Enablement at Thomson Reuters Legal talks about the digital transformation and leveraging the power of Quote-to-Cash in the cloud.

May 3, 2017

Derek Schoettle, General Manager of IBM’s Watson Data Platform, had a fantastic keynote speech at the Apttus Accelerate event in San Francisco. Demystifying all those not so user-friendly phrases such as AI, Machine Learning, and cognitive business just before lunch was a tough ask but he made it look effortless.

If today's cognitive businesses are already achieving new levels of performance – from improving customer engagement to scaling expertise to driving innovation and growth.  I had to find out more.

I caught up Schoettle and asked him to share an insider’s view to the innovation that drives IBM Watson and for providing insight on how to build your cognitive business. Most importantly, the examples of real-world ROI from leveraging Watson for Quote-to-Cash and business performance.


May 1, 2017

According to a Business Insider report, messaging apps are growing faster than social networks. While consumer social networks have moved aggressively to take advantage of the rise of mobile messaging, there is a huge void in the market for chatting with your extended business network.

Further, LinkedIn users are unhappy with the social network experience due to recruiter solicitations and InMail spam, which no longer makes it the platform to engage with your most valued business connections.

VentureApp is a chat platform for professionals to communicate with their closest business contacts and connect with new partners in their extended business network. 

Upon hearing about $4 million funding and that thousands of professionals from DraftKings, Silicon Valley Bank, HubSpot, Drizly, Goodwin Procter, and more, are chatting on VentureApp, I invited Chase Garbarino, co-founder and CEO onto the show to learn more.

Apr 30, 2017

Hurdl is bridging the gap between artist and audience using wearable technology and a healthy amount of innovation. Ultimately they are upgrading experiences in the multi-billion dollar live event space which hasn’t seen a change in more than 30 years.

In November Hurdl introduced wearable tech to the live music scene and even became the star of the show at the Country Music Association Awards. Could technology now engage large audiences to create new relationships and personalized euphoric experiences?

The PIXL LED wearable turns fans into interactive event experiences while its patented software provides clients and brand partners a new 1:1 communication network with all attendees for direct, real-time engagement to increase pre-, during and post-event revenue.

Hurdl was one of 11 startups chosen from more than 30,000 applicants worldwide to work in close collaboration with TechStars Music which many of you might remember from episode 204.

"We’re proudly pioneering a new, direct channel for our clients to include and engage their entire audience in a way that I was never able as an artist manager for 12 years,” said Betsy McHugh, Hurdl founder

Betsy has lived and breathed the live music scene having worked with John Mayer and Bon Jovi, as well as in management roles for artists including Keith Urban and Hunter Hayes.

I'm quite excited about how Hurdl is bridging the gap between artist and audience while being both accessible and affordable.

Apr 27, 2017

I recently learned how MyRadar has notched up 25 million downloads to become the world's most popular weather radar app. We are living in a world of app fatigue where we don't want any more apps in our lives and we all have a weather app on our phones already which makes 25 million downloads from an overcrowded app store all the more special.

MyRadar is a fast, easy-to-use, no-frills application that displays animated weather radar around your current location, allowing you to quickly see what weather is coming your way. Just start the app, and your location pops up with animated weather!

The app shows animated weather, so you can tell if rain is headed toward or away from you, and how fast and also offers push notifications. But I wanted to learn more about why this app has captured the public's imagination and the secret to securing a global hit so I invited Brad Anderson onto the show to find out more.

Brad is attempting to use mobile technology to change the world and this is just one of many reasons why he is the perfect guest for the Tech Blog Writer Podcast.

Apr 26, 2017

It seems we are witnessing headline security breaches on an almost daily basis at the moment. But the finger of blame and accountability could soon be pointing in the direction of the boardroom which should be enough for CEOs to take cyber security seriously.

With Yahoo now holding senior executives accountable for the mishandling of two security breaches, I wanted to investigate if boardrooms still struggle to see the ROI of cyber security.

Step forward Diligent. The company is the leading provider of secure corporate governance and collaboration solutions for boards and senior executives.

Over 4,700 clients and 140,000 users in more than 70 countries on all seven continents rely on Diligent to provide secure, intuitive access to their most time-sensitive and confidential information.

Considering that half of the companies on the Fortune 1000 along with 70% FTSE 100 list are clients, it's clear that Diligent has the ear of the most influential boardrooms in the world.

Brian Stafford, CEO of Diligent Corporation, is highly attuned to what it means to be an effective board member in today’s complex business landscape, so I invited him onto the show to learn more about how boardrooms are tackling the thorny issue of security.

Apr 26, 2017

It seems at the moment that Industries worldwide are finding that the digital transformation is ushering them towards commercial and industrial IoT.

Expected to reach $236.5 billion by 2022, the embedded computing market’s projected growth can be attributed to increasing digitization, machine automation and the rise of artificial intelligence.

Advantech is a world-leader in providing trusted, innovative embedded and automation products and solutions. With a portfolio of over 1,000 products and a network of more than 8,000 talented people working in 92 major cities worldwide, the Industry 4.0 accelerator offers a comprehensive Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio, customer-centric design services, and global logistics support.

The billion-dollar company collaborates closely with select partners across a diverse range of market sectors to provide edge-to-cloud solutions for a wide array of applications—driving smart cities, smart factories and the advancement of industrial and commercial IoT—while achieving the collective corporate vision of enabling an intelligent planet.

Advantech has also been named a Microsoft Global IoT Valued Partner and was and is also an Authorized Embedded Distributor in The Americas.

I invited Shawn Jack, Director of Sales & Embedded Ecosystems at Advantech onto the show so he can share his thoughts, expertise, and insights on how faster deployment and scaling of IoT solutions is critical to business all over the world.

Apr 25, 2017

Michael Scharf left his comfortable, investment banking career to co-found MyClean. Bootstrapping a $20K website investment into a $9M company is an amazing achievement on its own.

MyClean has over 200 cleaners and 20 office staff employees, has completed more than 375,000 home and office cleans since launching and averages over 2,000 cleans a week between NYC and Chicago.

Michael also runs his company with a lot of non-traditional practices such as:

  • Never accepting VC money
  • Exclusively hiring W-2, full-time with benefits employees (the industry norm is 1099 contract workers because 1099 labor is significantly more cost-effective)
  • Putting people before technology



Apr 24, 2017

VideoBlocks Powers through on Path of Industry Disruption. As the first subscription-based provider of royalty-free stock media, today announced the launch of its artist-friendly stock Photo Marketplace that will reward photo contributors with 100 percent commission from their sales.

TJ Leonard, CEO of VideoBlocks advised that feedback from the Videostock community confirmed that people want a simple, affordable, on-demand photo solution.

“The success of our Video Marketplace, helping artists earn more through our unrivaled 100% commissions, as well as the incredible choice and savings we have passed on to our members, gave us the confidence that we could build a truly different kind of Photo Marketplace.”




Apr 21, 2017

Companies want continual feedback from customers, but there hasn’t been an easy and automated way to actually get it. Delighted is built around the simple truth that great products come from companies who deeply understand their customers.

Delighted is the fastest and easiest way to gather customer feedback and put it into the hands of those who can act on it. Using the Net Promoter System – a single question and an open-ended comment box – Delighted helps companies align customers’ needs with business growth, measure the customer voice over time and keep customers coming back.

Bose, Target, Uber and other beloved brands of all sizes trust Delighted to collect, distribute and analyze feedback to create more delightful customer experiences.

Caleb Elston is co-founder of Delighted and Worked on Mosaic. Co-founder of Yobongo. VP Products Advisor to Simpler.

I invited Caleb onto the show to find out more about how Delighted is helping businesses continuously improve the customer experience.

Apr 19, 2017

Punch Alert is the first mobile app to help users crowdsource safety for a wide scope of situations. 

The first safety app to focus on the responder’s needs, Punch Alert turns any iOS or Android device into a mobile emergency solution. Users report emergencies or suspicious situations to preselected responders with text notes, images, video or audio recordings. Responders can

Responders can crowdsource this information, and redistribute warnings and announcements to the entire community as one mass notification. Instantly after an emergency is reported, responders receive an email, text message and automated phone call with the name and location of the person reporting the emergency.

Responders can screen emergencies as they come in, release them to specific users, distribute emergency plans, communicate with other responders, share content and updates with anyone necessary and completely resolve the emergency – all from a mobile device.

Its a fascinating topic so i invited Greg Artzt CEO at Punch Technologies on the show to understand how they are adding peace of mind to the event industry and ensuring safety and security of our schools, universities, healthcare facilities, and other campus locations.


Apr 18, 2017

Storyhunter has more than 20,000 freelance video producers and journalists across 180 countries. With $4.2M in funding the talent marketplace is hitting the headlines for all the right reasons.

Storyhunter proudly counts four of the five largest news organizations and two of the three largest magazine publishers as clients. Other clients include, NBC, CNN International, Time, National Geographic, Discovery Digital, and The Weather Channel, as well as brands including Airbnb, Expedia, Zillow, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Custom Networks: Video producers can organize both new and existing freelancers into their own custom networks e.g. “360 shooters,” “African freelancers,” “Best editors,” and send group messages, or reach out to freelancers individually.

So if CNN needs footage for a breaking news story in your area, they simply dial a creative who is on their books. At least that's my understanding, but to clear this question up and many more questions I invited Jaron Gilinsky, CEO and Co-Founder of Storyhunter onto the show.

Apr 17, 2017

Three-quarters of all mental health conditions emerge by the age of 24, but getting help is expensive and 55% of the nation’s 3,100 counties don’t even have a single practicing psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker.

That’s why Aaron Robin (32) has founded the “Uber” of mental therapy offering 24/7 on-demand access to licensed professionals. Called iExhale, it’s recently launched in California (coming nationwide soon)

iExhale is an app that you can download right to your iPhone (Android and desktop in the works) with tons of features for anyone who needs a helping hand, or has a hand to lend:

  • Getting started is easy with Meet a Therapist, a free 48-hour period meant to help users and therapists get to know one another with no commitment.
  • A therapist will then call on a secure line, and it does not require a monthly subscription so one-off sessions ($64.99) can be booked at any time.
  • You can also browse an anonymous social support network that gives you a lot of ways to support others and get supported in a fun and nurturing environment.
  • It lets you share your thoughts and feelings without fear of being teased or bullied thanks to safeguards built into the app.
  • It’s HIPPA- and COPPA-compliant, and every therapist goes through a thorough vetting process to ensure they are qualified and licensed.

In a recent study teens who were counseled over the phone had just as much success as those who met therapists face-to-face, and research shows that cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of talk therapy, works just as well on the phone or over Skype as with in-person session.

I invited Aaron Robin, the founder of iExhale onto the show to learn more about how technology and our smartphone is ensuring help is always available when we need the most.


Apr 16, 2017

An echo chamber is an environment where you only hear viewpoints that already agree with your own opinion. You shout into the cave and the echo comes back. You are rarely challenged because everyone else in your community tends to think in a similar way to you. It is a place that lacks thought diversity.

It is also a concept that is not very well understood in the real world. It needs further research. It is unlikely that anyone lives in a ‘pure’ echo chamber. There are even disagreements about whether the internet has amplified or contracted echo chambers.

However, given how many were surprised by the political events of 2016, it seems that echo chambers exist more than they did previously and having severely negative consequences. Many people want to get out of their echo chamber.

Alice Thwaite is using technology to challenge our world view through reporting stories that don’t commonly pop up on their social media feeds, newspapers or goes against the current narrative. Alice created the Echo Chamber Club

Alice created the Echo Chamber Club to bring some much-needed balance and debate into a world where people reside in their own personalised bubble. The simple concept has captured the imagination of the global community who can tune into a new way of thinking through email, WhatsApp and their podcast.

The success of the club despite having no marketing nor ad spend illustrates how there is a real thirst for a solution to the problems created by filter bubbles and echo chambers.

I invited Founder and Editor-in-Chief Alice Thwaite of the Echo Chamber Club onto the show to find out more.

Apr 14, 2017

I was led to believe we were heading for a wireless world but a look behind my TV tells a very different story when I see all those wires everywhere. Not to mention the increasing number of BRIDGES for IoT devices.

We were hoping to talk about the wireless powered home and how GaN (gallium nitride) is making that possible! When it comes to gallium nitride, there is only one man to speak with, and he's truly changing the world at EPC.

He first appeared on EP180 talking about Why Gallium Nitride Is About To Disrupt Silicon then returned on 203 The LIDAR Technology Behind An X-Ray Pill. But he has returned to today to talk about how it can wireless charge anything, and it will blow your mind.

Dr. Alex Lidow, is the CEO and co-founder of Efficient Power Conversion and he is going to talk about how tech will make power cords disappear and how EPC is leading the charge in the wireless space.

Apr 13, 2017

I recently read that many organizations around the world are failing to implement effective digital customer experience (CX) strategies, in new research from Dimension Data, .

In fact, just one in 10 organizations (9.5%) considers their digital business strategy to be optimized, leading to disjointed CX solutions.

As digital and automated channels fail to meet user needs, digital is not displacing traditional phone interactions – or reducing cost obstacles – at the speed companies desire.

There are bright points, though, as 81% of organizations cite CX as a competitive differentiator. The top factor driving digital transformation is improving CX, followed by customer demands for digital – with companies reporting benefits associated with improving CX including:

Increased customer loyalty (92%)
An uplift in revenue (84%)
Cost savings (79%)

Its a fascinating report and I felt compelled to find out more so I invited Matthew Saskin, Managing Principal Consultant - Customer Experience at Dimension Data to speak with us tonight

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