If you’ve ever asked yourself “What is school actually for?” or “why don’t they teach this stuff in school?” you are in good company. Join our guests Seth Godin, Michael Gelb, and Isaac Morehouse as they share ideas that every parent, student, and leader MUST know about school and education.

  • 3:14 – The best method of learning with Seth Godin
  • 4:31 – Secrets of educational institutions with Seth Godin
  • 11:09 – How to ‘live free’ with Isaac Morehouse
  • 15:07 – Defining success with Isaac Morehouse
  • 16:56 – The importance of public schooling with Seth Godin
  • – Getting people to WANT to learn with Seth Godin
  • 20:21 – How not fitting in at school can lead to a bright future with Michael Gelb
  • 23:18– Making connections while learning with Michael Gelb
  • 23:55 – How the internet connects us all with Seth Godin
  • 27:54 – Myths about education & parenting with Seth Godin

Full Transcription:

Hey everyone. Todd staples here with part two of our 50th episode celebration. Today, we’re talking about school and education. We’re going to review some of our thoughts from these 50 interviews we’ve had over the past year and specifically talk about three guests that we’ve had that are really focused and just brilliant in the world of school and education and learning.

We discussed the new role that corporations and leaders have to coach and train and educate their team or their students and what they need to do to develop strong leaders of the future who are adaptable and visionary, take accountability for their actions, and work together to form human to human connections.

Most importantly we discuss what it takes to become a strong individual, a strong leader, and a strong part of a thriving business so you can solve big problems by taking action.

You’re going to hear from a number of people in this episode, most notably three of our guests who have decades of experience in learning and education. First, we’re going to talk to Seth Goden.

Seth requires very little introduction. He is a business expert, a marketing phenomenon he’s written dozens and dozens of books, 18 of which are on international bestseller lists. Some of my favorites are the dip permission, marketing linchpin. Seth is going to talk to us a bit about his story and what school is good for and what it’s not.

We speak with Michael gal, but legendary thinker in the world of creativity and genius thinking, Michael Galvas also written over a dozen books. His most notable one and most popular is called how to think like Leonardo da Vinci. He trains corporations and individuals on brainstorming, mind, mapping, creativity, and all the skills it takes to develop a great team and build companies to have a true impact on the world.

Isaac Morehouse was one of my favorite guests of the season. He is a really interesting guy with with a background of being homeschooled himself and then moving over to public school. So we hear from Isaac. Isaac was brought up homeschooled. And then he also experienced moving over into the public education system and going to college and his ideas and his perspective on this are brilliant and humorous at the same time.

Isaac has four kids right now. So he’s got a really interesting journey of from homeschooling. So listening to his journey, being homeschooled as a young child, and now being the parent of four and how his thoughts have changed and evolved over time of when it’s smart to homeschool, when it’s good to go to public school and how you can make the most of both, those experiences are really fascinating, really valuable.

Let’s jump right in. Here’s the 50th episode

part two, I’ve learned to win.

the technology has changed such that, it doesn’t make sense to pursue education anymore.

Education is compliance based and, accreditation based. It’s a piece of paper that proves. You put up with a lot of nonsense and paid a lot of money that is clearly going away. And the alternative is what would happen if you learned something, but learning doesn’t come from being lectured at learning comes from interacting.

So the system we have in place is built on management and industrialism. And I don’t deny that either. And both of them are super important. We wouldn’t have the world we live in today.

If we didn’t have managers. And if we didn’t have the efficiency of industrialism managers need compliant employees, but we’ve discovered that most companies, my employees are either computers or people who live somewhere far away. And therefore we’re not going to be here succeed and get to our standard of living by being more compliant than a computer.

That’s fundamentally why we’re here then, because that’s exactly the message that we’re about and a scrimmage, as far as using technology to.

Democratize educational access. Right? And I put the ownership with equity in the hands of the person should pursue whatever they like, whatever they need in order to fulfill their purpose or whatever, what they perceive to be the person to give him one time. That’s what we’re all about.

with technology being as it is,

I said, you really don’t need to know. Rope memory facts at all anymore ever. Like if you, if you change by learning them, I think that’s important, but you don’t need to know dates and math. You don’t, you don’t need to know the how know math. You don’t need to know arithmetic. They’re different how to solve problems.

Right? Exactly. You don’t need to know that what’s 204 times. Exactly. Yeah. so. It has, it’s changed a lot and we, I have a four and a six year old in school, but what they need to know, I love the things that you boil down to, how to solve big problems and how to lead right there. They don’t teach that very often in school.

well, they’re, they’re very hard to teach. Yeah. They’re important to learn, but they’re hard to teach and those are two different things.

You know, a simple example is it used to take still does more than eight years to become a radiologist to read x-rays. Well, the first threat was once we digitize x-rays we can have them read by somebody in Sri Lanka, but the second problem is it turns out a computer can not read an X Ray better than a radiologist.

Well, then what was all that school for? It’s not clear unless you became the kind of radiologist who has better than computer instincts and is willing to extend emotional labor to learn things that are hard. And that’s what we’ve got to expose kids to and help them learn from a really young.

Right. Do you know a lot about the outcomes of educational institutions? We know the sat doesn’t predict future success or happiness. We know that people who get into a famous college do just as well in life as people who get in and go that. It’s just a filtering sorting mechanism. And mostly we know that it’s college has become more like high school with binge drinking, as opposed to this institution where you actually learn to learn.

Right. And so it’s going to be up to people like us to figure out how to. Take it out of that.

Yeah, I agree in that is a common theme that we keep seeing time and time again for the guests and the companies that we’ve engaged with in the podcast and that we have as clients. Is that those, the best thing you can possibly.

if you’re hiring someone, whether it’s , someone for your team or a consultant or a contractor, it’s great if they know something, but what’s even better is if they have a passion for learning and that’s part of who they are as a person. And, you know, it’s obviously scrimmage is built around measuring that and understanding it.

And then. Kind of modifying and personalizing learning plan so that you can have different learning plans for different personalities. You know, we had dr. Diane Hamilton on and her book that curiosity code, I believe is the title, measures people, curiosity, and people have wildly one side or the other, and they would.

Take him politely different education plans to get that person to progress in their career. So I just think it’s fascinating. What’s happening in the world with, with LMS is with LR, with the LRS system, for tracking data and doing predictive analytics on learning behaviors. So you can modify that and really optimize the whole learning experience.

I’m going to be agree. Cut. And that goes back to, like you said, even the neuropsychology of, of learning and retention. And then, you know, the back, the personalization, all the data is getting smarter at matching it to the biometric, the psychometric and where this is going. Right. And now know let’s just, we’re, we’re living in the time of COVID where everyone’s working.

Remotely schools are closed. People are questioning the value of investments in education. I mean, we’re on the, on the bleeding edge of where things were about to evolve in the next

10 years. Yeah, this could be a massive, massive ship. Where’s your, where’s your head right now with all of that? I mean, I just saw an ad.

My kids are watching a TV show and the ads are changing that they’re seeing during some of their TV shows and this was for a free public online school and they did a really good job presenting the fact that they’ve been doing this for 20 years and this is not new to them. so what do you, w where’s your head at just love a few minutes of what you think is going to happen with.

With schooling and the shift to massive shift to online learning. Well, I think

there’s a couple of things they can sit and I think it’s at different levels too. Right? So let’s just start at the higher end for this for a second or patient. Right. We’ve got universities and we talked about this with Isaac Morehouse, right?

We on the whole thing, we’ve got people that are going to universities and spending 50 to $120,000 a year to get a degree. And, and most of those people are leaving school afterwards. You know, six figures of student loan debt to go sort of job making, you know, 40, $50,000 a year. Can you start that again?

The value, like what are they going there to learn? They go in there for the experience of partying and I did it. So, I mean, I’m not, there’s a place for that, but I’m just saying that in this new world, that goes back to how is the value of time versus production and the value of that, how to change that.

And I just think that. Without college educations. They’re not maybe the same because people are not going to have that community experience. They’re going to be very different. Why people go to the university experience? In my opinion, it’s hard to justify that cost the same way. And I just think that, and we’ve already seen tech companies and we talked about Isaac with, with apprenticeships and so forth.

I just think that people are going to start to question the value to the ratio, both in the short term and the long term. And so I think that’s one level. And then I think that you’re going to see, and I’ve talked about this for 10 years. Have you thought about what is the role that companies will play now in education?

How will they recruit and educate and train and play a role in creating a career path that will be beyond that? Like how do they, what does that look like now? And what’s the level of autonomy that people have. And I think that, that goes back to, with, with, you know, K through 12 education now because of online because of how kids learn.

And I’m starting to question myself, cause we’ve got. Little one that I know you got kids in school, we’re starting to think, well, you know, what would we do with school? We do. We really, the kids need to go to school eight hours a day and we talk again, save them comes Isaac. Or can we give them tutors? Can we get them access to online?

We bring them places. Can we go do things that would never have been allowed before? I mean, we’re living in a time where right now we’re quarantine, but eventually that’s going to change. People are going to say, I should be able to, I can live anywhere. I’m working anywhere. So why should we not be able to move?

And that’s going to change. Everything is going to change real estate. It’s going to change education. It’s going to change financial structures. I believe maybe I’m a little bit out there, but I personally think that’s, what’s going to happen if people, if people choose to progress and not fall back into old habits, because it’s easier because that’s what was because that’s

what we know.

Yeah. I totally agree. And I think back a lot to Seth Godin, right. And we just scratched the surface on Seth’s perspective on this, but when. Man every word out of that guy’s mouth. Yeah,

that was,

that was a month,

maybe three weeks before Cobra happened. And we were talking in that meeting about the public schooling and the role of public school being, not education, but about being the socialization and the, and the learn how to be part of society, how to work and communicate with people who are different than you, how have different interests than you, how to deal with hard stuff that you don’t necessarily want to do.

There’s a, there’s a role of that in education is creating discipline frame structure. And I get that part at the same time. We just, the whole system has been put on pause. Right. Or it’s been changed at the move to a different setting,

typically changed overnight and it hasn’t finished changing. So no one even knows what to, what to make of it.

Yeah. And I think it’s going to be a fascinating 10 years.

why for you personally

is education.

So important

Yeah. You know, it comes to something even more fundamental to me than education. Education just happens to be where the rubber starts to meet the road the most. And for me, I’m like my core. I don’t know. I guess like my animating value or core focus in life is freedom. I want to live free and I want to help others live free.

and that comes in so many forms. I mean, there’s so many things that like make us unfree and so much of the time we, we don’t feel free. so it can be just like guilt or shame or litigation or commitments. We wish we wouldn’t have made. It can be social pressure. It can be lack of political freedom, a lot of different things.

And like, to me, that’s like the core animating idea that gets me excited and I’ve, and I’ve had that since I was very young and it was gonna have been rebellious, independent, and, and I was homeschooled. and so kind of always had a lot of freedom. Always had a lot of jobs when I was young and kind of hustling and doing stuff, but not, not so much a structure on the school side.

And I remember when I went to college. Yeah. Everyone’s like, you have to go to college. Of course you have to go to college or you’re going to be a loser. You’re going to be unemployed.

You’re going to sleeping on a park bench and no one ever explained why, like, what’s the causal connection? What is college going to do?

But you just have to where you won’t get a good job. Right. So I did like everybody else. And when I’m sitting there in these classes and you know, I enjoyed some of them, like, I’m an ideas person. I like, you know, reading philosophy and whatnot, but. I was working three days a week for a small business owner.

I was in way over my head every day, all kinds of just learning on the job, like my way through some situations sometimes, you know? And, and then I’m turning around and I’m paying my way through school.

I’m paying all this money that I’m earning and I’m sitting in these classes. Nobody seemed to want to be there.

The professors didn’t want to be there. Everyone’s happy when classes canceled. Right? What other good do you pay for an advance? And then you’re happy when it’s not delivered. Right? Nobody wants to show up to class. Everyone’s kind of bored. And that’s where I realized like the knowledge, the information.

That’s not the product. No one’s buying that. None of these kids are really that interested in that they’re buying the piece of paper. Because they feel like if they don’t have that, they’ll be seen as a loser.

and so I thought, okay, well that’s helpful. It’s, it’s sort of like the signaling theory of education, right?

You’re buying this, the signal that a third party has sort of said, you, you pass their test. So I thought. All right. Well, it’s a signal, whatever, I guess you need it. And then one day I’m sitting in class and I look around

and, and all these kids are just like hung over and like talking about how they got wasted last night and , no one’s paying attention. I remember I just had this thought all I’m really buying is a piece of paper that says to the world. I’m probably no worse than everyone else in this room.

Cause I was like, they’re all gonna walk out of here with the same piece of paper and I’m basically screaming, Hey, I’m probably not worse than that. You know? And I was like, wow, that’s like a pretty weak signal.

and so I just, I had this feeling like. Most people feel very sort of unfree in their educational process.

It’s all very much like I have to do this or, you know, my parents will, you know, bust my chops or I’ll never be able to get a job. And like, I don’t have a choice. Yeah. I wish I could do something cool or more interesting or follow something that I’m excited about. But I can’t, I have to do this and I just never, that never sat well with me.

And so it took me about a decade of that frustration. I had experienced and exposure to the world and a lot more people entrepreneurs and the pain points they have in hiring people, students coming out with debt and being like, I don’t have any there’s no jobs, no one will hire me to kind of have this epiphany that I wanted to start a company to do this differently.

And that’s when, when I started practice. So.

you were homeschooled at a time before homeschooling was really becoming accepted. It’s why it’s coming. It’s becoming more so now, obviously because of virtual education and technology and so forth.


you know, when we were growing up, homeschooling was definitely a

large minority. And so

you went from going from a very atypical environment and I’m interested to hear about that process too, going into. A


box state school, traditional environment. And then you

had this realization,

I mean, talk to us a little bit about that


Yeah. So, you know, it was funny. So our, my homeschooling experience, my dad was in a car accident when I was three. And he, you know, he has a closed head injuries in a wheelchair. He requires 24 hours. Yeah. So he was with us at home, but he was, there was usually home health aides, helping take care of them.

We’d help take care of him. So for all intents and purposes, my mom was sort of raising us on her own and they had decided to homeschool us prior to that. And so kind of out of necessity, it was a very unstructured, homeschool experience. Like there are some homeschoolers who are like, They homeschool because they don’t think school is rigorous enough.

And they want like, you know, to learn Latin and Greek and the violin by the time you’re five or whatever. that was not us. My mom wanted that to be us, but it was nothing like that. , I really resonated with the story

you told about

people not having any freedom to choose what they were going to study,

what they were going to do.

when you went off to college, what was, what

was that in alignment with what

they wanted?

My mom was very practiced. she never put any pressure at all, like on whether you have to go to college, what college to go to.

Like, we didn’t really, it was just sort of like do what you want to do as long as you’re like working hard. Not getting into trouble. You’re a good person. I’m not really worried about it. She didn’t have a lot of pressure expectations on sort of career and education, which. I didn’t think about it at the time.

It just seemed normal to me. But now I’ve seen so many other kids with their parents and it’s always like really well-intentioned parents, but it’s just, there’s nothing harder to break away from then the good intentions of good parents that they just. You need the freedom to explore and success by your parents’ definition is probably not what success is going to look like by your own definition.

And you need to have that transition. So I had a lot of freedom there

we both have young children, right? So the idea is, do we even put our kids in traditional school systems? I mean, if you’re talking to young parents now, I mean, and we live in a technology enabled world. I mean, should we just live all over the world?

Well, public school is super important. Okay. My kids went to public school.

I think everyone should go to public school. Okay. And it’s not important because you learn, arithmetic. It’s important because you learn what it’s like to be a citizen. Okay. And to expose yourself to people who aren’t simply of the same socioeconomic strata, as you sure that you learn what it is to be with people you don’t want to be within any given moment.

That’s a huge skill. We shouldn’t, we should just not confuse ourselves into thinking that skill has anything to do with the other things we ensure teach kids.

So in my case, the kids were homeschooled from three o’clock in the afternoon until 10 o’clock every night. Okay.

so you literally just saw that as the socialization component, the public school was more about socialization.

Yeah, I think that if you, as you know, part of the thing that people miss about homeschooling in quotation marks is it’s a very privileged thing to be able to do that you can’t have.

Two income household, where both people are on the clock for some other boss. Sure. Cause now there’s no one at home to do the homeschooling. You can’t go live on a boat and go from this Island to that Island because you needed a job. So we’re not going to be able to serve hundreds of millions of people by saying, everyone should do this thing.

but we can go further than that by creating a dynamic that gets people to want to learn fundamentally. Yeah.

Grab onto that. So wanting to learn when, when I started working with Derek and the scrimmage team, a few months back, I was looking at testimonials, and one of the reviews said, you know, I really like how scrimmage as a tool helps the team learn, but what is unique to them is they actually make my team want to learn more. Right. how do you teach that?

How do you teach someone? Or give them an opportunity to actually develop a passion for learning?

Well, I think everyone has a passion for learning. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t know how to speak or walk because no one is born learning how to speak or walk. And you learned how, because it was worth it. And you learned how, because as you were learning, you got this.

Positive feedback from other humans that was on an axis. You cared about the problem with third grade. It is, yeah. I’ll get the right kind of feedback. You usually get feedback when you’re doing it wrong and you don’t get feedback that you want more of, you get a report card, right. Whereas. If you learn to make a yo-yo sleep, you want to do it again because your friends gave you more status because you felt smart because it was thrilling.

And so now you need to learn how to walk the dog, and then you learn how to do around the world and then blah, blah, blah, that cycle, we just put a stick taking it. And we said, Nope, study for the sat instead. Because there’s going to be a test and then you get to work and it’s the same thing to L and D people at work, they call themselves learning and development.

They’re not doing learning and they’re not doing development compliance. They’re doing teaching and testing. Right? And so our mission and we’re well enough to have worked with lots of, L and D people on the alt MBA is a few of them get that they have to teach leadership instead, or at least have people learn it.

And that’s an experiential thing. It’s not a testing thing.

And you don’t finish it. You sat, you study study, Sally. Thank you. you study for that test and when you’re done, you’re like fake. I never have to learn any of that or think about any of that again, it’s not really. so it’s directly against what you’re, you know, when you’re driven by passion and interest in making something, it matters.

Michael today. Listening to episode one is we talk about Michael’s journey. what led him to pursue the art of learning and really understanding how the human mind works and how it can function best and learn the fastest and have fun while you’re doing it. ,

it’s the passion to learn how to learn. Cause that, that seems to me right from the beginning to be the single most important thing that I could know, and then anybody could know.

So it’s great to learn something, but what fascinated me was. How do you learn anything? How do you learn about learning? How do you accelerate learning and how do you make learning fun? And this really came about because I hated school

because I hated school so I’d be sitting there in school. And I was the classic kid who asked too many questions. . And by the way, we’re all in good company. They, They, Leonardo DaVinci. According to Giorgio Vasari, the first art historian, you went the lives of the artists, the stories of the lives of these great Renaissance geniuses. And then the story about Leonardo da Vinci. He points out that the young Leonardo asked so many questions that he confounded his school master Thomas Edison had to be taken out of school.

His mother took him out of school. Because his teachers said that his brain was adult and she homeschooled him. Okay. The report from school was that he was difficult to possible have behavior problems. They were much worse in his day than they were in my day. And what they said about you, but she, his mother was, was really brilliant, knew about learning and knew about encouragement just to have.

Correct. Which comes from core, which means heart. So the mother knew how to help strengthen young Thomas Edison’s heart. And she said to him, the school says you’re such a genius that they don’t know how to handle you. So I’m going to school, you at home 1093 United States patents later, right. That worked out pretty well.

Yeah. So where you’re a good company, if you didn’t fit in, in school.

the real purpose of education is to get people to think for themselves.

This is the real original idea of the liberal arts education is that you should have enough knowledge about. Everything that’s important so that you really learn to think for yourself. I mean, the word university comes from the idea of universal knowledge. We should all have this year. And the most important universal knowledge is the knowledge of how to think for yourself that do assess things, through your own.

Perspicacity through your own critical thinking. And we’re in a world today where that’s becoming a lost art. ,

what are your thoughts on specialization or being a general?

Because back in the day when Henry Ford was building production and assembly lines radically changed the world. As we know it, because someone was from that point on, they were, they made a fender floor and that’s what they did every day. All day long, seems like the specialization. Is now being taken over by machines.

Yes. So do you think it now is the time for people to become more generalists? Is it good to have a little understanding about a lot and then be able to put those

pieces together? Bill arts university? Yes. And, but yeah, this is why you need to learn to think like Leonardo da Vinci was very reminiscent.

If you learn lots of different things, but you don’t know how to make connections between them. Yeah, it’s not very efficient or effective.

And so we’re now at this crossroads, cause technology is here too. And the technology says, you know what? For the first

time in history, we do not need a human being to stand up next to us, to teach us to do square roots.

For the first time in history, we do not need a human being to teach us how to sharpen an ax because the internet connects us all. And so I want to share with you eight things that I think are going to change completely. We decide how we want to answer this question. Or maybe even if we don’t want, as Sal Khan has pointed out homework during the day lectures at night, world-class lecturers, lecturing on anything you want to learn to every single person in the world.

Who’s got an internet connection for free, and then all day go and sit with a human being a teacher and ask your questions and do your work and explore face to face. It’s stupid to have the same lecture being given handmade 10,000 times a day across the country when we can get one person to do it great for the people who want to hear it.

Number two, open book note all the time. There is zero value in memorizing. Anything ever again, anything that is worth memorizing is worth looking up. So we shouldn’t spend any time teaching people to memorize stuff.

Number three access to any course, anywhere in the world. Anytime you want to take it. So this notion that we have to do things in a certain order based on physical location and chronology makes no sense.

Number four, precise focused education, instead of mass batch stuff. That’s and we make almost everything we buy now, right? It used to be, you could have any color car as long as black, so we could keep the assembly line going. But now they make 10,000 kinds of cars cause they can, so we should make 10,000 kinds of education,


no more multiple choice exams.

Those were invented to make them easy to score, but computers are smarter than that measuring experience instead of test scores, because experience is what we really care about. The end of compliance as an outcome. The resume is a proof that you have complied for years and years and years with famous brand names.

And it gets you your next job. It’s worthless now and cooperation instead of isolation. Why do we do anything? Where we ask people to do it all by themselves? When then we put them in the real world and say, cooperate for more teachers, role transforms into coach, lifelong learning with work happening earlier in your life.


And. Really important. The death of the famous college, not good college. We don’t know what a good colleges, but we know what a famous colleges cause someone ranked them as famous or because they have a football team. That’s famous. Why on earth are we paying extra? Why on earth? Are we working harder to comply and be obedient?

Just so we can get a famous brand name that has no relevance to success or happiness. But after our name,


I want to show you one more device. I have over here as I start to do this, this is called an Arduino, and it’s a little bit like a raspberry PI. They’re both electronic devices that cost 20 to $30 each the raspberry PI, which you can buy for $25 has on it.

The complete Linux operating system, a USB port, audio out, and a monitor. So if we take that cable and that keyboard and that monitor, we already have in front of almost every kid in this country and hand them one of these, we can then say to them, go build something interesting and ask if you need help, why wouldn’t we want to teach our kids to go do something interesting?

Why wouldn’t we want our teach our kids to figure it out? And yet every day we send kids to school and say, do not figure it out, do not ask questions. I do not know the answer to do not look it up. Do not vary from the curriculum and better, better, better, better, better comply, fit in. Be like your peers.

Do what you’re told because I must process you because everything in my evaluation is based. On whether or not I processed you properly.

So there are two myths. I want to close with

the first one. And we gotta be really honest with ourselves about this myth. One great performance in school leads to happiness and success.

If that’s not true, we should stop telling ourselves it is. And two great parents have kids who produce great performance in school. If that’s not true, we should stop telling ourselves it is.

Are we asking our kids to collect dots or connect dots? Because we’re really good at measuring how many dots they collect, how many facts they have memorized, how many boxes they have filled in, but we teach nothing about how to connect those dots.

You cannot teach connecting dots in the dummy’s manual. You cannot teach connecting dots in a textbook. Can only do it by putting kids into a situation where they can fail grades aren’t illusion, passion, and insight are reality. Your work is more important than your conduits to an answer. Key persistence in the face of a skeptical authority figure is priceless.

And yet we undermine it. Fitting in is a short term strategy that gets you nowhere. Standing out is a longterm strategy that takes guts and produces results. If you care enough about your work to be willing to be criticized for it, then you have done a good day’s work. So what now, what now? What should we do?

Because we’ve been talking about it a whole lot. Only one thing, ask the question. What is school for when they say this is our new textbook, the question is, is that going to help us with getting what school is for when they say this is the new superintendent we need to say yes, but is this superintendent going to help us do what we think school is for?

And if you don’t know what school is for, then have a conversation about it, because until we can agree what school is for, we’re not going to get what we need. Thank you for the work you do. I appreciate it.

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