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Lance is the creator of The Influence Formula and the popular Influence Spectrum Quiz. As a professional speaker, he has shared his groundbreaking formula with audiences across the country.
His background includes time as a prolific fundraiser, dynamic sales trainer, highly-rated professor, and published author. He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in executive leadership.
Lance is married and has six kids; they are all boys except for five of them. In his spare time, he enjoys competing in Mr. Clean look-alike competitions.
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Full episode transcription
Rob: Hey, engagers, and welcome to another episode of the Professor Game Podcast. And we have Lance with us today. But, Lance, before we initiate, we need to know, are you prepared to engage?
Lance: Rob, I was born ready. Let’s do this.
Rob: Let’s do this. Let’s go. Because we have with us today Lance Brown, who is the creator of the influence formula and the popular influence Spectrum Quiz. He’s a professional speaker and he has shared his groundbreaking formula with audiences across the country, that being the United States of America. His background includes time as a prolific fundraiser, dynamic sales trainer, highly rated professor, and published author.
Rob: His bachelor’s degree is in marketing, and he has a master’s degree in executive leadership. He’s married, has six kids. They’re all boys except for five of them. And in his spare time, he enjoys competing in Mr. Clean look like competitions.
Rob: So, Lance, is there anything we want to make sure that we know before we start into deeper stuff, so to speak?
Lance: Rob, you failed to mention how many pushups I can do. Other than that, I think you got it.
Rob: Amazing. Amazing. So, Lance, we always like to understand because many, most, or even all of our guests tend to have a high rate of success in their own capacity, right? So people sometimes say, like, put you in a pedestal and so on. So we’d like to know more of your daily life.
Rob: What does that look like? What are you doing in a day like today? I don’t know. Tomorrow, the past week? How does that look like?
Rob: How does it feel like to be Lance nowadays?
Lance: Well, you’d mentioned in my bio six kids, which tend to dictate my life right now. So my oldest is 14, and I’ve got a six month old, and I am a family man at my core. So I’ve got a beautiful wife of 16 years, and we are running to soccer games and black football games. So that’s my biggest priority in life. But obviously, from a career standpoint, my current job is I work at a university.
Lance: It’s called Utah Tech University, as the director of development. Not in the sense of computer developmeNt, but it’s actually fundraising. And so I primarily hang out with millionaires, with people that are incredibly capable, incredibly generous. It’s a great way to make me feel insecure about myself because I hang out with highly competent people. And that looks like, man.
Lance: I take them golfing a lot, I go to lunches a lot, I host at athletic events a lot. So my probably biggest success to date is I fundraise for a new football stadium remodel, and a new locker room. So attend a lot of football games, travel with our football team. And when I get done with that, I go home and chase kids, man. And then you mentioned the speaking thing.
Lance: This is a side hustle now for three years, and I probably do one to two speaking gigs a month. Sometimes they’re virtual, sometimes I’m hopping on a plane. And I just got back from Branson, Missouri. I actually have a virtual gig with a youth group from Iowa tomorrow. So I’m very engaged with sharing my expertise both within my work and outside it.
Rob: Amazing. So many things going on. But as you mentioned, you also have your sort of day job, your stuff that you’re doing all the time, but also exciting stuff coming up on the side, so to speak, on your speaking and all of that. So amazing. Yeah, absolutely.
Rob: So I mentioned before, we kind of like to humanize our guests, and this is another attempt at that because we would like to know about one of those times when things did not go your way.
Rob: One of those times when you faced one of your, what you might call your favorite fail, perhaps first attempt at learning, especially when it comes to, as you were mentioning, human relations influence, which is, and we were discussing this in the pre interview chat, it’s at the core of, when we talk about know, human behavior, persuasion, influences is at the core of what we’re doing. So we’d like to know one of your experiences doing such a thing and of course, how it failed and what you did to come out of it.
Lance: Yeah. So this might depress you, Rob, and your listeners, but I actually was a door to door salesman for twelve years straight. I figure, wow, knocked on 100,000 doors. I’ve got the calluses to prove it. And these are not just 100,000 doors, it’s 100,000 people with unique backgrounds, perspectives, insights.
Lance: And Nils Bohr said that an expert is just somebody who has failed multiple times in a particular field or area. Well, if you’ve never tried door to door cells, it’s like emotional whack a mole. And I remember my very first attempt at doing this, just being like, I mean, just door after door was slammed in my face. And one day in particular being like, man, this is rough, I need a stiff drink. And so as I sat on the curb outside the convenience store and cracked open my can of diet Dr.
Lance: Pepper, who we kid, and I was young, it was real Dr. Pepper. I had a decision to make, man. I could quit, give up, go home, and I could go back and probably get a job farming or something in my small rural Utah town. Or I could try to beat this thing.
Lance: And I had this moment of realization that I was focusing too much on myself. I was thinking about my sales, about my commission, about my college tuition. And it just hit me that I needed to focus on other people. And I don’t know what shifted what happened, but I got back out on those doors. And all that fear and that anxiety that I felt gave way to excitement and enthusiasm.
Lance: I couldn’t wait to see who was behind the doors. I started to see them as a human being and as a person. And anyway, that led to a twelve year career as a door to door salesman. Naturally, as my expertise grew, I started to get into training capacities. And so I say, much of what I’ve learned didn’t come from the safety of my college classrooms.
Lance: I got a bachelor’s degree in marketing, a master’s degree in executive leadership. But while I was paying for those degrees, I like to say I got a PhD in people. But yeah, there were some rough days and some rough moments, and most people don’t last as long as I did in a unique career like that. But it really made me who I am today.
Rob: Sounds like quite the experience. And was there anything that triggered you into realizing this? Because it’s one of those things where you kind of read a book and the skies opened up and almost like a divine experience. And this came through to you. But sometimes, again, not always, but sometimes there is some form of a trigger.
Rob: Something happened, you saw something, you heard something. Was there something that came to you to give you this sort of clue of focusing on other people?
Lance: So funny that you should ask that, Rob. As I was sitting there on that curb, I had a short story kind of come to mind. And it was shared with me just a few weeks prior by the creator of the products I was selling. It’s a guy named Richard Rich. Great man.
Lance: He was a former Walt Disney director. He directed Fox and the Hound, Winnie the Pooh, Pete’s Dragon. Some of your engagers may be familiar with those movies. But he shared a story about a rabbi and his students. And the rabbi had posed a question to the class.
Lance: He said, class, how can you tell when night turns today? He said, one of the students rose their hand and said, night turns today when you’re looking out your front window and you see a roof and you recognize it as your neighbors. The rabbi said, oh, interesting. That’s pretty good, but not quite what I’m looking for. Another hand shot up and a student said, you can tell night has turned today when you’re in the woods, and you see a ferocious animal running at you, and then you can recognize it as your dog instead of a wolf.
Lance: The rabbi said, interesting. That’s interesting, but that’s not quite what I’m looking for. And then he said, class night turns today when you look into a stranger’s eyes and you see a brother or a sister instead of a stranger. And I don’t know why, but for some reason, that hit me. And I got thinking, yeah, quit thinking about me and what I can get out of people start seeing these people as family and as brothers and sisters and how can I serve them?
Lance: And I’ve since kind of followed that model that I just ultimately approach everything I do from a perspective of service, and that everybody has inherent worth and value, and the money all just kind of falls into place after that. If I’m legitimately building value for others, everything else just kind of works out. So, yeah, that was what came to me. Funny you should ask.
Rob: You see, again, in my experience, it’s typically something that happens, some story, something happens at that point, and it clicks. And when it clicks, it’s very interesting. And I love the fact that you focus on this, because one of the things we like to talk about is how we need to focus when we’re talking about gamification. We need to focus on the players. And there’s a term I’ve heard from Monica Cornetti and Jonathan Peters, which they say you have to avoid self hugging.
Rob: That is when you’re designing for yourself and not for your user, not for your player, not for the other person who’s in the other side. You’re designing for yourself, which sometimes is the right thing to do, but most often than not, it is not. You have to look into other people, see what they’re after, what are their interests, what engages them. And there’s where you make your choices about, I go right, I go left, right. So, funny thing, amazing thing that you picked on that one.
Rob: Self hugging.
Lance: Self hugging. I’m going to use that all the time. Because it’s really easy to have a brilliant, transformational, life changing idea when it’s untested, right? And we just sit there and we talk ourselves into these. You know, I talk about that quote from Niels Bohr.
Lance: He said, an expert’s just somebody that’s failed multiple times in a particular area or field. It was through that just trial and error and exposure to consumers, right. That I refined my pitch and what my offer was and what resonated with people in those hotspots actually getting it out, exposing it to people, listening to people having that humility and that willingness to learn. What ultimately are they looking for? That’s a concept in gaming, in business, in life.
Rob: It is the thing to do, for sure. So, Lance, we’ve talked about those difficulties. They actually turned into a huge success for you. But let’s talk about the good times. Something that happened that, again, either the first or the nth try, it doesn’t matter.
Rob: We want to be there with you and understand what you would attribute are some of the factors of that success. What happened? What took you there? How did you get to those conclusions? Again, we want to live that story with you.
Rob: Just like when you were sitting on that sidewalk. We want to be there on that sidewalk with you once again.
Lance: Yeah. So last week, Rob, I got an email that I’m still feeling euphoric about. I’m still glowing. I got invited to speak on the biggest stage that I will have ever spoken in front of. We’re talking 3000 people.
Lance: And so far, I’ve been doing speaking gigs for 200 people. 300. I think the highest end is 500 people. And there’s such a rush with that. Again, I’m there to serve the audience, but I don’t know what it is.
Lance: It’s something I just was born to do. Anyway, this one in particular, I went to my wife and I said, honey, this stuff is all happening so fast. And she stopped me. She said, are you serious, Lance? Like, you refined your speaking ability on doors.
Lance: 100,000 doors we just talked about, and even being on different stages. I look back at the first few speaking gigs I did a few years ago, Rob, and I want to give them their money back. I’m like, oh, my gosh. I can’t believe people paid me for that. In fact, every rendition.
Lance: I hope that you and I listen to this podcast in two years and just kind of cringe, because that means we’re getting better right now. We’re doing the best we can, but you don’t ultimately get better until you put yourself out there and you continually do and act. And so to finally get a stage like this has been a bit of a validation that, yeah, I’ve probably had a lot of critics on my early stages, and I’ve probably had people say, man, what’s that guy doing up there? And I’ve dealt with some impostor syndrome from that. But, yeah, to receive that validation and then to hear my wife say, this didn’t come easy.
Lance: You’ve been working on this for decades. You earned this. You deserve this was kind of a cool and defining moment.
Rob: Definitely sounds like it. And again, you mentioned you’ve been refining this for years, but what was that tipping point? What do you think actually led the people who called you say, yeah, what we want right now, what we need is to have lands on this stage. We want to have lands today. What do you think took you there?
Rob: Maybe again, years of lots of stuff, but maybe there was a tipping point or I don’t know. What do you think?
Lance: Well, great question. So the reason I feel like it went fast is because finally for the first time in my life really aligned with what I feel like I’m supposed to do. We all have unique skills and talents and I’m 41 now, hit the big 40 plus one. And it’s taken me a decade or two of refinement to learn where my unique skills and abilities are. And so when I’m working in that space, in the speaking space, it’s fun.
Lance: I’m completely passionate about it. But I also know that there’s a market for it, there’s a need for it. And I’ve done a lot of things that are fun. For instance, like I’m an amateur drummer and guitar player, right? But I’m not good enough that people are clamoring for Lance to come to their audience of 2000, 3000 people.
Lance: I exclusively play for my three year old at bedtime. So that’s fun for me. Time flies, but there’s not a market for it. Right. Speaking is one of those things that’s fun for me.
Lance: But I’ve also found that there’s demand for it. It’s something I do better than most people. And so that’s why it’s all gone really fast. From crowds of 200 to 500 to 3000 in. What felt like a blink of an eye to me is because I am loving it and it doesn’t feel like work at all.
Rob: Amazing. So Lance, all this experience that you’ve mentioned, I’m certain that you’ve gone through things over and over again. There’s some stuff you’ve done more than once and you’ve developed that into some form of a process. So if you wanted to use, as you mentioned before, influence, persuasion, one of these things to get people to, again, ethically, we always mentioned this to do something right, to take some form of action. What is the process?
Rob: How do you do it again? Of course, you probably have, you could fill a whole podcast just about doing this, but in again, five minutes or so. How would you define that process? How does it go?
Lance: Yeah, well, you talked about kind of the power of moments at the beginning of the podcast, and I had that one sitting there on the curb. I had a few other moments that kind of sprung me to action here when I was in a sales capacity. We do the sales training every year, and we’d bring these guys in and to come speak and get everybody hyped up, and they would walk out the door with a $5,000 check, and I was left with implementation, and I was like, wait a minute, I want that gig an hour. That was always kind of planted in the back of my head that I wanted to do that someday. I just got done talking about working within my unique skill set, where I have a talent or some ability that was maybe developed or God given, I don’t know.
Lance: But I grew up like a lot of naive, probably young boys wanting to be a professional athlete. So my sport was basketball, and I was going to play in the NBA. And at one point, I just realized that it wasn’t in the cards for me. I was a good high school basketball player, didn’t quite get to the collegiate level, and I always just looked at the players in the NBA and thought, well, they’re just much more physically mature than me. Well, one day I was watching a game, and I realized that all the people on the court were younger than me.
Lance: So I was like, oh, I can’t use the excuse anymore that they’re just more physically mature. These are kids now. And I watch this incredible performance. This guy had 48 points, nine rebounds, bunch of assists, just dominated the game. And then in the post game interview, Rob, this guy couldn’t even put a sentence together.
Lance: I was like, he was incredible on the court, but he could barely. So I was in this kind of this contemplating what my unique gifts were, and I realized I’ve been speaking, talking in church settings, school settings, leadership settings, cell settings my entire life. That’s the equivalent of being six foot, 8280 pounds with a 4540 or whatever. And so I just thought, this is it. Like I found it.
Lance: This whole time I’ve been using the excuse of I don’t know what I’m born to do. And I’ve been searching. First, I guess, to answer your question in kind of a long, roundabout way, you have to identify what you’re born to do. And I think most of your so much of failure is indecision. It’s just like, should I go this way?
Lance: Should I go that way? We wait, we hesitate, and we put off action because we’re not exactly sure which road we want to travel, right? I would assume most of your listeners have found that. So if you’ve found that, then it’s like, what are you waiting for? And I had a lot of distractions, a lot of things I’d mentioned at the beginning of the podcast.
Lance: A lot of kids, a side hustle, a day job. It was when COVID came, and I thought I’d contracted it. I still never have, at least according to all the tests. I’ve taken multiple tests. When I ever have a cold, a runny nose, whatever, never had it.
Lance: But early, before we knew much about it, I did have a really bad cold. And I just got back from New Orleans, which was kind of a hotspot. And so I self quarantined. My kids couldn’t touch me, my wife couldn’t touch me. And I just was sitting there in my room for three days, and I finally had all the distractions just right come to a halt.
Lance: And I started my speaking business in 2020. And so I guess the other answer to your question would be to find a way to limit distractions for me. It took a worldwide pandemic, right. But I have since tried to implement processes where I use that word process. It’s a beautiful word, where I schedule a time with no distractions, and I have bills to pay.
Lance: I have to work my day job, I have to feed my kids. But I actually at night, and I can’t do it while sitting down because I’ll fall asleep, because I’m exhausted. But I will go on walks in the neighborhood, and I will rehearse my stuff. I’ll rehearse my content. And the neighbors probably think I’m the local crazy person talking to himself because I’m just out walking this block and I’m talking and rehearsing my stuff.
Lance: But that’s worked for me. And now I almost look back at that, Rob as sacred time. I will never forget those days, that neighborhood that I just circled, rehearsing my stuff, because that was the process, and that was the joy in the journey to get to where I ultimately have been able to capture large audiences and amazing, amazing.
Rob: Love that story just as much. And Lance, you’ve heard a bit of the vibe of the podcast. We had a bit of a pre interview chat as well, discussing some of the things we do and some of the interests that we have. Does anybody come to your mind, you say, well, this person perhaps would be interesting to answer those questions. It’d be a podcast I’d definitely be interested in listening to.
Rob: Did somebody come to your mind a future guest, perhaps, for Professor Game?
Lance: You know, I’d have to put some thought into it. Rob, I’d be so happy to refer people to this. You’ve built an incredible platform. You do such a good job. And one of the benefits of my day job, I’m a fundraiser.
Lance: And so I hang out exclusively with incredibly competent, capable people that have built and sold businesses. Incredible artists, athletes, musicians. I’d be really curious to hear an artist specifically, and I know some great ones, talk about their process and refinement and putting their stuff out there and having that courage to do that early and get to. I mean, we’ve got a world renowned artist that works at the university. His name is Del Parsons and I’ll talk to him and others because I love to hear people’s stories as well.
Rob: It’s all about the story. Definitely.
Rob: Lance, I’m sure you’ve read a lot. There’s a lot of reference that you can mention. But if I asked you what is a one book that you could recommend, obviously, on your topic, on influence, persuasion, what book would that be? And a quick answer to why it would be that book.
Lance: Man. You’re right. I’m an avid reader and I’m halfway through my book. There’s a big difference, Rob, between writing a book and finishing a book. And so I still got a ways to go to actually finish it.
Lance: But a lot of the inspiration I draw from, I’m a huge. Well, there’s one on the topic of influence specifically, which I think is the reason I didn’t write my own book for so long, is because I’m like, what could you add to that? I mean, it’s brilliant. It’s the manual and it’s how to win Friends and Influence people by Del Carnegie changed my life. I read it in those early sales days.
Lance: Every person on the planet, regardless of industry or career discipline, ought to read how to win friends and influence people. It’s been in print for 75 years, millions of copies sold, and it’s just a classic. And it’s really guided me through my career in life. Another fantastic one is the Seven Habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey. He was really an idle example, somebody I looked up to.
Lance: He tragically passed away in a biking accident about seven years ago. He’s in the same area that I am, but nationally and internationally renowned. I mean, his book has also sold millions and been in print forever. So those are probably my biggest recommendations. And then when I complete mine, I’ll put it right behind.
Rob: Absolutely. Absolutely. That makes sense. So, Lance, you’ve mentioned a lot of things that you’ve been doing. You’ve all the way from the door to door selling to speaking at a stage at this point, and of course, your day job as well.
Rob: But what would you say is your superpower, that thing that you do at least better than most other people in the world?
Lance: That’s a great question. This is how nerdy I am, Rob. But my last speaking gig in Missouri, I actually had my mom and dad come with me, and I enjoyed that. They wanted to hear me speak. It had been a long time.
Lance: They’ve kind of enjoyed seeing the success I’ve found in that regard. And that’s a fun kind of destination. So we went and we did some vacationing, and then it was the first time I’ve had somebody give me some really honest feedback on where I was strong and where I was weak. And not just in the speaking, but just in general to essentially define your question, what my superpower is. And my dad said, I think you underestimate your ability to take genuine and sincere interest in others.
Lance: He goes, the reason you can talk to anybody is because you care about everybody. And he said, you see value. You want to learn. You genuinely ask questions that light people up. And I think that ties back to that original moment where I kind of had to stop focusing on Lance and start focusing on others.
Lance: And I’ve spent a career doing that. And I would say that’s my superpower is honestly just genuine.
Rob: Hmm. That’s a very good one to have, for sure. And, Lance, maybe this one comes out a right feel for you. But what would you say is your favorite game? If you have one favorite game, it could be basketball.
Lance: Basketball and golf are the two games I play the most. As far as a digital know. My boy, you mentioned in my intro, I’ve got six kids, five girls. Some people are probably still confused on that. Five girls, one poor boy.
Lance: And he is my, you know, I talk a lot in my training about simplicity. I think the reason Apple has taken off is because of simplicity. I think the reason most brands take off is they’re incredibly powerful and competent, but they’re able to simplify. And again, I don’t know anything about gaming, but I love the simplicity of a game like Crossy Road. Like, me and my boy can play Crossy road for hours.
Lance: And that might be the lamest answer you’ve ever had on this podcast. Growing up, it was like tech mobile, and it was Street Fighter and Mario Kart. And then there’s just been this big gap in my life until I’ve had this boy that’s now obsessed and I’ll probably launch into more, but I just love to do that with him.
Rob: Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense. And thank you for that answer. There’s no lame answers. It’s always interesting to see what people are into.
Rob: And again, especially when we’re talking to very serious people and CEO and so on, and you’re saying, well, what we’re here to do is something called gamification. And they say, we’re a serious company. We’re doing serious work that has no space here for us, because, again, we’re doing serious work. This is not our thing. In fact, I hate games.
Rob: I’ve actually heard this. And then you start asking like, yeah, you hate games. Do you have kids? Most of the times I say yes. So they’ve played.
Rob: That’s an easy one. Oh, no, I don’t have kids. It’s like, okay, this is a challenge. And say, do you like sports? And there’s a 99.99% chance that they like some sport or have liked some sport, and that’s a game.
Rob: We kind of forget that they’re essentially games.
Lance: They’re both profits. They are, yeah.
Rob: How professional they’ve become and the athletes, how focused their careers are and so on, which I love. I mean, don’t get me wrong, but we tend to forget that they’re games, essentially, not only games, because that makes it sound like that’s a bad thing, but they are games. And again, it’s not good, it’s not bad. It is what it is. They are games, and it’s easy to forget.
Rob: And there’s lots of lessons we can take from those games just as well. Yeah, there you go.
Lance: I contemplate on that a lot because I’d mentioned I do fundraising for athletics, for football stadium, those kind of things. And here I am devoting my nine to five, essentially, my career, to games, all right, to sports. And so I’ve asked, as I’ve tried to find more purpose or meaning behind the work I’m doing. And for me, I bonded with my dad and my brothers through sports, through games. And so there’s something about connecting around that.
Lance: My brother in laws that are still very much into gaming, they throw on the headsets and they connect with their friends around the world through game and through sports. So, yeah, there’s something about it. And I don’t care how serious or important you think you are. We all are attracted to or need that in our absolutely.
Rob: Absolutely. Thanks for that answer as well. So, Lance, we’re getting to the end of the interview, but of course, please let us know if there’s anything, anywhere you want to lead us to where we can find out more about your work. If you have any final piece of advice, this is a time before we say it’s game over.
Lance: Thanks, Rob. Yeah, if anybody wants to learn more about what I do or if they want. So Lancewbrown.com is my website, lancewbrown.com. I think what people like the most about going there is I have an influence spectrum quiz there, and you can see how I do. Rob, at gamification on my influence Spectrum Quiz, I tried to make it fun versus just a typical quiz.
Lance: And you can find out if you’re a rocket scientist or a comedian, which are the symbols I use for credibility and relatability, the two key characteristics for influence. And I find that we predominantly rely on one of those key characteristics or the other for influence. And I think there’d be a lot of application for your listeners by going and doing that. There’s a long version of the quiz and a short version. Again, I know attention spans today, and the short version takes three minutes.
Lance: So, yeah, do that. As far as final advice or insight, I loved, and I will never forget what you said about self hugging. And I think that ties in with what my dad said about my curiosity in others. And I just think the secret to success in any career or endeavor is getting outside yourself and serving others, thinking about others, connecting with others, it’ll inform what you are doing. It’ll help you.
Lance: But if we approach it from the outside in, I think it was Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, that said, we are not in the coffee business serving people. He said, we’re in the people business serving coffee. And I think there’s a careful distinction there. And ultimately, at the end of the dAy, in everything that we’re doing, we’re serving people first. And I think if your listeners keep that in mind, they’ll produce some incredible things in their life and in career.
Rob: We are serving other people. I love that. I love how it sounds. I love what it means. Thank you for that one, for sure.
Rob: Very quotable as any good speaker, that’s for sure. So pretty good one. Thanks again, Lance. This has been a blast, at least for me. I hope you also had half as much fun as I had.
Rob: At least it’s definitely been a blast. Hopefully the engagers have also gotten a lot of value as we have. However, Lance, however, engagers as you know, at least for now, and for today, it is time to say that it’s game over. Engagers. It is fantastic to have you around, and thank you for listening to our podcast.
Rob: If you want amazing interviews with guests like Lance, please go to Professorgame.com Slash subscribe and get started on our email list for free. If you’re already there or once you do subscribe, I’d love to get your feedback on what you think about these kinds of episodes. Subscribing to this list is absolutely for free, so go ahead to do so if you haven’t already. And before you go on to your next mission, also for free another freebie, go ahead and subscribe or follow using your favorite podcast app and listen to the next episode of Professor Game. See you there.
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