Concentric Conference

24 January 2020

8am to 5pm, Pacific USA time

Live and online via Zoom

CX and UX are at the heart of everything your company does. Without customer satisfaction, it doesn’t matter how Agile, Lean, efficient, productive, or anything else you think you are. Your cool tech, your CI/CD pipeline, your expensive re-brand, and paid social influencers will all mean nothing if you don’t have happy customers.

Concentric is an event where each presentation ties back to the customer’s experience… The UX of a digital interface or the human perception of a brand, service, store, or experience. It’s all about the X!

Target attendees are all roles in creative, software dev, and tech including CX, UX, UI, product, project, engineering, devops, BAs, security, marketing, sales, etc. Target companies are any company of any size including startups. This event is for anyone interested in how to create improvements to their product, process, and culture so that they are improving customer communication and satisfaction.

Join Us Live on Slack

In addition to the live webinar-style presentations and sessions, each attendee will be invited to our private Slack channels for the event. Connect with other attendees and speakers.

This is a first time event, and we have chosen to not open it to sponsorships. Therefore, you will not be contacted by any vendors. Concentric 2020 is brought to you by Delta CX (and only us).


There will be three Zoom webinar “rooms” running at the same time.The rooms are not tracks and don’t have any particular themes.

Most presenters have given permission to be recorded.

Room 1
8:00am – 8:15am
15 minutes

Opening Remarks

Delta CX CEO Debbie Levitt welcomes everybody to the event!

Room 1

8:15am – 8:45am
30 minutes

Making Data Actionable: From Concept to Visualization

Anyone can make a pretty bar graph, but can you make sound decisions based on what your development staff currently provides? How do you turn a flashy concept into an actionable visualization? Can you see the end result? Will your ideas become reality? Do you have the vision and drive to figure out how to get from today to tomorrow before it becomes yesterday?

American mathematician John Tukey once said, “The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” What value do you see in your data? And what ideas do you have when you see it? Learn how you can capitalize on your ideas and turn them into reality by blending the internal with the external, leveraging them into a cohesive strategy for both the short term AND the long term. See the five “Stages of the Spectrum” in action while discovering the difference between impact and influence, and how that plays into making data actionable.

Key takeaways:

  • Understand and recognize the five stages of visualization spectrum.
  • Learn how to leverage these steps into a cohesive visualization strategy.
  • Discover the difference between impact/influence and how that plays into making data actionable.

Dr. Joe Perez, Sr Systems Analyst & Team Lead at NC Dept of Health and Human Services

Senior Systems Analyst / Team Lead (Bringing innovation to life!)
Having received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in secondary education, Joe began a ten-year career as a high school teacher providing instruction in economics, Spanish, Bible, and computers. While in his teaching career, he furthered his graduate education, earning a doctorate degree in education with a double-minor in computers and theology. His career focus changed to IT in 1992 when he started as a Computer Consultant at NC State University. Three promotions later, Dr. Perez ended his successful 25-year career at NC State as Business Intelligence Specialist when he took another promotion to become Senior Business Analyst at the NC Department of Health & Human Services in September 2017, and has since been promoted to Senior Systems Analyst and Team Lead. With more than 6000 followers on LinkedIn and several professional certifications, Perez has stayed active in the IT community as a much sought-after resource, highly-recommended technical/motivational speaker, data analytics & visualization expert, and specialist in efficiency and process improvement.

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Room 3

8:15am – 9:15am

1 hour

Better Surveys, Better Products: How to Create Surveys That Work!

Have you ever received an online survey in your inbox and ignored it?
Or looked at the survey, but didn’t answer all of the questions?
Or maybe you answered all the questions but didn’t provide accurate data?!

If so, you’re not alone. Most surveys in the field are poorly constructed, resulting in survey fatigue for customers and unreliable data for businesses.

When done correctly, surveys are an invaluable tool. They help us to:

  • Understand how users make decisions
  • Learn what drives our customer base
  • And ultimately drive strategy & innovation

    But how do you create a winning survey that actually works? In this session you’ll learn…

    1. How to create surveys that provide you with actionable data you can use to improve your product or service

      • What questions to ask (and what questions not to)
      • What are the pitfalls of survey questions and how to avoid them
    2. How to get more people to take complete your survey
      • What are the best industry tools you can use to send out your survey
      • When to conduct a survey
      • What subject lines get the best responses
    3. And why 1-10 rating scales are terrible! (Don’t worry, we’ll tell you what to do instead)

Dan Zola, Managing Partner & Research Director of Sway UX

Dan Zola’s devotion to UX principles began nearly 20 years ago, as a key player in the MovieFone experience.

Since then, he’s developed digital products and lead teams across a variety of industries, ranging from healthcare to entertainment. Most notably, Dan has spent five years at MTV working to deepen the emotional connection with television viewers and digital users (ask him about his run-in with Justin Timberlake).

Dan then extended his expertise to the pharmaceutical industry, working to provide a smoother experience for patients who are taking a more active role in their healthcare in the digital space.

Dan is Managing Partner & Research Director of Sway UX, an award-winning a user experience research & design agency that creates websites and mobile apps with a focus on healthcare & technology. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English, Dan lives in Chapel Hill, NC with his wife and two children.

Kerry Thompson, Co-Founder and CEO at Sway UX

Kerry is an award-winning designer who has been researching, designing, and architecting web and mobile experiences for over 20 years. She is obsessed with digital products and the people who use them.

She has led UX and creative efforts for national and global entities in finance, biopharma & healthcare. He past work includes a wide range of clients including GlaxoSmithKline, Fidelity Investments & Emily’s List.

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Room 1

9:00am – 9:30am

30 minutes

Bridging the Physical and Digital World: Combining UX with Architecture

The spaces in which we live, work, and play incorporate various technologies for enhancing interactions within our environments. As UX professionals, we excel at studying technology use and designing to support users, but we may only allocate a comparatively small amount of effort studying environments. However, with more spaces being designed to incorporate smart and/or immersive technologies, opportunities abound for UX professionals to collaborate with architects to understand the design and use of space.

This might sound both daunting and exciting, but the evidence-based design process of architects complements the innate curiosity and drive of UX professionals to understand and improve the world around us. This talk will highlight the synergies between UX and architecture, exploring how the disciplines can successfully work together to infuse technology into physical spaces.

Leslie McFarlin, Sr UX Designer, STLArchitects

Leslie has 14 years in UX working as a researcher, interaction designer, and information architect. She recently transitioned from software and AI UX to the UX of architecture and interior design.

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Room 2

9:00am – 9:30am

30 minutes

Game Theory for Promoting Strategic Human Interactions to Create Designs That Matter

In this age where the stage is rife with great opinions and ideas, it has become increasingly challenging to converge our actions toward a common goal. In our aspirations to becoming impactful designers, business owners, thought leaders, movement creators, we constantly push our ideologies onto one another. We marvel at how technology gives us the power to build our personalities and paint new worlds. Look around you. It’s about time we step back and devise strategies to help humanity arrive at an ideological confluence.

How can we become thought leaders and not get stuck at the thought. How can we reach an optimal outcome that satisfies all parties involved? What mind tools or strategy can we use to get clarity of a playground occupied by actors with different motivations.

We will explore the use of game theory to understand how to maximize individual payoffs in a discussion with multiple stakeholders. We will discuss how to frame a game with multiple actors, and learn how to play our best strategies as designers to make equitable choices and create designs that matter

Jeffery Dernbach, UX Strategist at T-Mobile

I am a user experience strategist focusing on design for extraordinary users in non-office based environments. My research focus is on Behavioral Game Theory and how it can be applied with designer problems by focusing on designer’s agency improve their ability to sell design to stakeholders and multi-disciplinary teams to realize impactful user experiences. Currently designing and researching with T- Mobile in an agile design team creating the future of communications software.

Lubna Thabseem, Sr Learning Experience Designer

Lubna is a learning experience designer advocating usability of learning products through human-centered design practices. She recently joined the learning design services team at a leading business consulting and financial services company to pursue her research on improving learner engagement and retention for the evolving workforce. Lubna is currently researching the application of Behavioral Game Theory within the design landscape to improve human to human interactions and promote responsible design.

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Room 1

9:45am – 10:15am

30 minutes

Transforming The Steel Industry Via Prototyping & Personas

The steel industry is an old school industry. While we were given a mandate to “transform how our customers interact with us” by our leadership, we found that building user-driven solutions performed exponentially better than trying to shoe-horn customers into canned e-commerce experiences. This talk will describe a few of those cases and talk about the methodologies that went into engaging customers who haven’t changed their method of ordering in 30 years.

Jonathan Toler, Head of Product & Innovation at Kloeckner Metals

Jonathan is a Product & Technology innovator with glorious wins (and a few losses) in both the B2C & B2B space. Currently Jonathan is tasked with leading the digital transformation of a 8 Billion Dollar steel distributor.

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Room 2

9:45am – 10:15am

30 minutes

Impact of Meaningful Conversations in Teams Towards Designing Ethical Products

Today more and more product teams understand the value of human centric design. However, how many of us can claim that we are bringing in the authenticity needed to design and develop products that are ethical? Design could also be misused using consumer psychology to increase sales and usage.
I will be using this platform to provide actionable steps for multidisciplinary teams to have meaningful conversations amongst them so as to design products which are ethical and desirable for the user, technologically viable and financially feasible.

Shalakha Jain, Design Strategist and User Researcher

Shalakha has been developing strategic design solutions informed by deep user research for the past 6 years from both a developing and developed country context. She holds 2 master’s degrees in design and a bachelor’s degree in economics.

Her critical and analytical thinking enables her to go beyond the known, find novel connections in complex systems and synthesize design solutions with strong ethical values.
​Active listening and photographic memory are her natural strengths.

In her free time she goes on random walks to explore new destinations, daydream, and meet new people to hear interesting stories!

For the past 2 years, she has been conducting research on ethical design to design practices that help find the right balance in a tech dependent world. Her research was extended with a more in depth strategic analysis of the role of conversations at the workplace and how to continuously strive for a better work culture.

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Room 2

10:30am – 11:00am

30 minutes

Transform Your Brand’s Customer Experience by Using AI

Enterprises use archaic approaches to understand their customer. Digital listening and Voice of customer programs suffer from inadequate data, inefficient techniques and shallow insights.

In practice, Customer experience analytics is often reduced to sentiment analysis or superficial text summaries. They result in more reports but don’t lead to any intelligence or actionability.

This session introduces the best practices in managing Customer Experience through advanced analytics and AI. Staying vendor-neutral, it presents the latest approaches using real-life case studies.

It shows how organizations can gain an integrated view of the customer. By combining listening channels such as social media, voice-of-customer and contact center interactions, it shows how to:

  • Identify the right data sources to capture user inputs
  • Apply AI through language models to understand customer intent
  • Present an integrated view of the customer to recommend executive decisions

Ganes Kesari, Co-Founder & Head of Analytics at Gramener

Ganes co-founded Gramener (, an award-winning Data science company, where he heads Analytics and Innovation. Ganes has advised hundreds of enterprises like E&Y, Deloitte, Novartis on their analytics journey and has helped several NGOs such as the Gates Foundation adopt data science and AI models in their conservation efforts. He is passionate about the confluence of machine learning, information design, and business value.

Ganes is a passionate writer, international speaker, and corporate trainer. He strives to simplify data science and help everyone understand its true potential. He speaks regularly in leading conferences around the world such as O’Reilly Strata, O’Reilly AI Conf, TEDx, HubSpot Inbound, AnacondaCON, Fifth Elephant.

His articles have a wide following on Medium, where he has been recognized as a top writer in ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (

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Room 2

11:15am – 11:45am

30 minutes

Driving the Customer Experience: UX + Warehouse Distribution at Next

UX plays a crucial role in making customer interfaces easier to use. However, this isn’t the only place UX can improve the overall customer experience and make a difference to business goals. Taking UX out of the office and into wider areas of business asks a bigger question – what else can UX do to make a difference to the customer experience?

Next UX collaborated with our Warehouse Distribution team to explore the world of our delivery drivers. Using ethnographic interviews and contextual inquiry, we aimed to deeply understand how UX could help refine the processes used by drivers. We went on to develop an app for the drivers to, in turn, improve the customer experience.

In this talk, we’ll share our key takeaways on combining UX with Warehouse Distribution processes. Join us to find out what we learned from this collaborative and immersive experience, and how you can expand UX in your business.

Laura Musgrave, Sr UX Researcher at Next

Laura is a Senior UX Researcher working in UK and international research for FTSE 100 retail brand Next. She’s passionate about developing effective design through an understanding of people’s needs, experiences and context.

Marie Simpson, UX Research Manager at Next

Marie is UX Research Manager for FTSE 100 retail brand Next, overseeing UK and international UX research. She combines a genuine passion for her work with deep expertise in interaction design and e-commerce.

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Lunch Break

60 minute break for meals and however you want to spend your time.

Room 1

12:45pm – 1:45pm

1 hour

Empowering and Engaging through Co-Creation

Co-creation is an integral part of Service Design and is shaping the way we design products and services in the future. Not only does it activate dialogue, but effectively brings people together to work towards a common goal by working collaboratively. One of the best parts of the Service Design process is facilitating and creating that platform for collaboration. There are countless tools out there available to map experiences, describe paths and journeys, but what we need are ways to explore, play freely and in an open and supportive environment. We need a clear vision and a clear activation plan, but flexible directions that will be traced along the way with confidence.

Jane Vita, Design Director, NA at Digitalist Canada

With over 20 years of experience under her belt, Jane’s used her expertise in many design competencies to work in projects for a range of different industries and countries. At Digitalist, she established the design unit in Vancouver and leads a team of 12 local designers. She also facilitates internal and external dialogue around the Service Design as a global practice. In client projects, she acts as a lead consultant helping customers discover their digital future.

Previously, Jane conducted lectures on Service Design in Digital Context at the Laurea University’s Service Innovation and Design Master’s program, where she also graduated in 2013. She is a Ph.D. student at Aalto University and owns a Bachelor in Graphic Design, and another Masters in Web Design. Together with the Aalto Learning Environments Research Group, Jane is involved in the research, design, and development of New Media tools; as well as their use and application, in the field of learning.

She regularly shares her work in publications, workshops and conferences. She is involved in the leadership of communities and associations such as the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), Service Design Network and Futures Specialists Helsinki. She is always interested in exploring new and established tools, approaches and techniques. She does it to enable herself and her colleagues to design services and products that are more useful, usable and desirable for customers and efficient and effective for organizations.

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Room 2

12:45pm – 1:45pm

1 hour

Building Design Systems That Span Organizations

Building design systems is tricky when there are multiple products which serve different purposes and the product owners are spread across not just different teams, but different organizations. In this session, attendees will learn what lies at the intersection of design systems and the product strategy. How teams could strategize and plan their approach while dealing with a suite of products with different stakeholders whose roles transcend organizational boundaries. Also, this session will touch on engaging product owners, project managers, developers and other designers in the system development process.

Adi Shanbhag, UX Architect II at ICF Next

Adi is a User Experience Architect at ICF Next in Fairfax, VA. As a UX Strategist and Designer, he helps the country’s top government organizations embed user-centric and design thinking practices in their product development processes to create enriching experiences for their products. He has experience working in consulting and product-based companies. He specializes in building scalable design systems for product and federal organizations and has worked with multiple cross-functional teams and has helped them bring consistency to their products and discipline to their design practices.

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Room 3

12:45pm – 1:45pm

1 hour

Navigating the UX Whirlpool: Guidelines for Successful Recruiting and Career Advancement

The world of UX has become increasingly difficult to navigate for companies and individuals alike.Companies have trouble finding qualified candidates and those seeking employment have trouble finding a good fit. Trying to navigate these spaces is like attempting to steer a boat in a whirlpool. This talk presents insights for both sides of the spectrum, identifying critical factors and providing tips to help optimize navigation of the challenging dynamics.

Darren Hood, Founder of UX Uncensored and Adjunct Professor at Kent State University

Darren is extremely passionate about all things UX, holding 22 years of experience in human-computer interaction and interaction design, with the last 16+ years focusing on UX, CX, and LX. In addition to being a member of the UX Department at United Wholesale Mortgage, Darren’s professional footprint spans such organizations as Ryder, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Bosch, Quicken Loans, Cengage Learning, National Geographic Learning, Unisys, Delphi, ed2Go, Duracell, JiffyLube, and USA Networks, to name a few. He has also worked for such high-profile digital design agencies as Wunderman (TeamDetroit, now known as GTB), MRM McCann, and DigitasLBi.

Darren serves as an adjunct professor for Kent State University’s UX Design Master’s program and as an adjunct at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, where he teaches Human-Computer Interaction and System Analysis and Design. Darren also teaches UX workshops for Grand Circus in Detroit. He holds a M.S. from Syracuse in Information Management, a M.S. in User Experience Design from Kent State, and a grad certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Northcentral University.

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Room 1

2:00pm – 3:00pm

1 hour

The Future of Culture is The Future of Work

Do you want to understand the future of work ?
Do you want to have a rich and robust culture ?
Do you want team members to embrace and share purpose and values ?
Do you want to understand the world’s best and worst organization cultures ?
Do you want to have a measure of your organization’s culture ?
If you answered yes to any of these then global culture research, the future of culture and work and pragmatic approaches to developing culture are here.

In this session, you will understand how a rich and robust culture is a cornerstone of successful organizations. You will be provided a truly a global perspective on the impact of culture through more than 80 global Interviews with companies spanning over 25 countries. You will learn about organizations that have succeeded (and failed) to create great cultures. You will understand the global trends for the future of work and the future of culture.
Attendees will be inspired to drive their organizations to even greater and richer cultures.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Understand rich and robust cultures and toxic and destructive cultures.
  • Develop ideas for framing, developing and refining organizational purpose and values that sit on a high level and provide an identity for all team members.
  • Understand the tools available for the measurement of culture and other non-financial key performance indicators.
  • Appreciate the future of work and take home strategies that can be implemented for the organization of the future, for the future of culture and the future of work.

Rael Bricker, Cultural Futurist, Author, and Mentor

Rael Bricker holds two Masters degrees, an MBA and MSc (engineering) and is currently a Fellow of the MFAA. (Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia) and a Professional Member of PSA (Professional Speakers Australia).

With over 30 years as a serial entrepreneur, Rael Bricker helps businesses succeed by delivering a series of dynamic talks on building businesses by thinking outside the box. Rael has been presenting for many years on business, culture, finance, investing, diversity and ethics. The learning is best practice combined with practical experience to achieve business excellence. Participants have found inspiration in the simple and practical approaches to running, growing and succeeding in business.

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Room 2

2:00pm – 3:00pm

1 hour

Designing Your Story

Without the ability to tell your story, designers struggle to get their ideas heard, let alone accepted and used. Without stories, it also becomes a struggle to get funding, tools, a raise, or have a seat at the strategy table. Business communications is not always a designers best strength, but there is a way to fix that.

Lee Andrese, Principal at akathame LLC

With over 20 years as a leader within the staffing industry, Lee’s perfected the art of advocating for and promoting design principles and the work of exceptional design practitioners in Fortune 500 and 100 companies, the government, including the Intelligence Community.

As a former high school teacher, Lee’s passion to learn and share her experience and knowledge led to the launch of akathame, a company dedicated to teaching others how to elevate the value of their capabilities, of the design function within the organization, as well as get the resources, funding, tools, and income needed to produce exceptional products that make loyal brand customers.

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Room 3

2:00pm – 3:00pm

1 hour

No Dark Patterns: Preventing Cognitive Biases From Creeping in to Your Design and User Research

Generally, people go into tests with good intentions of gathering accurate, pristine information, so how does all this bias creep in? It’s pretty common to have several psychological biases working against you that can cloud your design and user research. This talk will focus on surfacing some of the darkest types of bias and how to prevent and combat them. Also, learn how to use some of those cognitive biases for good in your designs. No dark patterns here folks.

Attendees will learn several important terms and practical tips about cognitive bias. This will increase their awareness of cognitive biases, help them to understand how to apply them in positive ways in their design and give them tangible ways to apply the concepts that they learn. It will also help them in future research efforts to prevent “leading the witness” and conduct bias-free research studies.

Jen Blatz, Sr Experience Designer at Fidelity

Jen Blatz is a Lead User Experience Designer and Researcher with expertise that lends itself to any industry. Jen’s path to UX started in journalism and graphic design where she learned the importance of aesthetics, organization, and catering content for the consumer. She has worked in a number of fields including finance, cloud storage, security and pet health. Jen is now at Fidelity Investments focusing on improving enterprise tools used by employees.
Jen loves being active in the UX community to learn and grow while helping others do the same. She is the co-founder of the UX Research and Strategy group, and of IXDA (Interaction Design Association) Dallas, she was the organizer of WIAD (World Information Architecture Day) DFW in 2019, and social media guru for several organizations, including Ladies that UX Dallas and Big Design. When not immersed in UX activities and speaking at local meetups, conferences and classes, Jen loves traveling, wine tasting, cooking and spending time with her husband and two doggos, Sadie and Ricky.

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Room 1

3:15pm – 4:45pm

1.5 hours

Stop Evangelizing UX – And What To Do Instead

No other role at your company spends time and effort evangelizing themselves the way we do. Developers aren’t making PowerPoints to explain why it’s important to hire qualified developers and let them write code. QA isn’t holding meetings to teach everyone the importance of testing software. It’s just us and it’s making us look weird and whiny. It’s rarely working and sometimes backfiring. How do you get CX and UX buy-in or start leveling up your company’s maturity?

This session will examine the pitfalls of evangelism and what actions we can take instead. We’ll look at how some of the popular methodologies we think are bringing everybody onto CX bandwagon might be training co-workers on how little they need us. We’ll be focusing on hiring CX specialists, the role of managers and leadership, processes, workflows, tools, and improving collaboration between us and our cross-functional teammates.

Most importantly, we’ll look at how to measure the ROI of CX. Without being able to prove our worth, we are unlikely to get a seat at the table or level up our company’s maturity.

Debbie Levitt, Chief Experience Officer at Delta CX

Debbie Levitt, CEO of Delta CX, has been a CX and UX strategist, designer, and trainer since the 1990s. As a “serial contractor” who lived in the Bay Area for most of this decade, Debbie has influenced interfaces at Sony, Wells Fargo, Constant Contact,, Oracle, and a variety of Silicon Valley startups. Clients have given her the nickname, “Mary Poppins,” because she flies in, improves everything she can, sings a few songs, and flies away to her next adventure.

Debbie has presented at conferences including eBay’s Developer Conference, PayPal’s Developer Conference, UXPA, and WeAreDevelopers. She is an O’Reilly published author and one of few instructors on the planet recommended by Axure. Her “DevOps ICU” book and training teach non-CX roles about CX, why it’s done by specialists, and how to integrate it into teams and processes. Her “Delta CX” book and training teach companies how to improve customer satisfaction, predict and mitigate business risk, and increase ROI by investing in great customer experiences.

Outside of CX work, and sometimes during CX work, Debbie enjoys singing symphonic prog goth metal, opera, and New Wave.

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And closing remarks. Thanks for joining us!

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