In today’s episode, Jim and Tyson chat with one another about Dan Kennedy’s concept, the difference between hard-earned dollars and easy money. They dive into the journey of what hard-earned dollars versus easy money looks like. If you’ve been grinding away, this episode talks about leveraging for better results and how to make things better.
1:50 concept of easy money
4:07 contingency fees
7:00 hard work
10:13 where did all the workers go
13:57 psychological barriers
21:09 is the guilt warranted
Jim’s Hack: Check out Dan Kennedy’s Magnetic Marketing Podcast.
Tyson’s Tip: Check out the next-generation paper tablet, the reMarkable 2. It replaces your notebooks and printed documents with a tablet that feels like paper.
Watch the podcast here.
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Run your law firm the right way.
This is The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux.
Let’s partner up and maximize your firm.
Welcome to the show.
Jim: You’re back on the Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I’m Jim Hacking.
Tyson: And I’m Tyson Mutrux. What’s up, Jimmy?
Jim: How you doing, brother?
Tyson: I am doing well. I’m in– I had a kind of a crummy day yesterday but it did end well. You sent me that article. That was pretty cool. No, it’s good today. What about you? You’ve got– you’ve– I don’t know if you’ve made it public yet, so I don’t know if you want to talk about your dad at all.
Jim: Oh, yeah. My dad passed away last week. And we talked about it a lot in The Guild. And we’re doing all the funeral stuff. His obituary just went live. And I’m working on his eulogy. So, a little bit of a somber tone. But I’m ready to talk about the topic for today. I’m ready to talk to you. It’s good to stay busy. And, you know, the sadness ebbs and flows. And, actually, today is sort of a Saturday. I don’t know why. I don’t know if I didn’t sleep well or what but I’m glad to spend this time with you.
Tyson: Yeah, I noticed you’re at home. You’re not at the office like normal.
Jim: Yeah, yeah. I have some– I have some stuff to do. So, my mother‑in‑law lives with us, too, and she’s going into the old folks’ home, so we’ve get to work on that stuff today, too. So, you know, when it rains, it pours. But as I said before, in The Guild, this is the life and that’s what we’re– that’s what we’re dealing with.
Tyson: That’s right, so.
All right. Well, introduce our topic.
Jim: All right. So, this topic, I’m not sure where I heard this from. It might have been Jay Abraham. It might have been Dan Kennedy but it’s something that I’ve been thinking a lot about. I think it was from Dan Kennedy, in one of his No BS books about marketing in the new economy and, specifically, he talks about this concept, the difference between hard earned dollars and easy money.
And I’ll start with the concept of easy money. You know, for our whole lives, when we’re kids, throughout school, we’re taught, “You need to work hard. You need to get paid for your time. You need to clock in. You need to clock out. You need to get paid for the time that you’re spending.” And that’s sort of how your value is created. That’s how your value is measured. And that is how you will be rewarded in life. You know, I think most of the world’s religions sort of value hard work. And it’s really held up as an example of how to be a good person or a good member of that religious group. That’s for hard earned money.
And then, when you talk about easy money, you know, that’s something that seems sort of sinful, sort of bad, sort of something that should be shunned. And it sort of reminds me of when Jim McMullin came to talk to you at the law school about how, you know, the concept of reusing other people’s work. And in law school, they call it plagiarism and you get kicked out and then– but if you’re doing it on a brief and you copy something good out of a brief and make it your own, then that’s a good thing.
So, I think that we, too often, see so many people, Tyson, in The Guild and in the big group, who are just grinding away, grinding away, grinding away. And they actually value their own worth as a lawyer in, “How much time can I put in? How much work can I do?” And they don’t think nearly enough about leverage. So, I’ll pause there so that we can talk about it.
Tyson: Yeah. So, I want to make sure we define the hard‑earned dollars versus the easy money, in your opinion, because I think there is– you know, part of me wants to say, “Well, hard earned dollars. Yeah, I’ve earned my money. That’s great.” Part of me also says that easy money is usually bad money but just because easy money is that– you know, practicing that threshold law where you’re taking that family law case, and that criminal case, and that personal injury case, and you’re going to do a well on the side. There’s a lot of easy money when it comes to that but then there’s a lot of pain on the back end of that so.
The hard‑earned dollars. I think it’s great. The whole mindset thing about, you know, working hard and making good money is fantastic but that’s not really what we’re talking about here, right? We’re talking about grinding away whenever you could be doing things a little bit differently to making a little bit easier money. Is that kind of what we’re talking about here?
Jim: I think it’s always been true that lawyers are working towards particular results for their clients. So, I actually think, in some ways, especially for the contingency fee lawyers, it’s a little bit more obvious that you’re getting paid for results. On a contingency fee case, if you don’t do the right discovery, if you don’t find the right witness, if you don’t build up the case the right way, you’re not going to get paid. So, it’s a little bit easier there to see–
Tyson: Real quick, though, I will say– about that, I just want to make one little comment about that.
Tyson: That sounds great and everything. And we do everything we can to try to get a certain result but there’s also sometimes factors like your client that don’t let that happen and they kind of get in the way of that. And your vision for a case is not necessarily aligned with a client’s vision on a case and that can really hamper the results of that case.
So, generally, you’re right. We’re focusing on that end goal of getting that case resolved but you’ve got to find ways to deal with your clients sometimes, or defense attorneys, or judges, or whatever it may be. But sometimes there’s things– intervening factors when it comes to that.
Jim: Right. Right. And you’ve got to, you know, do what you can to minimize those risks and to try to shape the outcome more to your favor. And that’s sort of what I’m getting at is that, you know, at least in the contingency fee model, you can see that we are a results‑driven occupation. But I think that’s true for every kind of lawyer. That, in 2021, people don’t really care how you get them the result that they want. They don’t.
You know, it’s sort of like, in the old days, it took a lawyer three weeks to draft an estate plan but now, through technology, and intake forms, and automation, they’re really able to streamline that and do it much more quickly. And so, I think that that sort of puts a lie to the idea that it’s only about your hard work. Obviously, you’ve worked hard to create that. But what I’m talking about is sort of the immediate day‑to‑day work and that, really, we should be spending our time thinking more, and thinking about how to make things better, and thinking about, most importantly, leverage. When I say easy money, I mean like finding people to help us get the results that we want in an efficient manner and that we don’t have to be slaving away every day.
You know, one of the things with my dad being sick and then passing away is that, you know, the firm kept running, cases kept signing up, lawsuits kept getting filed, immigration packets went out the door, and I was really able to check out and– yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s because of some hard work I did on the front end. That’s true. But–
Tyson: Hold on. Pause. Hold on. Pause. Because that’s what I was going to get– I know, you’re in the middle of a thought but I want to pause for a second because there is sometimes this thought that, you know, you can do X, Y and Z really quick and build a system and then your firm’s just going to make money.
I do have to say, there is a component of it where you lay the groundwork where there’s a lot of work on the front end. I do want to say that. We’re not saying here that because you do a couple things, you’re going to make money easily. That’s not what we’re saying. I just want to make sure that we clarify that, Jim, because I know exactly what you’re saying. But there is some hard work when it comes to practicing law, and being a lawyer, and running a business. There is a hard work component to it. Okay. So, we have to acknowledge that. We have got to acknowledge that because some people think that– and we have to differentiate between the hardworking of laying the groundwork and the hard work of just grinding away every day because that is a very fine distinction that we’ve got to make.
Jim: I’ll take that on. I’ll push back a little bit on that. And–
Tyson: Okay. Let’s– Okay. Good.
Jim: Here’s what I’ll say. There is a lot of hard work to get things set up. You do– you know, obviously, just– if you take Filevine as an example. In order to get Filevine squared away, you need a lot of time, and effort and, you know, customization, right? And I get that. But it doesn’t have to be you.
Jim: You don’t even have to be the one [inaudible 00:07:42] hard work at the front end, right? So, you can find a developer. You can, you know, copy– you know, pay someone to copy their Filevine protocols or whatever. You can hack the stuff.
Tyson: Yeah, you can but you’ve got to– like, think back to the very early days of your firm, right? Think about to the very early days. You don’t always have the money to do that. So, sometimes you’re the one that’s up till 10 o’clock at night, doing work. You know, working on bills, paying bills. That, on the front end, does happen. And I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that at the very beginning, but you do have to find the who’s in your life once you can afford them. Because I think it’s way too easy just to say, “Oh, find a bunch of who’s at the very beginning.” You don’t always have the cash for it. That’s just the facts of life.
Now, hopefully, you capitalize your firm at the beginning that that’s not a problem. But I do think that we’ve got to at least acknowledge that a little bit.
Jim: I’ll take that on a little bit.
Tyson: All right. All right. Okay.
Jim: So that’s fine. But I’d rather you go out and sign up more cases and then find people because, if you get that cash flow going faster, everything’s going to go faster. I think too many people that we talked to stay in that mode of “I have to do everything” for way, way, way too long. And that’s, of course, what we spend a lot of time talking about in our Maximum Law Minimum Time course.
Tyson: Okay. You and I agree on this, by the way. We agree on this, but I don’t want to oversimplify it. I don’t want to say, “Oh, this is just easy. Just do this. And it’s easy.” That’s not what I’m– I’m just making sure that we acknowledge that because it’s not always as easy as what we say.
But we both agree, you have to get out of that day‑to‑day as quickly as possible, and you’ve got to find those who’s so that they can replace what you were doing and do all that hard work. I agree when it comes to that. I think you and I are on the same page. It’s just a matter of we’ve got to acknowledge the realities of it sometimes.
Jim: Has there ever been a time, in human history, when it’s easier and cheaper to find who’s to do that low‑level work that we’re talking about, in the history of mankind?
Tyson: Oh, this is interesting because right now I say it’s not easy. Even from the virtual assistant standpoint, that is actually fairly difficult. If you’d asked me this question two years ago, I’d say, “No freaking way.” Right now, ah, it’s a little tough. It is far easier than, say, 10 years ago or 20 years ago, especially more than 50 years ago, but it is more difficult today than it was two years ago just because rates are going up. They just are. And I don’t know where the talent went.
There’s a New York Times article on it that I keep telling myself I’m going to read. It says, “Where’d All the Workers Go?” I need to read it. But it apparently is a very detailed explanation as to where all the workers went.
But to answer your question, that’s a little– it gets off a little bit. If you compare to 20 – 30 years ago, absolutely, it’s freakin’ easy to find people.
Jim: That’s a fair point, though, about COVID, and the great resignation, and all that stuff. But let me ask you this question. If you could go back and talk to 2012 Tyson, when you’re getting ready to start, and growing, and doing all your stuff, wouldn’t you– I know I would. Wouldn’t you tell yourself to get moving a whole lot faster, delegating, and automating?
Tyson: No question. No question. I would’ve– I would’ve hired way faster. I’d have a 100‑person firm right now, if I did. No doubt in my mind.
Jim: And don’t you think that most people that we talked to are still slow walking that way too much?
Tyson: Yeah, it’s fear. It’s fear that you’re not going to have another case walk through the door. That’s what it is. No question.
Yeah. If you were listening to this now, and you’re just starting your firm, hire, hire, hire. Sacrifice a little bit of salary on your end and hire, hire, hire and you’ll reap the rewards in 10 years. You know, you’ll start reaping the rewards immediately because you’ll be working less.
The hours that I worked before were stupid. Like, I’m talking stupid. There was no point in me doing it. I should have sacrificed some of the income. I mean, I was just taking all the money out of my firm at the very beginning is what I was doing. And I should’ve just been hiring people.
Jim: And why do you say that now? Why do you say that was stupid?
Tyson: Oh, I’m talking about the– well, because– and I’m not one to look back and say, “Oh, I’ve made a bunch of mistakes.” That’s not what I’m doing here. I’m just saying, if I were to look back at what I was working way too many hours, to the detriment of my health, it was just working way, way too much. And if I had hired people sooner, without taking all the money out of my firm, just I would have been working less so my health would have been better and I’d probably be making more money today, honestly.
Jim: So, I now have four coaching clients. And it’s so interesting. It’s sort of like, when you work with your kids, how different each kid is. You know, each of the clients are different but all of them, to me, it always comes back to let’s go find some more cases, get some more money coming in the door, that’s going to ease a lot of your pain and suffering. And, typically, that’s going to involve finding other people to do the work on the backend.
Tyson: No question. And we’re– I mean, you and I’ve been talking about just the growth of cases that we’ve had. I’m talking about The Guild a little bit. It’s kind of at a scary rate. But, I mean, I’ve got to hire. I mean, we’re trying to hire right now, and hire, and hire, and hire. And we probably need five to 10 more who’s in the next year. It’s just, we’ve got to find ‘em and put ‘em in place. It’s just not easy right now.
But, yeah, back to your point, though, those cases solve a lot of problems though because having those cases is one of the hardest parts. Now, we’ve got to work those cases and then bring that money in.
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Jim: You’re listening to The Maximum Lawyer podcast. It’s just Jim and Tyson today. We’re talking about this concept, the difference between easy money and the hard‑earned dollar.
And I just want to come back to this as a mindset shift because I do think that everything that we’ve talked about so far is valid, but I don’t want to lose sight of the point I was trying to make which is that there are psychological barriers that we put up based on things that we’ve been told or the observations that we’ve seen.
You know, my dad worked a full job and then he came home and built decks on the side for people. He would carry these 4 x 4’s all around our neighbors’ backyards, building decks all by himself, and, you know, doing the post hole digging, doing the cement mixing, doing all of it. And I observed that for all those years, right? Like he’s a hardworking son of a bitch.
But then I observed him start this architectural engineering firm. He has a GED. I observed him start this architectural engineering firm that he grew to 160 people. And my mom and I were talking about it last night. You know, my dad made most of his money in the last six or seven years of his work life. And that was when he had that leverage. That was when he had those people working for him. And, you know, he always focused on going out and finding more jobs. That was the one thing that he never gave up. That’s the one thing that he was really good at.
And I think that that’s got to be our mindset as well is that we don’t want to give up that marketing piece. We don’t want to be given up the chasing of the work. And we’re always going to be able to find people. Even in this economy, we’re always going to be able to find people, I think, to do the fulfillment and keep us focused on the one thing that we can do.
Tyson: Yeah, I want to say something about that.
It’s funny. Jay Ruane though says, “Up until 10:00? Some of us people might be just getting started at 10:00 p.m.” Listen, I know, 10:00 p.m. is late for me now. It used to be early.
But back to what you’re talking about though. I think really, really important about what you said is, is that– my guess, is that your dad, by focusing on always bringing in that next customer or whatever they call it – the business or whatever, the next job. He had his eyes on the last six or seven years because he knew that that payoff was going to come.
I do think that that’s important to keep that in the back of your mind, like keeping your vision in mind or whatever you want, at the end of your career because a lot of what we’re building is going to pay off near the end of our careers. It’s something that you’re building for a long‑term thing. It’s not a short‑term thing. And it’s hard to remember that whenever you have a big client that comes through with a bunch of cash, and you want to take all that cash, and, you know, spend all that money, instead of investing that back into your firm and thinking about what your firm will be if you do invest it back into your firm, what it will be in 30 years. So, I do think keeping that in mind, what you’re building, is important.
Jim: I am continually amazed how often people would rather spend time worrying about what’s happening right now and not about the future.
You said you had a little bit of a rough day yesterday. And we have a couple of case managers. And they’ve been seeing that their paralegals are busy. So, they’ve been slipping back into paralegal mode, right, and they’re not doing the case management, and they’re not doing the stuff that’s going to make life easier for the paralegals three months from now, right? And it’s that whole polishing the silver that we talk about. And it’s all about, you know, doing things that make you feel comfortable, and things that are in the urgent of the moment as opposed to the long‑term thinking. And I think that that was one of the things that my dad did and that I like to do. And I’m lucky that I spent a lot of time thinking about the future. And I think that somebody has to do it. Somebody has to do it and 95% of the people are not going to do it because they’re so caught up in what’s going on right now.
Tyson: Yeah, one of my favorite things to do is go over that couch over there and just sit and think about, you know, kind of like, “Okay. What are we doing here? What are our goals?” And just seeing that I’m planning– just planning. Generally, just planning. It’s just having that quiet time and just thinking about where things are going and what you’re doing. And it’s almost like a reset button sometimes, too. So, it’s super, super important.
Jim: So, on this concept of easy money and maybe leverage, you know, we’ve had a couple people reach out to us, Tyson, about their firms and they feel guilty about maybe taking time off, or resting, or going on a trip. Some people even work with family members in their firm and they feel like, “Boy, I’m making a lot more money than these family members in my firm. Am I a greedy person? Am I a bad person?”
I think this is something that we really need to talk about probably in another episode but I just wanted to throw it out there because I think it goes along those lines of, you know, like, it’s somehow not right to make money, or it’s somehow not right to make easy money, or it’s somehow not right to not work yourself to the bone. So, what do you think about that?
Tyson: Yeah. And I know who you’re talking about.
Jim: More than one person [inaudible 00:18:16] four or five people.
Tyson: More than one person, yeah. I’m thinking of one person that messaged us recently. That person’s a Guild-ian. Yeah, and it’s a common thing. I’ve never quite understood it, to be honest with you, just because we’re the ones out there, you know, really sticking our necks on the line. We’re the ones that are taking all the risk. We’re the ones that are writing the paychecks every two weeks.
So, I guess, I kind– I understand it, I guess, but I’ve never really experienced it like some other people have just because it’s one of those things where– like, I see the risk that we’re taking and they’re not necessarily taking that risk. So, it’s a risk versus reward sort of a thing. If they just want to come to the office every week, and put in the work, and get a paycheck, that’s fine. But if they want to put a little risk on the table, okay, I get it. I’ll pay a little bit more money or maybe I’ll feel guilty at that point. But I’ve never really experienced that, Jim. I honestly haven’t. I mean, have you?
Jim: No. Here’s how I would handle it in my mind and how I would even perhaps have a conversation, if it really is coming to a head, like if I feel the person is like undermining me, or bad mouthing me, or even, as Amany would say, just giving me the evil eye with their jealousy, I would say, you know, most people like to have a job. Most people like to get a paycheck. And most people like to have the certainty of clocking in and clocking out. That makes them feel better. Especially in the legal field where we have a lot of people who are risk averse, right?
And, in my mind, if I had a brother or a sister working with me at the firm, and they weren’t lawyers, I would say to them, “You know, I get where you’re coming from. I understand. I totally can empathize with what you’re saying. If you wanted to go out and start a bakery, or if you want to go out and start a movie company, or if you want to go out and start any kind of business, I really support you. I want you to reach your maximum potential. I feel like I’m reaching my maximum potential by helping as many immigrants as I can and by growing this firm as big as I can. I love having you be a part of that. And I love the stability that you bring to our firm. And I love the contributions that you make. But if there ever comes a time where you want to do something different, if you think that you need to do a different occupation or take a new adventure, and put that risk out there, I’m going to support you every which way I can. I might even invest in your company. I’d be happy to tell you and teach you the things that I’ve learned growing this law firm from zero people to 45 people. I’d be happy to do that. I’ll support you any way I can. I am here for you. And, in the meantime, if you want to stay working here and build up a nest egg to get yourself ready to go out and launch your thing, man or woman, that’s just an awesome thing. That’s just an awesome thing and I will 100% support you.”
Tyson: I think that’s good. I mean, I think that that’s the right approach. I think that that’s how you should handle it.
And I know we’re running short on time here but where do you think it comes from? Do you think that the employee feels that? Do you think that they feel the opposite that, “Hey, I need to get more money”? Do you feel that that is applicable? So, do you think that guilt is warranted, I guess, is what I’m saying?
Jim: Well, people are weird, right? People are weird. And jealousy is a real thing. I don’t want to minimize that. Like, do I think that there aren’t people out there who are jealous of this person who reached out to us as success or other people’s success? Yeah, I think that there probably are but you’ve just got to get over that. You can’t control that. That’s like sort of trying to fight with trolls on social media. It’s like the same kind of just wasted energy. You’ve just got to do your thing, build out what you’ve got going on to the best of your ability and let the chips fall where they may.
I think it’s a real thing. I think that can happen. I mean, you know, having spent a lot of time with my sisters lately. Luckily, we haven’t had any of those kinds of things. But I can certainly see scenarios where family emotions, and family histories, and family dynamics would come into play. But, you know, I would just look forward and just keep doing my thing. And if they want to make a big scene about it, or if they want to, you know, get in a fight about it, you know, I would just say, “I don’t want to participate in this. This is just wasted energy.”
Tyson: That’s Jim’s move. I don’t want to participate in this. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard you say that, “I don’t want to participate in this.” That’s pretty good.
All right, let’s wrap it up there.
I want to remind everyone–
It’s so weird. I’m just going to say this. It’s so weird when we don’t have a guest because I’ve got my own little schtick whenever there’s a guest. Like, whenever it’s just me and you, kind of just abruptly end it, and then go into– roll into it.
But I do want to want to remind everybody–
Actually, before I get this, I’m going to ask people for reviews first because I keep saying I’m going to do at the beginning of the episode. I keep forgetting to do that. So, before we wrap things up, please give us a five‑star review. It helps spread the love. If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while and you like it, please give us a five‑star review. If you’re a Guild‑ian, if you’re one of the OG Max Law members, and you’ve not given us a review, there’s no excuse. Come on, give us a review. All right. Please. Thank you.
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Jimmy, what’s your hack of the week?
Jim: Before we get to the hack, I want to join in your plug for the conference. It’s going to be huge. It’s going to be great. We were getting some really good submissions from people who want to present and I think that it’s going to be our best conference yet. I always think that. But, so far, we’ve always topped it. So I’m excited about that.
My hack of the week. As you know, you and I have had a long running debate about Russell Brunson, but I think I’ve come around mostly because he went ahead and purchased Magnetic Marketing, all of Dan Kennedy’s materials and, to that end, they have released a new podcast, the Dan Kennedy Marketing Podcast.
And Russell has taken over the Dan Kennedy world. And I think he’s really infusing it already. He’s doing a lot of smart things. You know, a lot of Magnetic Marketing stuff is sort of dated and they haven’t been using the material that they have. There’s just so much content that’s just so great. And so, now, you can get a lot of Dan Kennedy stuff for free, thanks to Russell. So, if you look for the Dan Kennedy podcast, you’ll find it now wherever you listen to podcasts.
Tyson: And I know you’ve kind of had this distrust for him but– I mean, he tells you– oh, my health insurance cards are in this book. I must’ve been using them as a bookmark. I didn’t know that.
I mean, [inaudible 00:24:19] like he– I’m just flipping through the book. I mean, he tells you exactly what to do and exactly how to do it. If you’ve not read this book, I definitely recommend. He’s got DotCom Secrets, Expert Secrets. I’ve got Magnetic Marketing here. That’s a Dan Kennedy book but I actually think it’s good. I think some of his stuff is still too much but it’s good stuff.
All right. So, my tip of the week, I’ve got a Black Friday deal for ReMarkable 2. And I was kind of– before you had to go and talk to your kiddos before school. And so, I was showing people in The Guild, the ReMarkable 2. It’s a little notebook.
It is remarkably like paper. That’s what they call it, I guess, ReMarkable 2. But it is really interesting. But just imagine having a notebook and just not having to flip pages or tear pages out, or have to scan in those pages, or whatever you’ve got to do. Like it syncs with your Google Drive, with your Dropbox. It’s got a lot of features. And you were saying something about you can do basically handwritten text to type text or whatever it is. It seems pretty cool. I’ve not tried that out yet but it’s– it’s really cool. I love it.
I couldn’t wait for it to come in. It came in yesterday and I’ve been playing around with it. And I can already see why people love it so much. It’s excellent. And it is– the packaging, it’s almost on the level of Apple’s packaging. Really, really good packaging, too. I’m a big fan of good packaging.
Jim: Did you get the pen with the eraser?
Tyson: Oh, yeah.
Tyson: Oh, it’s so awesome. It’s so–
Jim: I say go ahead and order an extra one now so you have it.
Tyson: Oh. Yeah. Because it– I guess, you lose it easily?
Jim: Well, yeah, I lost one. Mm-hmm.
Tyson: Yeah, they’re not cheap pencils. They’re a hundred bucks, I think, for the pencil, so–
Jim: It’s great.
Tyson: Still, definitely worth it.
All right, man. This has been fun. I guess, I’ll see you in 30 minutes for our team meeting.
Jim: Yeah, I’ll be on the phone. See ya.
Tyson: All right. See you, buddy. Bye.
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