Bob Burg: The Go-Giver

Welcome to the Guy Who Knows the Guy podcast! This season, we’re counting down to JV Connect, an exciting networking event happening from December 12th to 14th, 2023. We’ve got exclusive training sessions and top industry experts lined up to help you make the most of this remarkable event. Join us, mark your calendars for December 12th to 14th, and be part of JV Connect.

In this episode, we have a special guest, Bob Berg, the co-author of “The Go-Giver,” an international bestseller that has sold over a million copies. Bob is a renowned speaker and expert in building strong business relationships, effective communication, and generating referrals. We’ll delve into the power of giving in networking, finding mentors, handling vague introductions, and asking the right questions in business ventures. Bob shares his insights and practical advice to elevate your networking skills and business success. Subscribe to his daily impact email and explore more resources on his website at Get ready for an enlightening conversation that will transform your approach to networking.


Welcome back to the guy who knows the guy podcast. We're so excited to be back with you. And this season we are counting down to J V connect. The first of its kind, December 12th to 14th, 2023. This is going to be an incredible dedicated networking event, and you are going to want to be part of it.

And this podcast here to help prepare you to get the most out of this incredible event, I'm Michael Whitehouse, the guy who knows the guy and over the next few weeks, you're going to get to hear from some of the best people in the industry about networking, as well as some solo training from me. So be sure to join us in December 12th to 14th for JV connect.

And now let's get to the interview. Hello and welcome once again to the Guy Who Knows A Guy podcast. I am very excited to be introducing you to Bob Berg today. I have had his book, The Go Giver, sitting next to me for the last, I don't know, two, three years, however long I've had this office. And so I'm very excited to have him next to me on the screen.

For those of you who do not know Bob, I'll... Bob Berg speaks with entrepreneurs and sales professionals throughout the world on how to build powerful business relationships, effectively communicate their value, and cultivate endless referrals. He is co author of the international bestseller, The Go Giver, which has sold more than 1 million copies and been translated to 30 languages.

Bob is also a co founder of the Go Giver online community network. Bob Berg is a Hall of Fame speaker and co author of the international bestseller, The Go Giver. Which has sold over 1 million copies and translated over 30 languages. And I think those might be two bios back to back. So it bears repeating.

So welcome to the show, Bob. So excited

to have you here. Wow. Thank you, Michael. Appreciate it. Great to be with you. I love your work.

Yes. I love yours as well as, as just talking to to someone recently who says that one of his tests for, for somebody who's networking with is their opinion of the go giver.

And, and if it's, you know, I read it and I like it, he's like, okay, good. We're, we're already 20 percent down the road. If it's, I read it and I didn't get it then. All right. Well, thanks for your time. Look at that. I gotta go. So, so, you know, it's a very, very powerful book in the space. So, you know, let's, let's start with that.

What inspired you to, to create this

book? Well, years ago I had a book, this is in the nineties. I had my, my first book was called endless referrals. And the subtitle was network or everyday contacts into sales. It was a really a how to book for entrepreneurs and salespeople who they knew they had a great product or service.

They were proud of it. They knew it brought wonderful value to their customers and clients, but they didn't necessarily. Feel comfortable or confident going out into their local communities and building the kinds of relationships that would cause people to want to do business with them directly and, or refer them to others.

So it was really a, a how to guide. The, the premise was that all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like, and trust. So that was, you know, that was first, it was a how to book. And, but you know, I, I always loved since I'd been in sales. Had loved reading business parables and because they're stories.

And I think we all know stories tend to connect on a deeper. More heart level and yeah. Mm-hmm. . And I thought, wouldn't it be great if we could take that basic premise and turn it into a story? And fortunately, I, I met John David Mann when he, when I was writing a, a column for a, a, a magazine. He was the editor in chief and even back then, he had a great reputation as a, as a writer and, and so forth.

And I, I just, Through this idea by him, you know, and he, yeah, you know, maybe we have something here. So got together on that and, and took a few months to write. He was really the lead writer, you know, cause he's a story. He's a great storyteller. But then, then we got turned down by 24 New York publishers over the course of the next year.

And then finally, the 25th one said yes. And so that's, that's kind of how that started.

Awesome. Yeah, I love the idea of the parable. It's so much more accessible. I imagine probably a lot of the concepts in this book or in many other books, but in a 127 page story, it's much easier, as I was telling you before we started, I think I read it in one or, you know, two or three sittings.

I'm not usually a sit down and read through a whole business book kind of guy, but you get... You know, three fifths of the way through, you're not going to stop. There's a story to read. Whereas most people, you know, most business books, you, the way you read it, as you read the first couple of chapters, like, all right, yeah, I got the gist of it, you put it down, you read the next book, but not with a story.

That's going to dry

in. Yeah. Yeah. And, and that was, that was sort of the idea. And you know, and if we could relate to people, if we could relate the basic principles that John, cause he was a, he was a really great entrepreneur in his younger day, you know, if we could, if we could relate those. Those principles through a story, something that people would want to read.

And as you said, not put down, you know, two thirds of the way through or whatever, we thought we might have something there. Yep. Yeah. And it's

not like the theme of your, your. Original book. And of course the go giver is, is this idea of approaching networking to give rather than take, you know, as Ivan Meisner says, come with a ladle, not a spoon.

And I know, you know, a lot of people I talked about networking, like, oh, I hate networking. Everyone's shoving business cards in my hand. Everyone's trying to sell to each other. It's so uncomfortable. I don't know how to pitch myself. And I'm like, yeah, that sounds terrible. So talk a little bit about the difference between what a lot of people think networking is.

And what do you

think networking is? Yeah, well you hit it on the head right there. The way you described it, who would want to do something like that? And even if you wanted to, it wouldn't be very effective. You know I define networking as simply the cultivating of mutually beneficial give and receive.

win win relationships. The emphasis is on the give part, which, which doesn't mean you're being self sacrificial. It means you're simply focusing on that other person, which is much more likely to want to draw them into a conversation and to a potential relationship. With you you know, Ivan Meisner himself says, you know, nobody goes there to, nobody goes to one of these to buy anything, right?

A lot of times they go there to sell stuff, but not to buy stuff. And so we, we have to understand that, that, you know, when you go to a, a, any kind of function like that you know, not to go with the idea that, that you're going to, you know, hit someone up with your product or service. The chances are they're not interested.

Yeah. Okay. They're not interested in you. They're interested in themselves. And that's why I even tell people don't worry about your elevator speech or even your benefit statement or anything like that. Because right now, this person at this point in time, they're interested in you and your business can be defined or described in three words.

They don't. Care. They care about themselves and their business. So the best thing we can do in the networking process is to focus on that other person. You know, one of the things, Michael, when I first got into sales 40 years ago, and I, I, and I was on the phone a lot doing prospecting. And one of the things I realized very quickly was that nobody, nobody ever hung up the phone on me.

While they were talking, an amazing thing, right? I mean, if I'm talking about myself and my business and my products, they weren't interested if they're talking about themselves. They're engaged, they're interested, you know, it's that old conversation, it's that old saying you know, have you ever been in a conversation with someone who let you do practically all the talking?

Didn't you kind of come away from that conversation saying to yourself, wow, what a fascinating conversationalist. Yep. Right. Well, it's the same and we do that by, by taking the focus off of ourselves and instead focusing on them. And of course you talk a lot about that in your, your teachings as well.

Yeah. And, and you talk about give, I, you know, I think sometimes people, especially the earlier in sales earlier in business and they hear give, they're like, I mean, give away my product or give away my time or give away a free coaching session. You know, how can I afford to do that? But obviously there's other ways to give other than giving away your stuff.

So what are some ways that someone can give first in a networking

relationship? Yeah, well, first, when we say giving in this context, we simply mean constantly and consistently providing immense value to others. There's nothing about this is self sacrificial. It's not being a martyr, and it's certainly not being a doormat.

Okay. So we, we give value in a way, first of all, what is value value is the relative worth or desirability of a thing, of something to that end user or beholder. So, you know, it might be that product service concept, idea, whatever, but it might be time. It might be energy. It might be connections. It might be introductions.

It might be information. It might be, it could be anything, but what the, but the big thing is that value is always in the eyes of the beholder. So when we always look at how we can help that other person as they desire to be helped, that's really what it's all about.

Yeah. That, that, that's really valuable.

And I think a lot of people don't realize the value they have. And you know, what they have to offer. And actually that's a good segue to something else I wanted to ask you about because we were talking to before we started, About how, you know, a lot of these business parables, it's, you've got the, the person who's, the main character who's learning and they meet some mentor on the road who leads them down a path of, you know, meeting five guides or, it's usually five actually, five guides who bring them to enlightenment and, and, you know, you read that, okay, yeah, this is nice, but I don't have a mentor who I happen to meet, who happens to lead me to five guides, and you know, why would someone even want to mentor me?

I got nothing to offer. How does someone find a mentor, like, in these books? Is this a, just a concept of the story, or is this a, like, a real thing someone could find in real life?

Well, sure. I mean, well, you know, say a real thing, you know, in the ending, Joe, the protege in the story became very successful in just, you know, I think five days and people say, does that really happen?

No, that's called, you know. Tying a book together.

But the other principles do work and they, they are very real world, but no, it doesn't happen. That doesn't happen that quickly. But so, but as far as finding a mentor, absolutely. Now here's, first of all, what, what I would suggest not doing, and that is just approaching someone with whom you have no relationship and saying, Hey, would you be my mentor?

Because for a couple of reasons, one is If this person is someone who is so successful that you would like to have as a mentor, the chances are that probably a lot of other people do too and have asked that person and probably the same exact way and by just asking, will you be my mentor? Not only have you not distinguished yourself from from the others, but you've come across in that same way as, you know, sort of entitled sort of sort of like.

Hey, would you share 30 years of your life's wisdom with me, even though you don't know me from a hole in the wall? And so that's not something necessarily that would motivate a person to feel as though they want to do that On the other hand you could approach that person certainly but you say it in a way.

That's a little bit more. Productive I think and that is to say along the lines of you know I know you're very busy if this is something you either don't have the time to do or For whatever reason would not want to, I'll absolutely understand. I'm wondering, may I ask you one or two very specific questions?

Now, what you've done is three things. You've, you've come across in a way that's humble, that you've let the, you know, that you've communicated, you realize this is a big ask. This is not something they owe you. It's not something you take for granted. You also gave them the out or back door rather than, you know, just assume or pressure you've said, if you don't have time or just for whatever reason you'd rather not, I absolutely understand the bigger, the out or back door you give someone to take.

The less they'll feel the need to take it because they realize you do respect their time and you're the least likely person to take up their time. The third thing you did, those very important rather than asking if you could pick their brain or, or, you know, some other thing that just says this person has no idea, but they're going to waste my time.

You've said, may I ask you one or two. very specific questions. What this communicates to this person who's, you know, time is very valuable is okay. This person knows what they want. You know, they're not going to just waste my time. They're not going to, you know, they have an agenda agenda in a this context is a good thing, right?

They know what they want to ask. So they're much more likely to say, Oh, sure. Go ahead. What, you know, what can I do for you? How can I help now? You want to make sure that you have Research them thoroughly and you don't want to ask them anything that you could have found out through, you know, searching, of course, but I would make sure you, you know, you, you ask your questions, you don't take up a lot of time and necessary time.

You thank them profusely afterwards, but then I would do a couple of things after that. One, and you're going to ask, you know, at the end, when you thank the person and tell them how much you appreciate their time, would it be okay if down the line, I followed up and just you know, kept you up to date and they'll say, oh yeah, please, please do.

Right. And then what you want to do is you want to write a personalized handwritten. Thank you note to them, not a text, not an email that just simply says, you know, dear Mr. So and so dear Ms. So and so or, or however the relationships were, you know, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me.

Your wisdom was priceless. I look forward to applying it right away. We'll follow up and let you know how things are progressing. Best regards, that's it. Put it in an envelope, hand stamp it, hand, write it, boom, send it out. Very impressive. Very few people do that. And the other thing I would do is. Send a very, a small, it doesn't have to be anything big, send a small donation to their favorite charity, which again, you can find that out online or you can call their administrative assistant either way.

But, but, you know, so let's say they, they you know they're on the board of their local animal shelter or something, you know, you send a a donation in their name. Again, it doesn't have to be a big one, but they'll be notified because it's been sent in their name, they'll be notified. And what that say, you're not doing it to kiss up or anything, but just to again, communicate that you desire to add value to their lives.

Again, value is always in the eyes of the beholder. So it's in a way they appreciate. They know you went out of your way to do that, that you obviously. Appreciate that. Right. So now, you know, this is a good start. So maybe a few weeks later, you're gonna call them again or, or even email them to let them know of anything that's been going on.

Maybe you have another question, maybe, and in time, perhaps a mentor protege relationship. Yeah, because it is a relationship just like networking is you and I know it doesn't necessarily happen overnight. It takes time to develop. It may be that mentor protege relationship will happen, or maybe that's going to be the one time you've spoken with them, or maybe one or two times, but you meet someone else and you're going to meet someone else and you're going to create these relationships.

Eventually, you might have a, a formal mentor protege relationship with someone, or you might not, you know, what I would suggest is go about doing it the right way. Okay. Without attachment to any particular result.

Yep. Yeah, that works well too. Cause and sometimes, you know, what you really want from mentor is a couple of answers.

Sure. So I need them every week. You need them to answer a couple of things and they're. And if you engage with them well, and you create that value, then they may reach out to you and say, absolutely, this

month, how can I help you? Absolutely. And you know, and remember to, especially for, for younger kids you know, who are just coming up, you may see something on that, that you may see something on that.

Person's website, you know again, you've, you've had a conversation with them. You see some of their website that, that could be made a lot better, right? And you have good you know, skills on, in terms of that. And they don't, they're, they're like me, they're old, you know, they, they just, right. And so you might have a suggestion that you know, offer to just do it.

And of course you're not going to charge, you're just going to, you know, whatever. I mean, there's lots of things you can, you can do, but you can find a way to let that person know, to communicate gratitude. And I think when you do that, you know, you're, you're really a step ahead.

That's very powerful. And yeah, I like, like what you talked about, about how to approach the mentor and how to make it valuable for them and to show, you know, show that appreciation, which is very powerful.

And something else I'd like to talk to you about, and actually I want to share with you a story that you probably don't know, but you were instrumental in my networking education be because a couple of years ago, I reached out to you and like, Hey, can we get on? Just, you know, get on a networking call.

Just want to, you know, see how we can work together. And you very politely in the Bob Berg way said. No, but very nicely because you said I don't have time to just get on a call and explore and see what's up and, and have focus, and it, it gave me this realization of, oh, wait a minute, one, he's really busy, of course I should get that answer, and two, at some point, I'll get there, and it actually, Cause me to develop some systems for myself to, to kind of be able to screen people who didn't know how to approach me.

But for someone, for me, two years ago, it was like, I'd like to get on a call with Bob Berg and see how I can network. Are there anyone else who sees someone who there's a networking opportunity, but not necessarily exactly sure where it is, what would your suggestion be to approach someone to start that relationship?

To figure out where the net, where the collaborative opportunities

are. Yeah, so, so just to back up generally then, when someone does, and I, and you know, and, and again, it's not 'cause I'm anything special, it's just, I think from having a book out there that's popular, I, I get numerous people every day asking if they can just get on a call with me and, you know, get on a Zoom, see how we can help.

So I really you know, It would be difficult for me to do that and have any productive type of thing. So what I generally do is write a very polite note back. And also I let them know, if you have any specific questions, please let me know, and I'll be happy to do my best to answer. And so. So that's in, and I can't tell you how many people have told me, Oh, wow, you know, that was great.

I'm, I'm now doing the, you know, they kind of copied that same thing and said, and it really helped them this. I didn't realize that you didn't have to accept every call and it doesn't make you a bad guy for not, you know, for not doing it. So, you know, so I would do that same thing when we talk about the specific questions, excuse me, I think most people, and again, not everybody, but it doesn't have to be everybody, but most people, if you have a specific question or a certain.

Thing you want to discuss, even going back and forth first through either email or LinkedIn or whatever the, you know, the in mail or, or whatever, I think most people will do that. And then what happens, the more you can notice about them by going and finding out information about them and asking them questions that align with their interests, they're much more likely than to probably answer back and eventually engage in a conversation with you.

I think if you, if it's something where. You know, it's something you want to do with that person. I think you just need to find a way to, to be really specific about how it can bring value to that person's life again, only because you realize that so many people are also approaching this person the same way they've got to be able to distinguish.

You know that there's something in it and I don't mean it in the way that oh, there's nothing that person could do. No, because I'll personally, I'll help anybody who asks. Oh yeah. It's just, it's gotta be a, it just, if they have a specific question, I'll always ask as opposed to just. You know, getting on to say hi.

So, and I think a lot of people will do that again, not everyone, but it doesn't have to be

everyone. Yeah, that's a great point. And, and it was interesting. It says it's very helpful for me because about a year later I was in that place

where absolutely where I know you're like, yeah, you've got a lot of people.

That's when I invented the open virtual coffee. Because I realize there will be a time when I'm gonna have to, you know, I'm gonna have to start saying no, and it'd be easier to have one place to send everybody, and go back and forth on email and try to, I was like, just show up on Friday, and we'll figure it out there, and that's a great screening, because the right people will be like, oh yeah, sure, Friday, well, I'm there, and the wrong people are like, no, I want a one to one, I want it this way, I'm like, okay, well that's good that you want that, and Sometimes you don't have to watch.


Well, exactly. And I, and that, that's great. So we, and so we all have ways that we can be able to accommodate without, you know, in a way that doesn't. Sacrifice what we need to not sacrifice either, but in a way that we can help. So, so we all have different ways of doing it, but they're all very effective.

And, you know, you've gotten, I've been following your career, you know, on social media and through the email and through the different things you're doing. And yeah, you're getting pretty big time now. So I can imagine you're getting a whole lot of those those kinds of requests.

Well, and another thing I get is I get a lot of introductions that are very nebulous.

Which actually might be another great thing for you to talk about. You know, I get a lot of these introductions about like, Hey, you should meet Susie. You know, Michael has a podcast on neurodiversity, right? And so you should talk, and there's no talk about what, there's no there's no, no context of what we'll be talking about, what the purpose is and.

And so, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on, one, how to make a good introduction, and then also, what to do when you get a vague introduction like that. Yeah,

let's go with the last one first, because this is also something that, you know, people mean well but it can be very onerous to, to have, you know, to write, to be on the receiving end of that again, because you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, you know, you don't want to but you've, you've got to honor your boundaries as, as well.

So what I generally do is when I get an introduction like that, I'll write and I, and again, I have it. I have it in a template so I can, I can just pull from it and write back, but it's, it generally sounds like, you know hi, Steve or hi, Mary. Thank you so very much for your kind introduction to so and so.

And for thinking of me, I so greatly appreciate that. If you wouldn't mind doing me a favor because of the number of similar mutual introductions I receive. I find it much easier if you would instead write to me first if there's someone you want me to, you know, to meet and let me know why you'd like to, then, then what I can do is let you know, sure, I'd like to meet that person or this probably isn't something that would be so and so.

But please have them feel free to connect with me or to send me a connection request on LinkedIn or, you know, something like that. You know, again, many, many, thanks for having me in mind, you know, best regards, Bob. And I get, I can't tell you how many, and this is by the way, friends of mine sometimes who do that and you'd think would know better who then written me and said, Oh, wow.

Yes. I'm going to use that letter because people do it to them as well. So, so here's the thing. I. Have this personal rule that I don't make blind mutual introductions without permission from the parties. Okay. Now someone might say, well, but you're doing them a favor. No, you're not necessarily doing them a favor.

Mm-hmm. It, it can be kind of a rationalization that you're wanting to be that person who does this. You know what I'm saying? But it's not a favor to them if they don't find it to be a value, or if one of them does, but the other doesn't. Right. It could be something that again, they just, because remember too, one of the things that happened will often happen is when someone gives a, does an introduction like that, the, the other person who was introduced is going to then write to say, Oh, great meeting you, Bob.

Can we set up a one on one? Zoom so that we, you know, so that we can see where we might, and then I have to do the whole thing about, you know, potentially unintentionally hurting that person's feelings, even though I'm doing it tactfully and kindly and everything. So, so so what I do is I ask permission.

to the people that I'm going to introduce, let them know in advance why I think that'd be a good introduction and so forth. Then if both people say so, then I give a mutual introduction. I let each of them know that, that both of you had agreed to, you know, to be introduced. I feel you would be it would be great for you to meet because blah, blah, blah.

And I give a nice edifying introduction of each person with their website information. And then say, you know you know best wishes to you both for great success, you know, what, what have you. And that way now you might say, well, but doesn't that take, you know, longer than just one, sure. And that's one of the things that brings more value to it.

Now there's people who will say to me. Once I've done this a couple times, I'll say, Bob, you, you never have to ask me if you want to introduce me to someone. I know they're going to be quality introductions. So I know I don't have to ask that person, but you know what I'm saying? So once you, once you've earned that, that right, now that you don't need to, to, to do that for that particular person.

Interesting. All right. Yeah. That's, that's really valuable, valuable information. And so one last thing I want to touch on before we run out of time, this is a great, great from the book that I wanted to. To mention, which is the idea about the question, does it make money? Cause money sometimes come up.

Apparently it's important. Businesses need it or something. But yes, so the quote is written about it. Yeah. The quote is, does it make money? It's not a bad question. It's a great question. It's not, it's just a bad first question. Yeah. I'd love for you to talk a little bit about

that. Yeah. So this is when Pindar, the main mentor in the story was speaking with his protege Joe.

And, and you know, Joe was very focused on certain aspects regarding the, you know, regarding the money and, and Pindar kind of took him a little bit to task, letting him know his focus was in the, in the wrong place. And Joe said, so you're saying. Asking if something will make money is a bad question.

And again, as you said, vendor said, no, asking him, we'll make money as a gray is a great question. Just a bad first question. Why? Because the other person, this is something I say, whenever I've spoken at sales meetings, nobody's going to buy from you because you have a quota to meet. Right? No, one's going to buy from you because you need the money.

They're going to buy from you because they believe they will benefit from it. So when you ask the question, that first question about something, will it make money? You're kind of putting the cart before the horse because your buyers aren't going to buy because it's going to make you money. They're going to make, they're going to buy because they believe it's going to bring value to their lives.

So the first question you should ask is, does it serve? Or you could say, is there a market for it? Are people going to buy this and are they going to buy it at a price where I'm going to be able to make a profit through doing it? Because again, you know, you might ask, does it serve? Is there a market for it?

And the answer might be yes. But if you don't then ask, will it make money? Well, now you have a very expensive hobby and that's not, hobbies are great, but that's not what we're talking about. I know this well. I know this very well. So far, I think we've all been there. So, so first ask, does it serve? Is there a marketplace for it?

Is this something people will embrace? Is it a market that already exists or is it one I'm willing to create? I mean, those are all individual questions. First ask, does it serve? If the answer is yes, now ask, will it make money?

That that's, that's fantastic. And that, that mirrors what I've heard a lot in, in, you know, marketing trainings and, you know, building courses and whatnot is to start from, you know, what problem does it solve?

Who do you help? Exactly. So yeah, that's, that is really powerful stuff. So, so people want to connect to you more. Obviously, if they have not read the Go Giver, they should read the Go Giver. It is, it is a, it is an afternoon read. So I think a lot of books are like, oh yeah, it's only 493 pages and eight point font.

The Go Giver is a quick, easy story when you're well organized. So if they have not read it, they absolutely should. But other than reading the Go Giver how, what are the other good ways to connect with the Bergaverse?

Yeah. Well, speaking of the burger verse, just burg B U R G. com is the best way to do it.

And while they're on the site, they can subscribe to my daily impact email, which I send five days a week. It's free and hopefully starts your day off and it makes it even more better as I like to say.

Not just better, but more better. So burg. com. If you're lucky you got your last, don't go to my last

You won't like what you find, name but your last, so Berg, b u r and they can find all things Bob Berg there. Well, thank you so much. This has been fantastic. It's been so much fun to, to have you on the show and be able to share so much of this good stuff.

Thanks Michael. As you know, I love your work.

I'm a big fan and just keep it up. You're doing great things well, thank you.

Thank you for joining us for the guy who knows a guy podcast. I'm Michael Whitehouse, the guy who knows the guy. And I hope you'll join us in December from the 12th to the 14th for JV connect, go to guy who knows a guy. com for more details.

Now, if it's after December, 2023, and you're listening to this, it's okay, because we're going to be doing this event every quarter. So go to guy knows a guy. com. See what's new, see what's happening, and of course check the show notes to learn about our guests and how you can get in touch with them. Check out our next episode for more great training, information, and networking tips from Michael Whitehouse, the guy who knows a guy.

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