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Smalltalk and Corporate Cultures
                        Presented by
                      Piotr Palacz
                 ...
0. What this is all about?
                       Motivation
                    Driving Questions
                       ...
0.1 Motivation
•  Bewilderment and surprises
•  Self-defense
•  Trying to systematize experiences




August 28th, 2000   ...
0.2 Driving Questions
•  About my tools of trade
     –  what is that I value when I choose Smalltalk as my
        favori...
0.3 Main Focus
•    Smalltalk culture
•    Corporate cultures
•    Intersections of the above
•    Consequences and exampl...
0.4 Main Challenges
Cultural viewpoint usually deemed
 inconsequential or boring or both.




August 28th, 2000           ...
0.5 Disclaimers
In accordance with the Hollywood Presentation
   Principle, it must be stated that this is, in a sense,
  ...
0.6 Plan of the Game
•    Concept of Culture
•    Culture of Smalltalk
•    Nostalgic Bits
•    On two types of corporate ...
1. Preliminaria
•  Concept of Culture

•  Culture of tools (and tools of culture)

•  Culture of Programming?
•  Culture o...
1.1 Culture #1
•  Humorous
     Culture is what we do on Friday night (American).
     Culture is what differentiates us f...
1.2 Culture #2
Anthropological
     Descriptive, rather than normative, approach.
     Focuses more on groups than individ...
1.2 Culture of Tools
•  Craftsmen tend to choose their favorite tool(s),
   sometimes for reasons not fully understood by ...
1.3 Programming Culture?
Substitute “programmer” for “craftsman” in the
  previous slide.

Corollary: dream of mass produc...
1.4 Musical Metaphor
Programmers are like musicians. They play different
  instruments (and reportedly choice of instrumen...
1.5 Military Metaphor
Most programmers are like soldiers in Soviet Army.
   They are replaceable, and their tools are be c...
1.6 Game Metaphor
Some play finite games, towards a specific
  end.
Some play infinite games, for the sake of
  playing.
S...
1.7 Corporate Cultures
There is a variety of cultures, but arguably, there are
  two elements that differentiate corporate...
2. Culture of Smalltalk
•    Smalltalk Design Principles
•    Tradition and Heritage
•    Common Threads
•    Smalltalk Fa...
2.1 Smalltalk Design Principles
Paper by Dan Ingalls is a good point of start.
“The purpose of the Smalltalk project is to...
2.2 Idea of Amplification
Intellect Amplification Project:
“Our plan is basically to provide human subjects with the best
...
2.3 Common Threads
•  Extending and amplifying human cognitive capabilities
   through special tools.
Properties of the to...
2.4 Smalltalk Family Values
•  Simplicity, uniformity, power, accessibility
•  Expressiveness
•  Semantic transparency
•  ...
2.4 Contrasts
     Culture of efficiency, the esoteric and
      arcane.
     Culture of correctness.
     Culture of mark...
2.5 Darwinism Again
“Natural Selection: Languages and systems
  that are of sound design will persist, to be
  supplanted ...
3 Nostalgic Bits

Between fortune of one and Fortune 1.
On expectations, surprises and possible
 causes.




August 28th, ...
3.1 Great Expectations
•    Post-Industrialism
•    Technopolis
•    Economic rationality
•    Technological aggressivenes...
3.2 Surprises
•    Authoritarianism
•    Factory pattern
•    Death march
•    Mimicry
•    Degenerated pragmatism



Augu...
3.3 More Surprises
•    Functional illiteracy
•    Distorted and controlled discourse
•    Manufactured consent
•    Omnip...
3.4 Causes?
•  Educational System?
“Children should be taught to think. … a bunch of people trying to move curriculum-from...
4. Models of Corporate Cultures

Western-like binary division:
     –  Sales-centered culture vs.”people”-centered [Rosenb...
4.1 Comparison Criteria
•  Dominant Traits                •    Information flow
•  Focal points of business       •    Mot...
4.2 Dominant Traits
Organization unable to learn and     Learning organization
   innovate                          Dynami...
4.3 Sources and Replication of
              Culture
Big consulting companies             No single dominant source
Milita...
4.4 Hierarchy of Concerns
Sales -> profits                      People -> service -> profits
Meeting quotas
Preoccupation ...
4.5 Focus and Assets
                       Focal points of business

Acquiring a contract, a deal         Growing culture...
4.6 Power Hierarchy
Centralized and secretive     Decentralized and public
Elaborate                     Shallow
Inflexibl...
4.7 Information Flow
Thwarted                            Open
Single routes or no routes          Multiple routes
Actual d...
4.8 Decision Making
Centralized                          Distributed
controlled by specific persons;      controlled by pr...
4.9 Discourse
Arguments ex-authority are the         Basic rational forms uphold, e.g.:
   main kind of argumentation     ...
4.10 Motivational Instruments
Punishment and staying out of       Whole spectrum of motivational
   trouble rather than po...
4.11 Award and Punishment
Obedience                          Professionalism
Loyalty                            Productivi...
4.12 Management Traits
No observable self-reflection         Self-examination and reflection
Self defense & denial
Self-de...
4.13 Workforce Traits
Unhappy or resigned                 Mostly happy

Very high turnover (e.g. 75% per    Natural turnov...
4.14 Working Environment
From bleak to depressing              Mixed floor plans
Small or overcrowded cubes            Adj...
4.15 Learning and Training
Ad-hoc training and not learning   Continuous learning

No idea of investment present      Lear...
4.16 Technological
                      Consequences
Technology is imposed                 Technology is evaluated

Follo...
4.17 Tools
Weak use in internal operations   Used in products
  because of the focus on         Used in internal operation...
5. Overlaps
•  The dominating type of culture is sales-
   based, closed culture.
•  What does it have to do with Smalltal...
6. Examples
Visual Programming Smalltalk style.
Dropping Smalltalk




August 28th, 2000                     49
7. A Perspective on XP
•  Programming methodologies as cultural
   utopias
•  XP and big M’s
•  Main features of XP
•  XP’...
7.2 Methodology & Utopia
Methodologies can be treated as cultural utopias.
They prescribe a tacit value system without goi...
7.3 XP and BIG M’s




August 28th, 2000                        52
7.4 Statement of the Problem
“The basic problem of software development
  is risk” [Beck00]
This is a valid view, but with...
7.5 The Goal
“What we need to do is to invent a style of
 software development that addresses these
 risks” [Beck00]




A...
7.5 Applicability of XP
“… developing software in the face of vague
 or rapidly changing requirements” [Beck00]
Rapidly ch...
7.6 The XP Solution
•  Code as the main artifact
•  Coding as the central activity
•  Pair programming as combined knowled...
7.7 Minimalism in XP
•    Stress on oral communication
•    Metaphor serves as architecture
•    Refactoring replaces (re-...
7.8 XP in Context
XP as a self-defense reaction against
 contamination of development by corporate
 culture.

In that cont...
7.9 XP Outside Context
Outside that context, XP’s viability is
   problematic:
•  Risk is not the main problem.
•  Oral co...
8 References
[Engelbart62] Douglas C. Engelbart, Augmented Human Intellect Program, SRI-ARC, 1962
[Ingalls81] Dan Ingalls,...
8.1 More References

[Rosenbluth94] Hal F. Rosenbluth, Customer Comes Second, William Morrow Inc., 1994
[Saul97] J. R. Sau...
9. Acknowledgments
I’d like to thank my colleagues and friends with
   whom I worked and discussed issues presented
   her...
10. The End




August 28th, 2000                 63
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Smalltalk and Corporate Cultures

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Piotr Palacz: Smalltalk and Corporate Cultures (ESUG 2000, Southampton)

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Smalltalk and Corporate Cultures

  1. 1. Smalltalk and Corporate Cultures Presented by Piotr Palacz piotr@palacz.net piotr.palacz@acm.org August 28th, 2000 1
  2. 2. 0. What this is all about? Motivation Driving Questions Main Focus Main Challenges Disclaimers August 28th, 2000 2
  3. 3. 0.1 Motivation •  Bewilderment and surprises •  Self-defense •  Trying to systematize experiences August 28th, 2000 3
  4. 4. 0.2 Driving Questions •  About my tools of trade –  what is that I value when I choose Smalltalk as my favorite tool of trade? –  what I share with others who do the same? •  About using my tools in real life, i.e. corporate reality –  how can I recognize environments in which I have chance of using my tools sensibly? August 28th, 2000 4
  5. 5. 0.3 Main Focus •  Smalltalk culture •  Corporate cultures •  Intersections of the above •  Consequences and examples, including a perspective on XP. August 28th, 2000 5
  6. 6. 0.4 Main Challenges Cultural viewpoint usually deemed inconsequential or boring or both. August 28th, 2000 6
  7. 7. 0.5 Disclaimers In accordance with the Hollywood Presentation Principle, it must be stated that this is, in a sense, a work of fiction by a private individual. Any similarity with persons and organizations, existing or imagined, or their views, may turn out to be purely coincidental. August 28th, 2000 7
  8. 8. 0.6 Plan of the Game •  Concept of Culture •  Culture of Smalltalk •  Nostalgic Bits •  On two types of corporate cultures •  Intersections •  A point of view on XP August 28th, 2000 8
  9. 9. 1. Preliminaria •  Concept of Culture •  Culture of tools (and tools of culture) •  Culture of Programming? •  Culture of Corporate World? August 28th, 2000 9
  10. 10. 1.1 Culture #1 •  Humorous Culture is what we do on Friday night (American). Culture is what differentiates us from apes (Darwinian). •  Pedestrian Culture is what makes us behave “correctly”. •  Historical Roman Cultura originally referred to the cultivation of the soil; later, transferred meaning of cultura animi (culture of the soul), as in Cicero. The concept was not widely used in Europe until late 18th c. (Herder, Kant, Hegel, etc.). August 28th, 2000 10
  11. 11. 1.2 Culture #2 Anthropological Descriptive, rather than normative, approach. Focuses more on groups than individuals. Description of a culture of a group includes: –  shared, learned patterns of behavior, conscious or not; –  repeatable and dominating patterns of thought and perception; –  common value hierarchy. In some approaches, cultures are described in terms of a structure or as a system. August 28th, 2000 11
  12. 12. 1.2 Culture of Tools •  Craftsmen tend to choose their favorite tool(s), sometimes for reasons not fully understood by them. •  Attitude towards specific tools creates or enforces group identification. The group shares some convictions and values; often inherits a tradition; also rejects some other convictions, values, traditions. •  Craftsmen’s know-how about patterns of usage of a tool creates knowledge; much of it is tacit knowledge. August 28th, 2000 12
  13. 13. 1.3 Programming Culture? Substitute “programmer” for “craftsman” in the previous slide. Corollary: dream of mass production of software and replaceable “resources”. August 28th, 2000 13
  14. 14. 1.4 Musical Metaphor Programmers are like musicians. They play different instruments (and reportedly choice of instrument follows not only aptitude but also character), and perform different kinds of music ( say: classical, jazz, pop, etc). Programming tools correspond to various musical instruments; programming cultures correspond to different music genres. There is also a similarity in attitude towards tools. August 28th, 2000 14
  15. 15. 1.5 Military Metaphor Most programmers are like soldiers in Soviet Army. They are replaceable, and their tools are be cheap and uncomplicated. Using them is tedious, but deterministic. Some programmers are like members of special forces: well trained, passionate about what they do, with elaborate tools and need for high adrenaline levels. In both cases, casualty rates may be high. August 28th, 2000 15
  16. 16. 1.6 Game Metaphor Some play finite games, towards a specific end. Some play infinite games, for the sake of playing. Some try to play both. Actual cultural metaphors: chess, poker and go. August 28th, 2000 16
  17. 17. 1.7 Corporate Cultures There is a variety of cultures, but arguably, there are two elements that differentiate corporate cultures in a fundamental way: –  their control mechanisms –  their attitude towards knowledge creation, growing and dissemination. Both are closely related. August 28th, 2000 17
  18. 18. 2. Culture of Smalltalk •  Smalltalk Design Principles •  Tradition and Heritage •  Common Threads •  Smalltalk Family Values •  Contrasts August 28th, 2000 18
  19. 19. 2.1 Smalltalk Design Principles Paper by Dan Ingalls is a good point of start. “The purpose of the Smalltalk project is to provide computer support for the creative spirit in everyone.” Is the creative spirit merely a figure of speech? August 28th, 2000 19
  20. 20. 2.2 Idea of Amplification Intellect Amplification Project: “Our plan is basically to provide human subjects with the best technological aids possible … and to re-design the subjects' way of attacking intellectual problems so as to take advantage of the capabilities provided in these aids.” [Engelbart62] “The thing I've always been interested in is the amplification possibilities when you take something that's already interesting and already part of deep human interest and use some technology to amplify the reach.” A. Kay in [Frenkel94] August 28th, 2000 20
  21. 21. 2.3 Common Threads •  Extending and amplifying human cognitive capabilities through special tools. Properties of the tools: encourage learning, symbol manipulation, ease of use, appeal to many senses; the tool is “transparent”, becomes “intimate”, etc. •  Contrast with using tools merely as means to increase “productivity”, i.e. maximize profit. •  Changing to new forms of cultural discourse: away from the textual. August 28th, 2000 21
  22. 22. 2.4 Smalltalk Family Values •  Simplicity, uniformity, power, accessibility •  Expressiveness •  Semantic transparency •  Habitability (Gabriel) as facilitators for creation and understanding. What those values have to do with today’s corporate software production? August 28th, 2000 22
  23. 23. 2.4 Contrasts Culture of efficiency, the esoteric and arcane. Culture of correctness. Culture of marketing in programming. August 28th, 2000 23
  24. 24. 2.5 Darwinism Again “Natural Selection: Languages and systems that are of sound design will persist, to be supplanted only by better ones.” [Ingalls81] Does it really work that way? August 28th, 2000 24
  25. 25. 3 Nostalgic Bits Between fortune of one and Fortune 1. On expectations, surprises and possible causes. August 28th, 2000 25
  26. 26. 3.1 Great Expectations •  Post-Industrialism •  Technopolis •  Economic rationality •  Technological aggressiveness •  Large budgets August 28th, 2000 26
  27. 27. 3.2 Surprises •  Authoritarianism •  Factory pattern •  Death march •  Mimicry •  Degenerated pragmatism August 28th, 2000 27
  28. 28. 3.3 More Surprises •  Functional illiteracy •  Distorted and controlled discourse •  Manufactured consent •  Omnipresent amnesia •  Absence of management theory August 28th, 2000 28
  29. 29. 3.4 Causes? •  Educational System? “Children should be taught to think. … a bunch of people trying to move curriculum-from some book that they didn’t write, about subjects that they don’t know anything about- into some poor child’s mind. That could not be more ridiculous. Its basically an institutional factory type model. And it just doesn’t work.” [Frenkel1994] •  Corporate Culture? •  Mass Culture? “Recent studies [1996] have shown that fewer than 5% of American adults have learned to think fluently in … modern non-story forms.” [Kay1996]. (these forms are: logical argument and systemic thinking). •  All of the above? August 28th, 2000 29
  30. 30. 4. Models of Corporate Cultures Western-like binary division: –  Sales-centered culture vs.”people”-centered [Rosenbluth94] or: –  Closed vs. open culture [vaguely K.R. Popper] August 28th, 2000 30
  31. 31. 4.1 Comparison Criteria •  Dominant Traits •  Information flow •  Focal points of business •  Motivational instruments •  Sources and replication of •  Training and learning culture •  Use of technology •  Hierarchy of concerns •  Measurements •  Perception of the main asset •  Quality •  Hierarchy of power •  Awarding system •  Management traits •  Culture of discussion •  Workforce •  Capability for structural change •  Decision making August 28th, 2000 31
  32. 32. 4.2 Dominant Traits Organization unable to learn and Learning organization innovate Dynamic Static, Authoritarian and Closed Innovating Discouraging creativity Long-term perspective Short-term perspective Adhering to values Pretending to implement values Culture imposed unconsciously Culture explicitly maintained and Based on defensiveness, denial of grown reality, fear of responsibility Self-denying Confronting issues head-on Self-conscious August 28th, 2000 32
  33. 33. 4.3 Sources and Replication of Culture Big consulting companies No single dominant source Military culture, command and control Discriminative recruitment process Either no discrimination in to ensure a cultural fit recruitment or a preference for specific sources Culture explicitly maintained and Culture imposed unconsciously grown Based on defensiveness, denial of reality, fear of responsibility Confronting issues head-on August 28th, 2000 33
  34. 34. 4.4 Hierarchy of Concerns Sales -> profits People -> service -> profits Meeting quotas Preoccupation with costs, esp. Measurable financial effects: labor costs, rather than -  Revenue per employee productivity; hence: -  Return on investment People are treated as expendable “resources” Availability of cheap resources Malleability of resources August 28th, 2000 34
  35. 35. 4.5 Focus and Assets Focal points of business Acquiring a contract, a deal Growing culture Getting away with its realization Servicing needs of people Perception of the main asset “Deal” and contract; project People, their knowledge and Delivery date and bonuses involvement; Shared culture August 28th, 2000 35
  36. 36. 4.6 Power Hierarchy Centralized and secretive Decentralized and public Elaborate Shallow Inflexible Flexible Hierarchy creates tasks Hierarchy is adjusted to tasks August 28th, 2000 36
  37. 37. 4.7 Information Flow Thwarted Open Single routes or no routes Multiple routes Actual discouragement of feedback Encouraging feedback Feedback not processed Processing feedback Delayed, partitioned, twisted Cross-pollination Fear of the written Documents not signed Written documents produced and signed Oral exchanges: face to face, Asynchronous, remote, written meeting, voice mail are main forms of communication also forms of communication present August 28th, 2000 37
  38. 38. 4.8 Decision Making Centralized Distributed controlled by specific persons; controlled by process and culture Informal; rather that specific people; secretive public Attached to forms and appearances rather than issues to be solved Outcomes not openly criticisable Outcomes criticisable Authorship and responsibilities Responsibility clearly assigned vague or hidden Meetings as a way to diffuse responsibility for a decision August 28th, 2000 38
  39. 39. 4.9 Discourse Arguments ex-authority are the Basic rational forms uphold, e.g.: main kind of argumentation Arguments ex-authority, ad augmented by personal attacks personam are rejected Pseudo-logical argumentation is acceptable and accepted Discussion is either superficial or irrelevant; often manipulative; if it fails, discussion authority imposition August 28th, 2000 39
  40. 40. 4.10 Motivational Instruments Punishment and staying out of Whole spectrum of motivational trouble rather than positive instruments amplification Position in the hierarchy, in the Satisfaction inner circle Development Belonging to a culture Financial Financial Tacit, closed doors promotion Clear routes to advancement and policies promotion August 28th, 2000 40
  41. 41. 4.11 Award and Punishment Obedience Professionalism Loyalty Productivity Passivity Creativity and ability to innovate Merit Ousting individuals as trouble- makers, non-team payers, arrogant, and similar forms of character attack August 28th, 2000 41
  42. 42. 4.12 Management Traits No observable self-reflection Self-examination and reflection Self defense & denial Self-delusional image Megalomania Inability/unwillingness to delegate Ability to delegate power to solve power problems Sticking to fossilized bureaucratic Recognition of and breaking away forms from the outdated rules and Motivated by and motivating with fundamental assumptions mainly financial rewards August 28th, 2000 42
  43. 43. 4.13 Workforce Traits Unhappy or resigned Mostly happy Very high turnover (e.g. 75% per Natural turnover ( <10%) year) Forced to work overtime to solve Productive in terms of income trivial but entangled and produced and return on mismanaged issues investment Adopting defensive measures against excessive and arbitrary load August 28th, 2000 43
  44. 44. 4.14 Working Environment From bleak to depressing Mixed floor plans Small or overcrowded cubes Adjusted so it is not a hindrance Location reflects status Working air conditioning Too hot or too cold Often items of group identification displayed August 28th, 2000 44
  45. 45. 4.15 Learning and Training Ad-hoc training and not learning Continuous learning No idea of investment present Learning is a fundamental investment Training happens only when resources idle or management Learning is culture-supported desperate (cannot get trained resources cheaply enough) August 28th, 2000 45
  46. 46. 4.16 Technological Consequences Technology is imposed Technology is evaluated Following the crowd as Not following the crowd as minimization of risk maximization of opportunity Choice criteria absent, incoherent, There are explicit criteria for or ignored choice August 28th, 2000 46
  47. 47. 4.17 Tools Weak use in internal operations Used in products because of the focus on Used in internal operations projects and unwillingness to invest Project-imposed Assessed, revised August 28th, 2000 47
  48. 48. 5. Overlaps •  The dominating type of culture is sales- based, closed culture. •  What does it have to do with Smalltalk culture? •  Features of organizations where Smalltalk functioned well August 28th, 2000 48
  49. 49. 6. Examples Visual Programming Smalltalk style. Dropping Smalltalk August 28th, 2000 49
  50. 50. 7. A Perspective on XP •  Programming methodologies as cultural utopias •  XP and big M’s •  Main features of XP •  XP’s in a cultural context August 28th, 2000 50
  51. 51. 7.2 Methodology & Utopia Methodologies can be treated as cultural utopias. They prescribe a tacit value system without going to deeply (if at all) in areas like: –  what are the real preconditions of their success; –  who is and who is not the main audience; –  whose interests they serve. (that may be a reason why they fail so often). August 28th, 2000 51
  52. 52. 7.3 XP and BIG M’s August 28th, 2000 52
  53. 53. 7.4 Statement of the Problem “The basic problem of software development is risk” [Beck00] This is a valid view, but within a limited perspective; typically shared by contractors and project managers. From a distance, most types of risk are consequences of troubled knowledge flow. These risks are not unavoidable; they are typical for closed cultures. August 28th, 2000 53
  54. 54. 7.5 The Goal “What we need to do is to invent a style of software development that addresses these risks” [Beck00] August 28th, 2000 54
  55. 55. 7.5 Applicability of XP “… developing software in the face of vague or rapidly changing requirements” [Beck00] Rapidly changing requirements are very rare. (financial instruments?) Vague requirements are common. Also: small to medium size teams. August 28th, 2000 55
  56. 56. 7.6 The XP Solution •  Code as the main artifact •  Coding as the central activity •  Pair programming as combined knowledge sharing mechanism and a quality gate •  Refactoring, unit and integration testing August 28th, 2000 56
  57. 57. 7.7 Minimalism in XP •  Stress on oral communication •  Metaphor serves as architecture •  Refactoring replaces (re-)design •  Tight tracking of the goal using continuous integration testing. These are defensive measures. August 28th, 2000 57
  58. 58. 7.8 XP in Context XP as a self-defense reaction against contamination of development by corporate culture. In that context, XP has an important role to play and introduces practices that are usually absent. August 28th, 2000 58
  59. 59. 7.9 XP Outside Context Outside that context, XP’s viability is problematic: •  Risk is not the main problem. •  Oral communication is not an acceptable way of sharing knowledge in software development. •  Code is not the main artifact. August 28th, 2000 59
  60. 60. 8 References [Engelbart62] Douglas C. Engelbart, Augmented Human Intellect Program, SRI-ARC, 1962 [Ingalls81] Dan Ingalls, Design Principles Behind Smalltalk, Byte, August 1981 [Frenkel94] Karen Frenkel, Conversation with Alan Kay, interactions, Vol 1, Issue 2, pp 13-22, 1994 [Nonaka95] Nonaka & Takeuchi, The Knowledge-Creating Company, Oxford Press, 1995 [Kay96] Alan Kay, Revealing the Elephant, Sequence, Vol. 31, No. 4. [Yourdon97] E. Yourdon, Death March, Prentice-Hall 1997 August 28th, 2000 60
  61. 61. 8.1 More References [Rosenbluth94] Hal F. Rosenbluth, Customer Comes Second, William Morrow Inc., 1994 [Saul97] J. R. Saul, The Doubter’s Companion, A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense, Free Press, 1997 [Hiltzig99] Michael Hiltzig, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age, HarperCollins, 1999 [Beck00] K. Beck, eXtreme Programming eXplained, Addison-Wesley, 2000 [Rheingold00] Howard Rheingold, Tools For Thought, MIT Press, 2000 August 28th, 2000 61
  62. 62. 9. Acknowledgments I’d like to thank my colleagues and friends with whom I worked and discussed issues presented here over the last few years. Special thanks go to Jean-Claude Beaudoin and Russell Modlin. August 28th, 2000 62
  63. 63. 10. The End August 28th, 2000 63

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