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  1. #1
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
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    Jason Calacanis to Keynote Affiliate Summit 2008 West
    Jason Calacanis is going to deliver the keynote address at Affiliate Summit 2008 West.

    Jason Calacanis is the founder and CEO of Mahalo.com, a human-powered search engine focused on the top English-language search terms, including verticals such as travel, products, news, entertainment, sports, food, and health. Prior to Mahalo.com’s launch in alpha in May, 2007, he was an “Entrepreneur in Action” at Sequoia Capital, Silicon Valley’s leading venture capital firm, a position he held since December 2006.

    Jason co-founded and was the CEO of Weblogs, Inc., a network of popular weblogs that was sold to AOL in November 2005. Upon joining AOL, he was appointed senior vice president. In addition, he was named general manager of AOL’s Netscape and was responsible for the July 2006 relaunch of the iconic browser as a social bookmarking news site.

    Prior to forming Weblogs Inc., Jason was the founder of Rising Tide Studios, a media company that published the magazines Silicon Alley Reporter and Digital Coast Reporter. The flagship publication later became Venture Reporter, a venture capital database, and was sold to Dow Jones.

    Jason is from Brooklyn, NY and currently resides in Los Angeles and New York with his wife and bulldog. He received a B.A. in psychology from Fordham University. Jason is known for his transparency and insights into the internet and media industries. His views can be read daily on his own blog, www.calacanis.com and heard weekly on “CalacanisCast,” a new show on The PodTech Network.
    Affiliate Summit - Las Vegas on January 10-12, 2016

  2. #2
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
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    > Trust: Have to find pro affiliate speakers in the future.

    I got this comment in email, but it's not showing here.

    Anyhow, please supply examples of "pro affiliate speakers".
    Affiliate Summit - Las Vegas on January 10-12, 2016

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Here's my take on some of the previous keynote speakers.

    Jim Bouton has to be my favorite Affiliate Summit keynote speaker of all time. He's a true entrepreneur, and the lessons he shared are very applicable to affiliate marketing (although he never discussed affiliate marketing and probably didn't know anything about it). He was very entertaining, too. Is there an MP3 or Video of his presentation?

    Ze Frank was very entertaining, but I didn't get much out of it that I could apply.

    Michael Sanchez was boring.

    Anne Holland was good, but it seemed like it was too much information.

    Based on what I've seen in the past, I would prefer to hear from entrepreneurs outside of the affiliate marketing field (as long as they present their experiences and let us glean nuggets from that, rather than them trying to apply it to affiliate marketing). Perhaps that's what Trust was trying to say, too.

    I'm looking forward to hearing was Jason Calacanis has to present to us.
    Michael Coley
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  4. #4
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    "Anyhow, please supply examples of "pro affiliate speakers".

    Someone who doesn't think having an affiliate link at Squidoo is spam. I was watching the video over at Revenews and some of it is on point, some just ridiculous. I would rather see speakers who have some actual experience or know what they are talking about when it comes to affiliate marketing. Not those who are misinformed or have negative views on this business. I know Vlad blogged about it when it was first announced and I read your response there and then your recent blog and comment by Andrew which I agree with 100%.

    On a side note, Affiliate Of The Year. Would really check them out or do away with it. Could end up as another Linkshare Titanium Award PR mess. Linkshare learned the hard way and stopped it.

  5. #5
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    "Anyhow, please supply examples of "pro affiliate speakers".
    First, let me explain that I read your comment wrong. I thought you were saying they should be professional, rather than advocates for the industry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    Someone who doesn't think having an affiliate link at Squidoo is spam...
    Jason certainly takes to hyperbole to get a point across.

    He might sometimes come across as a bull in a china shop, but he gets people talking and challenges notions of sacred (or purple) cows.

    I don't think all of Squidoo is tainted (I have a lens myself), but there is a lot of abuse there, and I think it's fair to say it's not being policed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    On a side note, Affiliate Of The Year.
    I agree there can be risks there, and we've got a couple dozen folks on the advisory board sharing their input on this.

    There is room for error, but I think it's important to honor the good people.
    Affiliate Summit - Las Vegas on January 10-12, 2016

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Collins

    There is room for error, but I think it's important to honor the good people.
    I agree with your notion on honoring good people. At the same time, you need to strip off that honor if you find the honor as not deserving as the affiliate/person was found cheating or violating the ethics of affiliate marketing. Seriously, I don't think you have done that, IMO.

    I have no real input on the keynote presenter. But given that this is a conference around affiliates, it would be great if you have a Sr. Person (3C's) from one of the leading networks or proven super-hyper affiliate working with multiple networks and hundreds of merchants key-noting the summit, IMO.

  7. #7
    Affiliate Summit Guy Shawn Collins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redtagdeals
    I agree with your notion on honoring good people. At the same time, you need to strip off that honor if you find the honor as not deserving as the affiliate/person was found cheating or violating the ethics of affiliate marketing. Seriously, I don't think you have done that, IMO.
    We don't consider ourselves to be some sort of regulatory body. We have open nominations from anybody in the industry, and then the winner is chosen by a jury of their peers.

    The honor is intended to cover what that person has done to that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by redtagdeals
    I have no real input on the keynote presenter. But given that this is a conference around affiliates, it would be great if you have a Sr. Person (3C's) from one of the leading networks or proven super-hyper affiliate working with multiple networks and hundreds of merchants key-noting the summit, IMO.
    I would love to have a great keynote from a network or affiliate. To date, nobody has suggested a killer candidate for the spot, and nobody comes to mind to me.

    If you have somebody that I'm overlooking, I'd love to hear names (privately or publicly).
    Affiliate Summit - Las Vegas on January 10-12, 2016

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Collins
    He might sometimes come across as a bull in a china shop, but he gets people talking and challenges notions of sacred (or purple) cows.
    Sorry to go off topic a bit here, but if anybody's seen Mythbusters they put this "bull in a china shop" saying to the test and the china came out relatively undamaged:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQvJPr8THlw

    One of my favorite episodes.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  9. #9
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    Live Blogging from his keynote:

    here we go -

    10:20am “Truth is, much of this affiliate stuff is bullshit ponzi scheme where people got lucky and made a lot of money not doing much.”

    http://www.revenews.com/samharrelson...iliate-summit/

  10. #10
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    10:13am “Anyone here from PayPerPost? You need to kill yourself. I’m kidding. Well, I wouldn’t mind it if you did.”

    LOL!!!


  11. #11
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    What a clown. Referring to the rest of what I'm reading.

  12. #12
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Could this guy be any more into himself? Should have just came out and said "My way is the only way!" and then left.

    -sfcom


  13. #13
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    Here's a blog post that makes sense -

    "Are you an affiliate marketer? You suck!” ~ Calacanis"

    "Not surprisingly, Jason’s general sentiment during the speech seems to be filled with hate towards the industry with statements like “Give up a life of crime”, “You are at the bottom of the food chain” and “Affiliate marketing is bullshit”, there couldn’t have been a worse affiliate summit keynote speech."

    http://finaltag.com/2008/02/25/are-y...uck-calacanis/

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I enjoyed the keynote. I'm sure a lot of folks here needed to hear that and hopefully it'll inspire them to do great things with their businesses.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    I'll repeat the comment I made over at Revenews, simply because it pretty much sums up how I feel about it:

    There was some good, there was some bad. Overall, I agree with his position on the pollution of the net, especially as he equated it to the pollution of Usenet 10-15 years ago. Still, I can’t help but feel as if he blames affiliates for a large - even disproportionate - part of the current pollution that’s out there. Spammers and polluters may be affiliates, but not all affiliates are spammers and polluters (preaching to the choir here, I know).
    Daniel M. Clark
    Tech Manager
    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  16. #16
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    I enjoyed Jason's keynote, and I agree with most everything that was said.

    A few late-night thoughts after I've had time to digest everything Jason said and also talk to him one on one about some of the things he said:

    -- I do agree that Jason seemed to hate all affiliate marketers, and that's a little unfair. I'm fairly new to the business; I started as a graphic designer for eComLeads and then convinced my boss to allow me to start a blogging division of the company. Since then, I've grabbed every bit of reading material I can get my hands on, from books to e-books to pamphlets, and I think it's a really, really interesting business. I've subscribed to about 20 affiliate marketing related RSS feeds and I'm always on the lookout for more. The important thing to me is that I'm having a LOT of fun getting my feet wet and learning everything I can...I'm having more fun with this stuff than I've ever had with any other venture, and now I get to combine my love of blogging with this totally interesting industry that I never knew existed until a year ago. I've only been to Ad:Tech NYC and now Affiliate Summit West, and I've met a lot of really, really good people, from Shawn Collins to Sam Harrellson and others, and so I don't really believe that Jason is correct when he calls affiliate marketers the bottom of the food chain. Sure, there's probably thousands of shady marketers and spammers, but they don't represent the entirety of the industry, and I think Jason will realize that if he hasn't already.

    -- That being said, my focus already IS on creating great content. It's been my mission ever since I started blogging, but I never made the connection between great content and long-term money making ability until recently. I guess it wasn't that I didn't realize it so much as I just never sought it out. I think Jason had a good point that creating great content and being awesome to our users should be the #1 priority, and the money will follow. Maybe I'm just being idealistic, but I'd rather go for making money in the long run, something that is sustainable over years, instead of trying shady stuff to make a quick buck. Am I on the right track here?

    -- The "check pictures" thing: you know, it's highly motivating to see pictures of $100,000 checks from guys like Shoemoney and Paul Bourque. It makes me realize what's possible, like the sky is the limit. But I also realize that it IS a little uncouth (as Jason said) to post your earnings and brag about them to people like me who would be happy making a mere $4,000 a month from affiliate marketing. I didn't really feel strongly about this until today when I was in the BlogHaus working on my post recapping Wil Reynolds' SEO session. I was sitting near a pretty famous affiliate marketer (who will, for obvious reasons, remain nameless here), and over the course of about ten minutes, I heard him brag NON STOP about how much money he'd made today and how many new RSS subscribers he'd gained in the past 30 minutes. He'd literally say out loud that he'd made $16,000 since he woke up this morning, and that bothered me a great deal. Fantastic, man...you've made more since waking up this morning than I make over 3 months. And I'm glad you gained 100 new RSS susbcribers in the time it took me to get up and get a pretzel and some water. I'm proud of you. But please stop bragging about it in a voice just loud enough for the people around you to hear.

    This ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would be, but it's my first post here and I wanted to get these thoughts out and see what everyone else thinks. I've had a totally fantastic time at Affiliate Summit and I've learned a lot, and I thank everyone involved in putting on the event. I feel like I can go home and start tackling some really good stuff.

  17. #17
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    Don't know where to start but I'll touch on a couple things before I go to bed.

    "But I also realize that it IS a little uncouth (as Jason said) to post your earnings and brag about them to people like me who would be happy making a mere $4,000 a month from affiliate marketing."

    So he did a little better by saying add some zeroes to that. So he's bragging too but those people who posted those checks are actually in the business. He made his money not with affiliate marketing. Nothing wrong with having high aspirations but he comes off a little conceited because there's nothing wrong with what people are making. $100,000 a year puts you in the top 5% of earning Americans. And we all have different goals. Not all of us want companies with employees etc. I got into this to work on my own, no employees.

    This stuff with Mahalo is ridiculous. Now I've checked it out a little so people can fill me in on things I get wrong. But I don't really see any of this original content. I check out one of the top pages - http://www.mahalo.com/Guitar_Hero_3_Wii_Cheats Where is the original content? A lot of piggybacking on Google. Google SERPS, Google Adsense, You Tube video etc.

    He talks about search engines getting gamed and how Mahalo is better. Let's see, I typed in a major shopping term and get a whopping 2 sites. The 2 sites are from users who signed up and submitted their own sites. http://www.mahalo.com/Coupon_Codes That looks easy to game to me. **edited to add. And what nice ones both of them are. They both have my coupons and other coupon site's exclusives on their sites.

    Let's try another, social shopping. I'm really only seeing one, dominating that page. ThisNext - http://www.mahalo.com/Social_shopping a company he is on the board of. I check out who manages the page, who contributed, someone who works for Mahalo. You know there are many more, use a real search engine - http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...ocial+shopping So when I read some of the live blogging, he comes off like he's not going to have the same problems, when I'm already seeing them. Human powered search doesn't work, too much room for abuse.
    Last edited by Trust; February 26th, 2008 at 02:52 AM.

  18. #18
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    So he did a little better by saying add some zeroes to that. So he's bragging too but those people who posted those checks are actually in the business. He made his money not with affiliate marketing. Nothing wrong with having high aspirations but he comes off a little conceited because there's nothing wrong with what people are making. $100,000 a year puts you in the top 5% of earning Americans. And we all have different goals. Not all of us want companies with employees etc. I got into this to work on my own, no employees.
    I want to make it clear that I believe that seeing pictures of people's checks is inspirational. It makes me want to succeed. So on that end, I think it's great. The thing that annoys me is the stuff like the guy I was sitting next to today in the BlogHaus loudly bragging that he'd made $16,000 since he woke up. That's not inspirational, it's degrading to those of us who don't even come close to approaching that. And yeah, Jason did come off as a bit of a jerk by saying to add two zeroes to that before you can be proud of your work. $100,000 a year is something to dream about for many of us, myself included.

    This stuff with Mahalo is ridiculous. Now I've checked it out a little so people can fill me in on things I get wrong. But I don't really see any of this original content. I check out one of the top pages - http://www.mahalo.com/Guitar_Hero_3_Wii_Cheats Where is the original content? A lot of piggybacking on Google. Google SERPS, Google Adsense, You Tube video etc.
    The concept of Mahalo is not building original search result content -- it's linking to the best sources of information for any certain subject. So yeah, you're going to get a lot of piggybacking on Google, YouTube, etc, because that's what it's designed to do: find the best links to a certain subject and cull them together in a single page so that people who aren't tech-savvy have an easy place to search for stuff. And it works, too; I've got a grandmother who knows very little about the internet and always gets confused by Google and Yahoo. I showed her Mahalo, and she's addicted to it because she can, in most cases, find great information on what she's looking for without having to do much searching. These SERPS are put together by Mahalo employees, and in most cases they're actually pretty good.

    Mahalo isn't targeted at people who really know how to use the internet and spend 18-20 hours a week or more. We KNOW how to use Google, so Mahalo isn't beneficial to us. Mahalo is for the people who spend 1-2 hours a week on the internet. And as I told Jason today, they're going to need to develop features for those web savvy users if they want to really get something that's useful across the board.

  19. #19
    Full Member Zdig's Avatar
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    mahalo looks like a giant affiliate site to me...what's the difference? seriously.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    While I will not retract my earlier comment, I am growing increasingly irritated. More and more, I am thinking that Calacanis was a poor choice for a speaker. That doesn't reflect badly on Shawn & Missy or Summit; nobody really knew what he'd say at the keynote or afterwords. This is a clip from his blog:
    In the Affiliate World I'm the bad guy. The more Mahalo succeeds the more folks in the Affiliate business will suffer because the honest truth is that most consumers DON'T want to go to the sites that Affiliates are making. Affiliates typically make sties that are "thin" with little original content, and in some cases stolen content. These sites are typically made with goal of spending as little as possible to get you to click as much as possible--the result is profitability, but the cost is the user experience.

    Now, some of the folks do create nice sites and most of the folks are good people. Overall, my impression is that there are much better content creators out there making better sites in almost every vertical so these sites don't need to exist 90% of the time. However, they exist because they are economically viable.
    Bolding and italics mine.

    Now, I am very forgiving of comments made in person, up on a stage. I've done that, and I know how easy it is to misspeak when you're doing it off the top of your head (or even speaking from a prepared piece). The written word though, where one has time to consider exactly what is being communicated... there's no excuse, and there's no denying exactly what the intent is in this case.

    Look at the first bolded part of the quote. He's saying that all affiliates typically make thin sites with little or no value. He didn't write "a small number of bad guys are giving affiliate marketing a bad name", he didn't write "a few bad apples typically make thin sites..." - there is no mistaking his point of view. He may believe that we think he's the bad guy, but there's no doubt who he believes are the bad guys: all of us. All of us.

    He almost-sort-of-not-quite-doesn't qualify that directly after by saying that "some" of us make "nice" sites. Nice? Well, gee whiz, it's great to know that the some of the tens of thousands of affiliates are making "nice" sites.

    Lastly, he trashes us by saying that in "almost every vertical" there are content creators doing better work... clearly, we do not need to exist.

    And that, really, is his bottom line. Affiliate marketing does not need to exist, it should not exist, and it's the cause of the pollution of the web. That is what his view basically boils down to. And that's the person that was chosen to give the keynote at Summit.

    Look, I understand that I'm not the most experienced person around when it comes to this stuff. I've been dabbling in AM for a couple of years, but I've only really dived in big-time over the past several months. To people like Jason Calacanis, I'm a nobody. I'm okay with that. I have a lot to learn. There are certain things though, that one does not need to be an expert to understand: affiliate marketing is not new, it's a viable and valuable business model, and painting an entire industry with a broad brush is a mistake.

    I don't think Jason Calacanis is a bad guy, in any sense of the phrase. He's doing his own thing, and it's working out for him. He clearly likes to be controversial, and that's fine - it's entertaining, and he's not stupid. But he's wrong about our industry.

    And he was the one chosen to give the keynote. I don't want someone to come in and give us all roses and blow smoke, but I don't want someone who has such obvious distain for all of us, either. The keynote speaker doesn't need to be an expert on the industry (doesn't even need to be familiar with the industry), but the speaker should not insult and degrade the industry.

    That's the problem I have with the choice of Jason Calacanis for keynote speaker.
    Daniel M. Clark
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    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  21. #21
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    Link so you can listen to it all -

    http://www.webmasterradio.fm/Confere...liate-Spam.htm

  22. #22
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    Jason did an excellent job at what he set out to do. He managed to continue branding himself as the business provocateur by defaming an entire industry whose flagship conference invited him to speak. Though I agreed with 80% of what he said, i feel that he added very little to the affiliate dialog...every breath devoted to his personal branding. There was so little constructive merit to his speech that IF his intent was tough love to what he views as a wayward industry, he failed miserably. Tough love requires some 'love'.

    Overall, awesome summit, though.
    Sharon

  23. #23
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
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    Calacanis did exactly what was necessary to promote his brainchild. And bashing affiliates is apparently what he considers necessary for his search engine to succeed. If it actually had a chance to succeed which in my estimation has about a snow balls chance in Vegas.

    In order for any search engine to be successful there has to be a certain amount of trust that users have in the engine itself. They have to trust that they will get relevant results. They have to trust that there is no bias or "hidden agenda" that dictates the results that they receive. And they have to trust that they are being shown the absolute best choices for their searches, regardless of the make-up of the sites.

    By bashing affiliates Calacanis is trying to position his engine as a better choice. One that ignores affiliate sites and returns what he says are only the best results. What cave has he been in for the past several years? Why on earth would he believe that only merchants provide valid information? Why would anyone believe that a merchant would provide un-biased information? The very nature of being a merchant is just the opposite,you promote your self and your products. You're never going to hear Ford say that Chevrolet has a better product.

    So Calacanis used his keynote at affiliate Summit as one large commercial. He's attempting to justify the need for another search engine based on a model that's never succeeded before (user generated) and has more room for abuse than just about any other model available.

    Controversy has always been a good way to drum up attention when you have absolutely nothing else to say. And what can he say? That his search engine is another also ran? That he has a model that is so inherently inefficient that there is no way that it could compete with any legitimate search engine? That he has created a model that cannot hope to achieve or maintain any sort of quality based on existing monetization schemes (I suppose he could try affiliate links)? That he has made search results so subjective that there couldn't possibly be any consistency in depth or quality?

    I'm not really upset that Calacanis took this route. Frankly, in his shoes I probably would have done the same thing. He's faced with the problem of trying to make an engine that is so inherently flawed and uninteresting, interesting. One that requires some pretty drastic measures to get people to view it, even if it is us hated affiliates (made ya look, didn't he?). Hell, traffic is traffic, right?

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  24. #24
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    I enjoyed Jason's keynote speech, and agree with most of what he had to say. The industry does need to be cleaned up. You will get better results in the long term by building sites that are useful. The bad players in our industry do make us all look bad.
    Michael Coley
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  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    You know though, Michael... when you say like that, yes, that makes sense. Yes, the industry needs to be cleaned up, because the bad guys are giving us all a bad name. That's not what Calacanis said, nor what he wrote in his blog afterwords. According to Calacanis, we're all the bad guys, with very, very few exceptions. According to Calacanis, the vast majority of us do not need to exist. According to Calacanis, it's because of our industry that the Internet will soon be an unusable mess, just like Usenet (unless of course, he rides in to save the day with his Mahalo project).
    Daniel M. Clark
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    Greg Hoffman Consulting

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