S3 Ep 068 Amy Giddon Wants You to Connect With Yourself as a Daily Ritual

In this episode, Amy Giddon shares how to foster empathy, meaningful connections, and combat loneliness in the digital era.
S3 Ep 068 Amy Giddon


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Show Notes

Joining us today is Amy Giddon, a visionary leader who is making waves in the world of social well-being and technology. She is the brilliant mind behind the transformative Daily Haloha app, and she’s here to share her insights, experiences, and the incredible journey that led her to create a platform that’s changing lives.

Amy has dedicated herself to fostering acceptance, belonging, and cultivating empathic relationships in a world that’s becoming increasingly digital. Daily Haloha is more than just an app; it’s a haven for self-discovery and meaningful connections. Amy’s vision paints a picture of a world where every individual feels a deep sense of belonging, both within themselves and in the larger global community.

S3 Ep 068 Amy Giddon

In this episode, you will hear: 

  • Creating a daily ritual to connect with yourself and others. 
  • Building empathy muscles by connecting without judgment. 
  • Bringing gravity to social apps. 
  • The changing times and increased desire to double down in connection and empathy. 
  • Cultures of belonging and decreasing loneliness.
  • Daily practices to foster human connection. 

Amy is the founder and Chief Connection Officer of the Daily Haloha app. Daily Haloha is a digital platform for social wellbeing that fosters acceptance, belonging, and an empathic relationship with self and others. Daily Haloha invites participants to look inward and share outward – anonymously, and free of judgment and status – via a simple 2-minute daily routine sparked by one question to the world each day. Her vision is a world where everyone feels at home in their skin and at home in the world.

Connect with Amy Giddon:

Website: https://dailyhaloha.com/ 

To download the free app: http://onelink.to/haloha 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dailyhaloha 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dailyhaloha/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DailyHaloha/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvFkrYXCjQiHkfSU9MPK7Gw

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/dailyhaloha/

Connect with R Blank and Stephanie Warner: For more Healthier Tech Podcast episodes and to download our Healthier Tech Quick Start Guide, visit https://www.healthiertech.co and follow https://instagram.com/healthiertech

Additional Links:


Amy Giddon 0:00
If I had to kind of encapsulate all my work because I do other things as well, it’s let’s, let’s see how we could be left separate. Because I think that makes for happier people. Schoger communities, better cultures, political. So it you know, it ripples through everything. So when someone says to me that they feel less alone, I feel like we’re hitting people. We’re hitting the right No, with the daily experience that we’re delivering.

Announcer 0:31
Welcome to the healthier tech podcast, the show about building a healthier relationship with modern technology. Now, here are your hosts, R blank, and Stephanie Warner.

R Blank 0:44
Why do we need training wheels for empathy. That’s what I get into today with Amy Gidon, creator of The Daily Hello, hi app, and Stephanie is not able to join us today. So I’ll be doing this interview solo and without any further delay, let’s get to it. Joining us today is Amy getting a visionary leader who is making waves in the world of social well being and technology. She’s the brilliant mind behind the transformative daily Hello ha app. And she’s here to share her insights, experiences and the incredible journey that led her to create a platform that’s changing lives. As the co founder and chief connection Officer of daily Hello, ha. She has dedicated herself to fostering acceptance, belonging and cultivating emphatic relationships in a world that’s becoming increasingly digital. Daily Hello, Ha is more than just an app. It’s a haven for self discovery and meaningful connections. Amy’s vision paints a picture of a world where every individual feels a deep sense of belonging both within themselves and in the larger global community. Welcome to the healthier tech podcast. Amy,

Amy Giddon 1:51
thank you so much. And thank you for that really kind introduction.

R Blank 1:54
Oh, of course. And for those who are listening, I will have the name and the link in the show notes. But it’s like Aloha, but starting with an age. So it’s daily. Hello, ha. And Amy, can you tell us? In your own words? What is daily? Hello, ha.

Amy Giddon 2:09
It sounds like such a deceptively simple question. But I’ll get it answered in a kind of a layered way. You know, and it’s the simple answer is that it’s a mobile app. And it’s a daily ritual that takes two minutes a day, to help connect people more deeply to themselves and anonymous others all over the world. And as you said, in your kind introduction, you know, our goal is to help people feel a little more connected to their authentic selves and see how they fit into that bigger human story. Help people remember that there’s lots of people like them, and unlike them, to help them gain perspective on others. And also, I think of it as a little bit of training, we alter empathy developments. So that’s at one level. And another level, we hope to really serve up a daily practice that embed some deeper awareness about technology, and how technology can feel when we strip out some of the some of the aspects of social media and other platforms that actually serve to disconnect us as much as they they fulfil their promise of connection. So you know, we hope that it’s a daily practice that reminds people that it feels good to be in an environment that strips out judgement and replaces it with curiosity, strips that reactivity and replaces it with a space for reflection. So we also just want to remind both that there’s other ways of being in the world and in our technology.

R Blank 3:47
So okay, and and also, so everyone knows who’s listening. The app is free. It’s on iOS and Android. I have it open here. And today’s question is I am willing to struggle in order to and I’m just going to type in, build a successful podcast. And then I’ll hit check. And then I Okay, so now I choose a mood. And I am inspired, and I’ll say motivated. And I hit send. And if I have a little paper aeroplane flying around my screen, and now someone from Milford, Connecticut, I got this person’s daily Hello, ha. I am willing to struggle in order to make other people comfortable. I’m not sure how I’m going to since we’re in the middle of an interview, I’m not going to consider my reaction. So I’m just going to complete the swap. I could react to them. Oh, I have to right. Okay. So I will say you moved me thank you for sharing. And then I get sent to the wall where I get to see everybody’s answers for the day and that’s that’s That’s the experience. Right? That

Amy Giddon 5:02
is the daily experience. I mean, there’s other bells and whistles, whistles, which I’ll encourage you to explore. We archive all your answers. So it becomes a little scrapbook and journal for you of your reflection. But those three steps we call reflection, which is where you ponder the question for yourself, and you respond thoughtfully, and you give it a mood. The second step where you had that anonymous exchange with someone else in the world, we call the swap. And that is an opportunity for two things. One is to have that moment of recognition and acknowledgement of another. And you mentioned as you’re going through the experience, that you actually have to react to someone’s Aloha. And that’s because everyone in the app gets to feel seen and heard by someone else. So we don’t want anyone to skip that step, because it’s a chance for mutual recognition. And that third step, the wall is about perspective taking to see how you fit into this bigger human know, mosaic of responses. So those three steps, reflection, reciprocity, and perspective taking, or the underpinnings of empathy. So it took you what, maybe a minute and a half, maybe less. But those three steps that you went through, were very intentional, and you know, the backbone of the daily experience.

R Blank 6:26
So you said something, and I heard you talk about this on another podcast. And it really intrigued me, which is about stripping judgement from this digital social interaction. What can What do you mean by that?

Amy Giddon 6:42
Where to start, okay,

R Blank 6:44
I’m not judging you. When I asked that question.

Amy Giddon 6:45
Yeah, please. I’ll tell you about how I came to understand the judgement and the need for spaces where judgement is left out of the picture. And it really comes back to social media, you know, I know that it’s very, you know, integral to your work to understand all our different technological tools and how they affect us as humans. And we’ve all seen over the years, and now it’s decades of how in a way social media is developed and how it’s not only connected that connected us, which it certainly does, but has become a, you know, a platform that rewards divisiveness, rewards, grandstanding, rewards, the biggest megaphone, and because of the algorithmic approach to serving content, rewards, content that divides us content, that is extreme content, that trolls in the base are human emotions. And judgement is part of that machinery, right. So people post in order to garner feedback, which is judgement, positive or negative, and that, you know, perpetuates that, you know, sort of cycle of popularity and, you know, ultimately peddling influence. So, judgement really is key to that machinery. And I also believe that well, before I go further, and what we know now to is the how it feels and the impact that it has that as humans to be under the glare of that judgement, in particular, for for use for developing minds for develop people that are figuring out, you know, who they are, and where they fit in the world, being under that harsh glare of social media, feedback and judgement, is can be very detrimental to human development, when we’re trying to figure out who we are and how we show up. So I got really curious about, like, what happens when we take that aspects away, how we communicate, and how we respond to others. And what I looked at a lot of hues in the physical space, because our app was really inspired by participatory art. I thought that Judge there’s no room for judgement. People come upon a collected experience, they participate, they contribute, they have a chance to be exposed to the thoughts and feelings of others that there’s no rule or judgement. And I saw what that did not only for the contributor, is it completely freeing it. One can show up as their totally authentic and vulnerable self that they don’t have to worry about what kind of reaction they might be getting. And as the viewer and consumer of other people’s thoughts and feeling. If you cannot judge, you have to just sit with that. And we’re not used to that. I mean, it’s not only about social media and our very best pays culture and you know, report read partay. And in conversation, it’s like, quack, quack, quack, I, you know, judgement. And we’re not going the way you can really get in touch with your own feelings about how something is sitting with you. So not only are you more free to participate and contribute, you’re more free to understand with with spaciousness, how things are even landing in you and with you. So we talk about replacing judgement with curiosity, when sometimes you’ll see content and deli Hello Ha, that are real head scratchers, I think you might have had that little moment of Ha, you know, when you got that Hello, ha, back, you even said like, Ha. And it’s good to have that Ha, moment, rather than, you know, have to have an opinion right away.

R Blank 10:52
Yeah. And so, I guess to, if I were to have to summarise what you just said. And in a few words, it would be by limiting the interactions, you’re actually forcing people to think, feel and feel. And that you also said something else earlier in this interview, which is that daily Hello, ha, one of the things that it is, is that it’s training wheels for empathy development. And that struck me, because when I think about the definition of humanity, empathy is is kind of critical. You couldn’t have survived, you know, if we’re talking 1000s 10s, of 1000s of years ago, without empathy. And and what you’re saying is that, that those skills are not being taught, at least in the same way as they would have been in in in those settings. Am I? Am I honing in on something there? Because it just seems like why do we need training wheels for empathy development?

Amy Giddon 11:53
Yeah, it’s such a good question. couple answers. Again, kind of a layered, layered answers here. One is that, you know, historically, empathy has not been on any curricula, right? Both in schools or workplaces, where I do do a lot of work, you know, in the workplace. And empathy wasn’t on the agenda really anywhere. I mean, there was sort of a general recognition, like you’re just saying that empathy matters. But it didn’t go a lot deeper than that. Right? I think that the closest thing we came to help teaching children about kindness, which is critically important, and compassion, caring, and compassion, which are also very important, but empathy is trickier. Because it’s not just about caring for another, I look at empathy as really requiring imagination. Because empathy is about and this is this couldn’t tie up to our prior dialogue around judgement and replacing judgement of curiosity. Because empathy isn’t just I care about you, I see that you’re hurting, let me see if I can help, which is a beautiful thing. But also, I don’t even know you, or I do, and I care about you. And I can imagine what you might be experiencing, what it might be like to be you, and therefore what you might be feeling in this particular situation. And when so going back to our conversation about judgement, when there’s judgement, we’re assessing someone’s state of being rather than imagining their state of being, and even putting ourselves in that situation and thinking, Oh, I can not only imagine what I would feel in that situation. But now I can even take that further. And imagine what it’s like to be you in that situation. So that’s a much deeper skill. And, you know, with humility, I would say that our app is a very light touch on empathy building. But my hope is that over time, with daily use, when you see the thoughts and experiences, the pillows, stories that people share over time, you can start to imagine what it might be like to be some of those anonymous others in the app who have, who are sharing thoughts and feelings quite unlike your own. And when you see that stranger on the street, you might be like, Wow, that could be the person who’s just lost their dog, or, you know, is struggling with this or hasn’t seen dream that I do. So we hope that it kind of trickles out into people’s lives and just gives them a moment of pause before rushing to judgement

R Blank 14:48
on your website following through on following on on some of those threads that are on your website. You talk about empathy is social gravity. And when I when I read that I didn’t really get it but now from what you’re saying, I think I do, which is it’s the force that pulls us together. And in in that metaphor, it also makes sense what you talk about on your site, which, if you see me looking to the side, it’s because your site is open. Social media is an anti gravity device. And I again, never really thought of it in, in those terms, but you go on to say, social media on Moore’s us from our shared humanity, and spins us out into ever smaller factions. I mean, where are we headed? Because that’s me, every your site is gorgeous, you’re very positive person. And your app is a wonderful experience. But when I read those words, and then I see, you know, how big these platforms are getting? I mean, where do you really think we’re headed?

Amy Giddon 15:51
I’m optimistic. As much as I mentioned, before, that I empathy historically hasn’t been, you know, a focal area in terms of training and development at any stage of life. I see that changing. Now, granted, you know, when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And when you’re following empathy, you know, you see it popping up all over. But I actually did I what I forget the tool, but you can see the trends on googling certain words, and empathy is on the rise. It absolutely is. I do feel like there’s more attention being paid to empathy. And some of its, you know, its, its will lead in related skills. We’ll call that a skill, soft skill. But I think it’s a hard, no, it’s certainly a hard skill to develop, and that it’s challenging and awful as COVID was and continues to be with all of the concerns about COVID. And social justice and climate. And things are changing. And COVID in particular, I think, was a catalyst for a lot of people remembering and doubling down on the importance of human connection. And I mentioned social, I’ll talk about social media and admit it, but I see a newfound or a doubling down and developing skills like empathy. I’m also seeing a lot of development in the tech faith, a lot of startups that are geared to serving us new ways to connect new ways to gather new ways to foster a sense of belonging to the groups that we’re in now, or might find ourselves in, in the future. So I teach today, you know, I see that the focus in on empathy and you know, related skill development that I also think a lot of momentum in the space of creating alternatives, social media, net, or traditional social media, we’ll call them because they’re their new ways to connect. Now to the question of where are we headed in terms of the big platforms? I don’t know that I have an answer for that, it’s going to certainly be hard to unseat any of those legacy platforms. But I do think we might be chipping away at their dominance. And I do hope too, that with the heightened awareness on privacy backs, all the other things that are going on in this space, that with sudden, new regulation, and other things, these big platforms might just need to change by necessity. So I am hopeful.

R Blank 18:32
That’s good. Like, could you share a specific story or testimonial that that kind of illustrates for our listeners, the impact that daily Hello has had on on someone’s someone specific sense of belonging or self discovery?

Amy Giddon 18:51
The one that comes to mind that I heard a couple of times, either in written reviews on the App Store, or sometimes people do find their way into my inbox, which, for anyone listening, I always answer personally, I love to get mail.

R Blank 19:05
That’s how we that’s how we met that shot you a cold email and you wrote back very quick, very promptly.

Amy Giddon 19:12
Okay, so you are testimony that I do respond. And it’s just simple people will say I feel less alone. And if a handful of people feel less alone, because a daily Hello, ha, it’s, it’s worth, it’s been a labour of love, and it’s absolutely worth it. You know, my my work has really brought me into discussions on loneliness and belonging, loneliness, that it’s opposite right connection and belonging. And I think what animates me the most as a person and as a business leader, is how do we solve for separateness if I had to kind of encapsulate all my work because I do other things as well. It’s let’s let’s see how we could be left separate because that and that makes for happier people, stronger communities, better cultures, political. So it you know, it ripples through everything. So when someone says to me that they feel less alone, I feel like we’re hitting people. We’re hitting the right No, with the daily experience that we’re delivering.

R Blank 20:21
Yeah, I felt that way to using it right? Because it’s kind of funny, because I have no idea who these other people are. But just seeing a wall of everyone’s kind of thoughts on this. I’m like, Oh, it did give me this kind of sense of, of being less alone. And, again, totally anonymous, I have no idea who these but it did contribute that you’ve, you’ve alluded a couple of times to to your work. And I don’t know how deeply you want to go into that. But if you could tell us a little bit about, you know, the work that you do that pays the bills? And then how that got you to daily Hello, ha.

Amy Giddon 20:59
Am I paying my bill? Well? It depends on who you ask No, no, before daily, hello, ha. And it’s really funny to say it like that, because I do feel my life being kind of bifurcated, before and after daily. Hello, ha. My, you know, my prior career was like, hardcore business Doc, you know, I started in management strategy, consulting at Bain and Company went into that intimate, I’m sorry, what a financial services that Amex. So the first decade of my career was like big corporate. And then I continue both going back and forth between financial services and brand and strategy consulting. And those did in fact, pay the bill. And then I started sort of dreaming about something to serve to Sure, separateness after the election of 2016. And that led me to kind of a year of exploration. And I, in 2018, decided to actually do this that we launched in 2019. And I’ve been working in this arena ever since. So as far as paying the bill, because the app is free and add for today. And during the pandemic, I decided that that was going to be forever, forever as a case that I shouldn’t charge for empathy or for people to feel less lonely, it just feels all sorts of wrong. So we set our teams that our sights on developing an extension of our platform, which we hope it has been in a small way, but we hope we can be in a larger way revenue generating, which I’ll describe in a minute, but in the meantime, I do consult on the thigh to pay the bill. And in my consulting work, I focus on my kind of my bread and butter, which is strategy development for companies. But I’m also very involved in women’s leadership. And what I care about a lot is cultures of belonging. So my, my consulting work has also sort of shifted its strategy, but it’s also kind of connecting the dots between employee belonging, and brand development and strategy. So I do that on the side. So as far as daily Hello, ha. Now, one of the things that I learned and getting a lot of feedback, some are not, you know, are anonymous users all over the world is that it feels really nice that I do feel less alone from kind of in an ambient, where they should have probably hearing from humans all over the world, that people are struggling closer to home, they feel the need to belong, at school, at work in their towns, in their even extended families that can be divided in so many ways. And we realised that we had an opportunity to bring our daily ritual to community communities to build belonging and sense of greater connectedness to groups of people in a, in a more intimate and private way. So we built that and launched that last year, and have been sort of very slowly rolling that out. And that would be a paid service for a community to have a private channel within our app to gather their community members in our daily ritual, but with their own questions each day that are attuned and relevant and timely for that group.

R Blank 24:24
That’s really that’s really great. I had no idea you were doing that. I also have to admit, when I asked you that question, I did not think the answer was going to be Oh, I used to work at Bain Capital and AmEx like

Amy Giddon 24:39
you know, if I want to ask you why that the pride that I have I have a hypothesis, but tell me why that’s the prize.

R Blank 24:46
I just assumed you were in social work or psychology or community organising or something like that. I mean, I know people because I also went to business school. Even I have kind of a non traditional career as I went to business school. So I know a lot of people who went down this path, and then some who changed out and did something totally different. But it’s just not what I was expecting you to answer.

Amy Giddon 25:12
So I love I love that you’ve done that. And thank you for sharing that. And, you know, yeah, if I can do it all again, I might have pursued something I would say you know, more in the area of human connection and human development. But I’m really glad I had the career I did. Because first of all, I do have a startup, and I, you know, it is a business, right. So having some business skills, it’s pretty useful. But I also really believe in the power and opportunity for our workplaces to change culture. And that belief comes from being a leader in business environments, and seeing all the things that go right. And then many, many things that go wrong with, you know, how people feel in their work environment and the relationships that are formed in their work environments, we spend most of our lives at work. And we bring home with us to the rest of the people in our lives, those feelings of belonging or disconnection or worthiness, or lack of worthiness, we bring those home, and it affects our relationships with our loved ones, our children, our you know, all of that. So, I’m really excited actually about bringing all that I’ve learned and about connection and belonging into the workplace, which I know very well, because I think it can change culture broadly.

R Blank 26:39
So you’ve been, you’ve been really generous with your time. Today, as as we bring this to an end, and I let you get back to your day. I’m wondering if you could share with us one or a couple of your own personal practices. So separate from daily Hello, Ha, that you use to try to foster human connect connection in your life or in your work?

Amy Giddon 27:07
Nor? I think I’m going to answer that two ways. One is that I accidentally stumbled upon and admire your work, the need for human connection, just start with self connection. And, you know, I used to think like self care, yada, yada, yada, yeah, yeah, that’s for other people. But I started really focusing on my own connection to myself as a way to connect with others. And, surprisingly, that’s been the foundation of all of it. So I do let it take, I do make sure I spend time in nature on bear, like I have a lot of mindfulness practices. And it helps me connect with others. So that was something that was a very unexpected aspect of my connection work. So there’s that and I do have all those practices, in terms of my practice of that have to do with, you know, relating to others directly. I would say that I’ve stopped, you know, there’s this thing like Perfection is the enemy of the good. And I think for myself, that’s really been true when it comes to communicating with others. So I used to wait for the perfect time to like, send an email or a text or make a phone call, or get together with someone, and those times never come, or they come very infrequently. So I communicate quickly, frequently, often, imperfectly, without expectation of response often, because I know just how instrumental it can be and how it can change your day just to get a text like I’m thinking of you and no need to respond. I just want you to know that.

R Blank 28:50
That’s nice. Yeah, I and that was, I also really appreciate the first part of that answer. But, ya know, if someone doesn’t respond to me, I have like, serious issues with you know, you start like, Oh, what did I do? Or did I say something wrong? Or when you you know, over time, I’ve gotten better at that, where it’s like, well, you know, who knows what’s going on in their lives kind of thing. And they’re not replying isn’t doesn’t mean anything, but it was interesting. It was meaningful to me to hear you say that you just reach out to people without any expectation of, of any response back. But of course, your app. There is an expert, anytime I share something, when I share my daily Hello, ha, I know I’m gonna get something back.

Amy Giddon 29:32
Yeah, that is a nice day late and know that you’re gonna get it, you know, we really built it that way, because we know how important that is. Right? And, and, you know, our app is a place to very reliably and predictably at least get touched by one other human, but you know, like real lives and our personal relationships. You know, I don’t know if this happened to you are but you know, it could get the time in between contacts and get in really long, and that it becomes awkward oh my god, I never responded to that text a month ago. And now it’s awkward, I have to wait till I really have time. And then another month goes by. And you can also, as you’re saying, start to imagine, oh, they don’t care about me, they can respond like all there’s so much like data and friction that can happen when we’re in a culture like we are. immediate response and 24/7. And so what it doesn’t happen that way you start like making a lot of you create a lot of stories about what went wrong. And then it just gets harder. So I think taking that away, and letting the cadence be what it is, and letting people know that, hey, sometimes we might be in close contact. And sometimes we’re not that I care about you either way, has been really refreshing in my relationships.

R Blank 30:49
That’s nice. That’s really nice. I’m going to I’m going to try to put that one into the actual threat. And it’s, it’s, it’s totally hypocritical of me to because I’ll regularly go four or five days without checking my phone, or even opening email. So there’ll be people who, like, send me an email on Thursday afternoon. And even if I’m responsive, I don’t get back to them till Monday afternoon. And, and so but for me, too, then if it happened to me, I’m like, wait, what’s going on what’s going on? But I do it to people all the time. So I’m going to try to practice a little more mindfulness on that. Amy, thank you so much for joining us here on the healthier tech podcast. The app is daily. Hello, ha. The website is daily. Hello, ha.com. We’ll have links to all of that in the show notes. This has been wonderful. Thank you so much.

Amy Giddon 31:39
Thank you to I really I really enjoyed our conversation.

Announcer 31:43
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the healthier tech podcast. Remember to check the show notes for all the links and resources mentioned in the show. Please like and subscribe to the healthier tech podcast on Apple, Spotify or your podcast platform of choice. Get your free quickstart guide to building a healthy relationship with technology and our latest information at healthier tech.co

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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R Blank

R Blank

R Blank is the founder of Healthier Tech and the host of “The Healthier Tech Podcast”, available iTunes, Spotify and all major podcasting platforms.

R has a long background in technology. Previously, R ran a software engineering firm in Los Angeles, producing enterprise-level solutions for blue chip clients including Medtronic, Apple, NBC, Toyota, Disney, Microsoft, the NFL, Ford, IKEA and Mattel.

In the past, he served on the faculty at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering where he taught software engineering, as well as the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He has spoken at technology conferences around the world, including in the US, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, and he is the co-author of “AdvancED Flex Development” from Apress.

He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and received his bachelor’s degree, with honors, from Columbia University. He has also studied at Cambridge University in the UK; the University of Salamanca in Spain; and the Institute of Foreign Languages in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Connect with R on LinkedIn.

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