Google Picks Indian-American CEO

Silicon Valley tech giant Google has named Indian-born IIT-educated Sundar Pichai to head its search, ads, maps, Play Store, YouTube, and Android businesses as part of a major reorganization announced by the company. Current Google CEOs Larry Page and Sergei Brin have kicked themselves upstairs to lead Alphabet, a new holding company which will include Google as well as affiliated companies like the life-extension project Calico and a drone delivery venture called Wing, according to media reports.

FOBs and ABCDs:

Pichai and other Indian-born individuals in Silicon Valley are often referred to as "FOBs" (Fresh Off the Boat) by American-born Indians. FOBs return the "affection" by calling American-born Indians "ABCDs" (American Born Confused Desis). For those unfamiliar with the Indian vernacular, Pichai's first name Sundar means beautiful. All joking aside, it's a matter of great pride and joy to Indians and other immigrants for one of their own to be picked to head an iconic Silicon Valley tech giant.

Google Revenue Growth Slowing



Google Revenue Growth:

While Google continues to generate billions of dollars in cash, its revenue growth is clearly slowing. Google's revenue growth has halved in a year-- from 22% annual growth in Q2/2014 to 11% in Q2/2015. The trend is clear: High growth can not be sustained as new social media competitors like Facebook and Twitter grow to target the same ad market.


Boston Consulting Group's Market Share vs Growth Matrix



Cash Cow Management:

It seems that Google founders Brin and Page have decided to delegate the tending of the cash cow called Google to Pichai.  This will free up the founding duo to focus on investing in new ideas to grow other large high-growth tech businesses in the future as Google's ad revenue growth continues to decline. It's a well-known concept first documented by Boston Consulting Group in a matrix with four quadrants: Stars, Dogs, Cash Cows and Question Marks.

Difficult Transition:

Other high-growth tech companies have found this transition from a cash-cow to new high-growth products very difficult. Apple did well with the PC business but almost failed with its decline until Steve Jobs returned with iPod, iPhone and Tablets to reclaim its high-growth trajectory.  Intel and Microsoft continue to struggle since the growth of Wintel PCs flattened. It will be a big test for Google founders to manage this major transition.

Summary:

Major reorganization announced by Google today is a recognition of the difficult transition its founders face. With all its talent, Google probably has as good a chance as any tech company to meet this challenge head-on. Brin and Page must continue to focus on hiring and retaining the top talent to pull it off.

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Comments

Riaz Haq said…
Excerpts from New York Times Sept 2013 when Microsoft picked Satya Nadella:


“It is very hard to be a broad-based tech conglomerate,” said David Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School.

“It makes it harder to manage, which is a challenge for Microsoft (applies to Google as well) no matter who the successor is,” said Mr. Yoffie. Long before Mr. Ballmer announced his retirement, he and Bill Gates, the Microsoft chairman and co-founder, had both quietly acknowledged that identifying a new leader for Microsoft would be hard. A person who spoke to Mr. Gates several years ago on the subject of succession recalls the Microsoft chairman saying he would support replacing Mr. Ballmer if he could think of someone who could do a better job.

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Mr. Sherlund has speculated that Microsoft could give Facebook, with which Microsoft has an existing partnership, control of Bing, in exchange for a share of revenue from the additional traffic it would drive to Facebook’s site. Mr. Sherlund estimates that Microsoft has accumulated losses of more than $17 billion in the search and online business.

Still, while it has sold off or spun out smaller businesses in the past — the travel site Expedia originated at the company in the late ’90s — Microsoft has shown no interest in jettisoning major products.

In its defense, Microsoft notes that its long line of products yields many synergies. Xbox uses a variation of the Windows operating system, while Bing provides search services that are tightly integrated with Windows, Xbox and the Windows Phone mobile operating system.

Further, it could be argued that Microsoft’s competitors are recognizing that, like Microsoft, they need to develop products in areas once considered outside their expertise. Google bought Motorola Mobility to help it get into the hardware business. Apple has been on a start-up acquisition binge to improve its online mapping service. And Amazon, once entirely focused on consumers, has become an important supplier of cloud services to businesses.

Even with those changes, Mr. Yoffie of Harvard said Microsoft’s big rivals are still more focused than it is. “I think the fundamental question for the next C.E.O. of Microsoft,” he said, “is, what is his vision of Microsoft?”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/technology/worries-that-microsoft-is-growing-too-tricky-to-manage.html?_r=0
Riaz Haq said…
#Google Executives See Cracks in Company Success. Many are worried that #tech giant is suffering from its #Indian-#American CEO Sundar Pichai's leadership style. His slow deliberations feel like a way to play it safe and arrive at a “no.” #SiliconValley https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/21/technology/sundar-pichai-google.html?smid=tw-share

The executives, some of whom regularly interacted with Mr. Pichai, said Google did not move quickly on key business and personnel moves because he chewed over decisions and delayed action. They said that Google continued to be rocked by workplace culture fights, and that Mr. Pichai’s attempts to lower the temperature had the opposite effect — allowing problems to fester while avoiding tough and sometimes unpopular positions.

A Google spokesman said internal surveys about Mr. Pichai’s leadership were positive. The company declined to make Mr. Pichai, 49, available for comment, but it arranged interviews with nine current and former executives to offer a different perspective on his leadership.

“Would I be happier if he made decisions faster? Yes,” said Caesar Sengupta, a former vice president who worked closely with Mr. Pichai during his 15 years at Google. He left in March. “But am I happy that he gets nearly all of his decisions right? Yes.”

Google is facing a perilous moment. It is fighting regulatory challenges at home and abroad. Politicians on the left and the right are united in their mistrust of the company, making Mr. Pichai a fixture at congressional hearings. Even his critics say he has so far managed to navigate those hearings without ruffling the feathers of lawmakers or providing more ammunition to his company’s foes.

The Google executives complaining about Mr. Pichai’s leadership acknowledge that, and say he is a thoughtful and caring leader. They say Google is more disciplined and organized these days — a bigger, more professionally run company than the one Mr. Pichai inherited six years ago.

During his time leading Google, it has doubled its work force to about 140,000 people, and Alphabet has tripled in value. It is not unusual for a company that has grown so large to appear sluggish or unwilling to risk what has made it so wealthy. Mr. Pichai has taken some steps to counter that. In 2019, for example, he reorganized Google and created new decision-making bodies so fewer decisions needed his signoff.

Yet Google, which was founded in 1998, is dogged by the perception that its best days are behind it. In Silicon Valley, where recruiting and retaining talent serve as a referendum on a company’s prospects, executives at other tech companies said it had never been easier to persuade a Google executive to forgo a stable, seven-figure salary for an opportunity elsewhere.

Mr. Pichai, a former McKinsey consultant, joined Google in 2004 and quickly demonstrated a knack for navigating a company teeming with big egos and sharp elbows.

In 2015, when Google became part of Alphabet, Mr. Pichai took over as Google’s chief executive. He was promoted again to oversee the parent company as well when Larry Page, a Google co-founder, stepped down as Alphabet’s boss four years later.
Riaz Haq said…
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal's Old Tweets Shared Without Context
In the now-controversial tweet, Agrawal quotes comedian Asif Mandvi from The Daily Show by Jon Stewart.

https://www.thequint.com/news/india/old-parag-agrawal-tweet-shared-without-context

After Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down as the microblogging website's chief executive officer (CEO), the company announced that Parag Agrawal, who was the chief technical officer, would take Dorsey's place at the helm of the company.

Shortly after the news broke, an old tweet from Agrawal's verified Twitter account started doing the rounds on social media, which appeared controversial in its nature.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal's Old Tweets Shared Without Context
In the now-controversial tweet, Agrawal quotes comedian Asif Mandvi from The Daily Show by Jon Stewart.


After Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down as the microblogging website's chief executive officer (CEO), the company announced that Parag Agrawal, who was the chief technical officer, would take Dorsey's place at the helm of the company.

Shortly after the news broke, an old tweet from Agrawal's verified Twitter account started doing the rounds on social media, which appeared controversial in its nature.

In the tweet, Agrawal states, "If they are not gonna make a distinction between muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists. (sic)"

Agrawal's tweet was shared across social media platforms, where Indian users criticised him for being "woke" in their posts.

The tweet was picked up by many right-wing outlets in the United States (US) and a few members of the Republican Party quote-tweeted Agrawal criticising him.

But we saw that Agrawal's now-controversial tweet from 11 years ago had quotation marks around it and looked for more context around the tweet.

What Was Agrawal Talking About?
We looked at Agrawal's Twitter timeline, filtering using Twitter Advanced Search to obtain more tweets from around the same time – October 2010.

By doing so we came across a reply from Agrawal's account around 12 minutes after the said tweet, where he noted that he was quoting comedian Asif Mandvi from The Daily Show.


We also came across a tweet by CNN journalist Andrew Kaczynski, who noted that Agrawal had quoted a "Daily Show segment that aired that night about stereotypes." The tweet further stated that it was a joke on absurd stereotypes and wasn't a factual statement.

The full episode of 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart', which aired on 15 October 2010, discussed the firing and Williams' statement where he said that he is 'little scared when he saw people dressed in 'Muslim garb' on airplanes.'

Around the nine-minute mark in this video, Mandvi remarks on having fun with discriminatory treatment on airlines and says the following, which is a near-match for Agrawal's now-controversial, out-of-context tweet:

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal shared a quote from a segment from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart nearly 11 years ago, where comedian Asif Mandvi was commenting on the unfair treatment that Muslims (or people of colour) are subjected to while travelling by air in the US.

The tweet is being shared by people across social media platforms to claim that Agrawal is a racist person, and a section of users are of the opinion that such a person should not be put at the helm of a public platform.
Riaz Haq said…
#Indian-#American Vishal Garg, CEO of #California-based mortgage #fintech Better.com fires 900 employees en masse over Zoom video call. Garg cited difficult market conditions, sloppy productivity and poor performance http://toi.in/ZsFh3a7/a24gk via @timesofindia

An Indian-American CEO has caused shock waves and outrage in the American workplace by summarily firing 900 employees in a Zoom call citing difficult market conditions, sloppy productivity and performance on their part despite a $750 million cash infusion into the company from investors.
Video clips of mortgage company Better.com CEO Vishal Garg terminating employees en masse are being widely shared on social media to illustrate what workers said was a heartless approach ahead of Christmas.
Garg, 43, began the Zoom call with the warning, "I come to you with not great news" before telling them, “If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated, effective immediately."
“This isn’t news you are going to want to hear. But ultimately, it was my decision and I wanted you to hear it from me. It’s been a really, really challenging decision to make. This is the second time in my career I’m doing this and I do not, do not want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried. This time I hope to be stronger,” Garg says.

As he continues to explain the reasons for firing, shock and agony can be heard from fired workers constituting what the company officials said was 9 per cent of the 10,000 strong firm.
“This is not real. Oh my god, I can’t believe this. This is not real. Oh no, this can’t be happening,” the person can be heard saying in one clip.
Garg, an alumnus of the New York University's Stern School of Business and a father of three, founded Better.com in 2013 after his wife and he found it hard to get a mortgage to buy a home in a process most Americans find complicated and bewildering.
"I couldn’t find a single mortgage lender able to offer a pre-approval online without antiquated paper and phone-based manual processing. None could work on my schedule. And none gave me the peace of mind that they were not only the most efficient, but that they also had my best interests at heart," he explained in a founding note in which he disclosed they were still renting a home, even though he is now said to be a billionaire.
Having founded the company aimed at ending "3 weeks of brain damage and phone tag" and introducing a process "where you could get a pre-approval on your mobile phone in about 3 minutes," Garg claimed in the June 2021 note that "Our team has tripled in size (we’ve outgrown two offices in Manhattan) and we’re only continuing to add talented, passionate people who believe in our mission...And we’re just getting started."
Evidently, it was too much too soon. In the Zoom call, Garg explained that the market had changed and the company had to move with it in order to survive.
Better.com has back offices in India and it was not clear how many of the sacked workers are in India and how many in US. Garg said all the US-based employees laid off would get four weeks of severance, a month of full benefits and two months of coverup for which the company would pay the premium.
According to market reports, the mortgage lender received a $750 million cash infusion last week, mainly from Softbank, ahead of going public through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).
Riaz Haq said…
New Twitter CEO (Parag Agarwal) highlights struggle to halt India's brain drain - Nikkei Asia

Rupa Subramanya is a researcher and commentator. She is a distinguished fellow of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and the co-author of "Indianomix: Making Sense of Modern India."

https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/New-Twitter-CEO-highlights-struggle-to-halt-India-s-brain-drain

I identified the fact that most of these success stories typically involve people with graduate degrees, training and work experience all acquired in the U.S. Well trained in mathematics, fluent in English and at ease in the American business culture, Indians are able to transition into leadership roles much more comfortably than many other Asian-born corporate executives in the U.S., including those born in China.


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But the success of Indians on Wall Street, Silicon Valley and in Ivy League colleges is both a glass-half-full and a glass-half-empty story.

On the one hand, Indians excel in the meritocratic American work culture, but on the other, they are escaping a stiflingly bureaucratic, crony-driven, inefficient work culture back home where innovation and creativity are often punished rather than encouraged and rewarded. With the notable exception of several prominent recent startups, mostly in the tech sector, the biggest Indian conglomerates are typically headed by their founders or their descendants.

These push and pull factors driving talented Indians to the U.S. are revealed dramatically in official statistics. Using data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a reply to a question in the Indian Parliament, my analysis shows that from January 2014 to September 2021, a little under 1 million Indians have given up their passports to acquire foreign citizenship. Indian law does not allow multiple nationalities, so those giving up their passports are doing so because they have acquired citizenship elsewhere.

Of those giving up their Indian passports from 2014 to 2019, the years for which we have comparable data, more than 30% on average were giving up their Indian citizenship to become naturalized Americans. In 2019, the year before the pandemic, that was a whopping 45%. In other words, almost half of those giving up their Indian passports were acquiring American ones.

China, which also requires those citizens who obtain citizenship of another country to relinquish their Chinese passport, has seen no such exodus. Data from the DHS from 2003 to 2019, the last year for which data is available, shows a consistently higher number of Indians becoming naturalized every year compared to Chinese-born immigrants.

On average, 40% more Indians became naturalized in a given year than Chinese, bearing in mind that China has a larger population than India. In 2019, a whopping 64% more Indians were naturalized than Chinese. Given the large number of Indians giving up their passports in the last couple of years, that percentage may even tick up a few more points when the latest U.S. numbers become available.

This reality of a mass exodus of talent from India is not new, a phenomenon that goes back to the 1960s. However, it is a far cry from the optimistic free-market rhetoric of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his early days in office, when his main slogan was "minimum government, maximum governance."

Modi convinced many at the time that India would once again be a land of opportunity, as it had been in the mid to late 2000s under the previous Congress-led government when the economy was growing at nearly double digits, prompting many Indians to return home with some even giving up the coveted American green cards. That hope soon faded against the backdrop of corruption scandals that helped usher Modi to power in 2014.
Riaz Haq said…
What’s the secret behind India’s IIT, which produced Twitter chief Parag Agrawal and other tech titans?
The Indian Institute of Technology is an elite network of 23 engineering schools which boasts the ‘the most difficult admission exam on the planet’
‘IITians’ include Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen, Micron Technology’s Nikesh Arora and Sun Microsystems’ Vinod Khosla


https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/economics/article/3160906/whats-secret-behind-indias-iit-which-produced-twitter-chief?module=perpetual_scroll_0&pgtype=article&campaign=3160906

Above the imposing main entrance of the first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), which opened back in 1951, is the motto “Service to the Nation”. For years, as many graduates of the country’s elite network of engineering schools headed off for greener pastures in the US, the joke among Indians was “which nation?”.
Twitter’s new chief Parag Agrawal recently joined a long list of talented IIT graduates who have become tech titans in Silicon Valley, including Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen, Micron Technology’s Nikesh Arora and Sun Microsystems’ Vinod Khosla to name just a few.

By global standards, IIT – which has grown to 23 campuses around India – is way down the academic league tables, according to the widely used QS World University rankings. IIT Bombay fared best of all Indian educational institutions in 2021, coming 177 out of the leading 200 universities in the QS global rankings. By contrast, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was in top position. While IIT scores well on employer reputation, with 70 out of 100 points, it loses heavily on its lack of international students and faculty.
Riaz Haq said…
Why Brahmins lead Western firms but rarely Indian ones

https://www.economist.com/asia/2022/01/01/why-brahmins-lead-western-firms-but-rarely-indian-ones


what do the chief executives of Adobe, Alphabet, ibm, Match Group (which owns Tinder), Microsoft, OnlyFans (a subscription service featuring content creators in various stages of undress) and Twitter have in common? All seven happen to be of Indian origin. That is not surprising considering the abundance of subcontinental talent drifting into Western companies: in recent years Indians have been granted well over two-thirds of America’s h-1b visas for highly skilled workers.

But these particular bosses share something else, too. They are all top-caste Hindus. Four are Brahmins. Traditionally associated with the priesthood and learning, this pinnacle of the caste pyramid’s 25,000-plus sub-groups makes up just 50m or so of India’s 1.4bn people. The other three ceos come from castes traditionally associated with commerce or “scribal” professions such as book-keeping. These groups account for a similarly slim section of the pyramid’s capstone: the 30% of Hindus that the government classes as “forward” castes, as opposed to the 70% who fall among such categories as “backward” or “scheduled” castes (Dalits, formerly known as untouchables) and “scheduled tribes”
Riaz Haq said…
Dalit Diva
@dalitdiva
(Thenmozhi Soundarajan)

In the grand silicon valley tradition of white cismen passing the torch to Brahmin cismen Jack Dorsey is stepping down and Parag Agarwal is the new CEO of Twitter. Will he also remain silent about Caste? #casteintech

https://twitter.com/dalitdiva/status/1465358123640655875?s=20

Remember Microsoft went from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella & Alphabet from Larry Page to Sundar Pinchai. These companies still have caste discrimination while having leadership that is racially diverse but caste priviliged. DEI is the need of the hour. #Casteintech

https://twitter.com/dalitdiva/status/1465358125616152581?s=20
Riaz Haq said…
#India's #IIT professor says 'ghosts exist', claims to have driven out 'evil spirits' via chants. Behera teaches Electrical Engineering. He has a PhD from IIT #Delhi. His specialities include #robotics and Artificial Intelligence (#AI) #Hindutva #BJP #Modi https://www.timesnownews.com/the-buzz/article/iit-mandi-director-prof-laxmidhar-behera-says-ghosts-exist-claims-to-have-driven-out-evil-spirits-via-chants/849746

KEY HIGHLIGHTSProfessor Laxmidhar Behera, Director of IIT Mandi, said that "ghosts exists"In a video, he claimed that he went to Chennai in 1993 to drive out "evil spirits" from his friend's house and familyHe said that he chanted holy mantras in his apparent act of exorcism

A video of the newly appointed Director of IIT Mandi, Professor Laxmidhar Behera, talking about his apparent act of exorcism to get rid of "evil spirits" from his friend's house by chanting holy mantras has surfaced online.

In the five-minute video, Behera recalled the 1993 incident when he travelled to Chennai to help a friend who was in distress as his "family was affected by ghosts".

The professor said that he had started "practising the thoughts and wisdom in the Bhagavad Gita" along with chanting the 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' mantra. He said that he had decided to help his friend to "demonstrate the potency of the holy name", The Indian Express reported.

"So I took two of my friends and reached at 7 pm. He was in a research scholar apartment. After 10-15 minutes of loud chanting, we suddenly saw his father, who was a very short... person, absolutely old, barely able to walk, and suddenly his hand and leg was... he was creating such a ghastly dance and his head is almost touching the roof. You could feel that he is being completely devoured by the evil spirit," Behera said in the video.

He added that the mother and wife of the friend were later "possessed by the evil spirit'. It took them around "45 minutes to an hour" of loud chanting to ward off the "evil spirit", he said.

The video was posted seven months ago on a YouTube channel named "Learn Gita Live Gita". The tagline of the channel is "Project by IITIANS who live Gita."

Behera told IE, "I narrated what I said. Ghosts exist, yes."

Behera is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. He has done PhD from IIT Delhi and his areas of speciality are robotics and Artificial Intelligence.
Riaz Haq said…
The catastrophic cost of junk science, bogus information and the Hindutva inferiority complex
Pseudo-science will be the death of us.
Rohit Chopra
May 01, 2021 · 07:30 am

https://scroll.in/article/993255/the-catastrophic-cost-of-junk-science-bogus-information-and-the-hindutva-inferiority-complex

In part, the packaging of junk science as genuine Hindu scientific knowledge represents a deep-seated complex about the significance and worth of Hindu identity in a global world. In the Hindutva schematic, Hindu identity is, of course, conflated with Indian identity. In part, this phenomenon is a product of a very specific battle that Modi has been fighting forever with the legacy of Nehru, who is his intimate enemy, the figure he wants to surpass and displace from institutional, collective, and public memory in India.

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As India collectively gasps for breath, confronted by a catastrophic surge of Covid-19 infections and deaths, the control and content of information related to all aspects of the pandemic have become highly politicised, even more so than has usually been the case for a good while now.

Having masterfully managed, threatened and eventually dominated most of the legacy media over the last seven years, the Bharatiya Janata Party government suddenly finds itself haplessly trying to contain not just the virus but the narrative about the extent of the carnage, the breakdown of the healthcare system, and the reasons for the clearly visible failures of Modi’s leadership.


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In February 2021, at an event which was attended by the health minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Ramdev claimed that Coronil had received certification from the World Health Organisation, an assertion that was shortly thereafter denied by the WHO and condemned by the Indian Medical Association.

In April 2020, Jaggi Vasudev, who has built a fortune by peddling senseless jargon like “inner engineering” to gullible and stressed Indian techies in Silicon Valley, stated with his characteristic confidence that “the virus does not want to kill you. This virus is living in our body because we are a wonderful habitat for it.”

As a defence strategy, Vasudev advocated not treatment, but mental strength, calm, and a positive attitude. Good virtues all, no doubt, but unproven as a remedy for illnesses. As Siddhartha Mukherjee, doctor, researcher, and author of the Pulitzer-prize winning book on cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies, states, “A positive attitude does not cure cancer, any more than a negative one causes it.”

Cow urine party
In March 2020, a Hindutva group, the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, held a cow urine drinking party as a means of providing protection against the virus. Given the reach of Ramdev and Vasudev and the incessant promotion of gaumutra by the Hindu Right since 2014, these grand pronouncements beg one big question: if there is any significant measure of truth to any of these claims, why was the virus not effectively vanquished or contained in India within a few months of these remedies being trotted out?

As with celebrity affirmations of dubious science, though, the more alarming issues here are, one, the complicity of the BJP government in actively promoting snake oil cures and, two, the moral and ethical responsibility for the harm arising from the propagation of such inaccurate and misleading information among the Indian populace.

To be clear, these kinds of arguments are not an invention of the Modi era nor exclusively believed by Hindu nationalists. They have a long history, dating back to at least the nineteenth century. The historian Gyan Prakash’s fine study, Another Reason: Science and the Imagination of Modern India (1999), describes how such claims are rooted in colonial-era anxieties about the universalist nature of neglected Hindu knowledge, which, Hindu intellectuals argued, had the potential to hold its own against Western science and technology though it first needed to be resuscitated from the depths of time.

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