Tomorrow's leaders

By The Drum | Administrator

August 19, 2002 | 26 min read

Clockwise from top left: Richard MacMillan, Danny O'Donnell, Steven McColl, Steven Thomas, Emma Barnard, Craig Mackie, Jeff Shillito, Matt Buchanan, Jeremy Hamilton, Toby Southgate, Jennifer Surrage, Rufus Spiller, Aaron Harper, Pete Sigrist, Tino Nombro

Name: Richard MacMillan

Date of birth: 28 August 1973

Job title: Senior Sales Executive

Company: Business am

Education, training & relevant qualifications: 7 ‘O’grades, 4 Highers, 2nd Degree Hons. in Marketing from Stirling University. Completed NEBS Management Development Programme in 1998. Certificates in: -

Health & Safety Management

ISO 9000 Quality Management Systems Auditing

ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Auditing

Prince II Project Management

Currently working towards NSQ (National Sales Qualification)

Born: Just in time for lunch – 12:20pm

Career to date: 1995–1997 BM TRADA Certification Ltd. Stirling - Sales Executive.

I was a sales executive for this management consultancy and 3rd party assessment and certification body for ISO 9000, ISO 14001 and BS 8800 Health & Safety Management Systems.

1997-2000 bITs & PCs (UK) Ltd & Calendar Business Associates (CBA). Stirling - marketing manager.

bITs & PCs was a small software house that specialised in delivering bespoke solutions for the Hotel & Catering Industry. CBA was a management training organisation that we set up as a sister company to b&P to deliver several disciplines of management training to industry.

2000-2002 The Sunday Times Glasgow. Advertising sales executive. I worked on the Appointments platform of The Sunday Times Scotland.

2000-2002 Business am in Edinburgh. Senior Sales Executive. I joined Business am 1 month before it launched in September 2000 and was promoted from display sales exec to senior sales executive on 1 May 2002. I am currently working on the Professional Development platform of Business am, together with display advertising for the ICT industry

Biggest professional achievement: Winning a software supply contract to Whitbread Plc whilst with bITs & PCs. The product of 18 months’ extremely hard work and negotiations.

Biggest personal achievement: 28th (not great I know) in the Carlsberg World Junior Mountain Biking Championships in 1988 at Aviemore.

Professional goals: To retire by 50, having made a successful and enjoyable living, inspiring more people than I’ve upset.

In five words describe yourself: Lot brighter than I look.

Professional role model: David Murray – starting his company off as a teenager from his bedsit in Edinburgh with nothing but a phone and calling his company Murray International Metals – that takes balls. His achievements and endurance for everything life has thrown at him both privately and publicly are, I believe, cause for great admiration.

What do you bring to your company? Sporadic moments of inspiration and an unpredictable ability to achieve targets – drives my bosses nuts.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? I’m delighted to say I would be retiring with an array of wise investments supporting me into my dotage.

Professional pet hates: Socially irresponsible people and companies. People who ask a lot of you and dismiss your efforts without explanation. Soap-opera chat in the office.

Name: Danny O’Donnell

Date of birth: 27 April 1975

Job title: Managing Director

Company:Connecti Ltd

Education, training & relevant qualifications:

MA Arts – English/Politics

Masters in Marketing Management

Born: Glasgow

Career to date: Co-founded Elevation Networks (now Connecti) in 1999, 12 months after finishing MSc in Marketing Management.

Biggest professional achievement: Creating my own business and going on to secure substantial new media software contract with the UK arm of one of the most famous brands in the world.

Biggest personal achievement: Bungee Jumping in Canada.

Professional goals: Take Connecti’s software and services business onto European stage & beyond.

In five words describe yourself: Determined, focused, friendly, calm & ambitious.

Professional role model: Dermot Desmond.

What do you bring to your company? Vision & Drive.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? Start own agency.

Professional pet hates: Laziness & persistent cold calling salespeople.

Name: Steven McColl

Date of birth: 28 September 1975

Job title: Publisher

Company: FIRM Publications Ltd

Education, training & relevant qualifications: University of St Andrews MA in Scottish History, founded publishing company “Discover St Andrews & Discover Dundee” (freshers’ handbooks) whilst at university.

Born: Glasgow

Career to date: 1996–1997 News International – Classified Advertising, then promoted to Display Advertising, working on Sunday Times.

1997–1999 Scotsman Publications – Scotland on Sunday Display Advertising, Agency Unit & Scotsman Display Advertising teams.

1999–present FIRM Publications – Founded FIRM Publications, owner of FIRM Scotland (legal magazine), Property Executive (property magazine) and Business & Finance magazine.

Biggest professional achievement: Launching my own company with my business partner, Bill Frain-Bell, and developing it into such a position that it is now considered as a leading Scottish magazine publisher.

Biggest personal achievement: Building up an extensive property portfolio in St Andrews.

Professional goals: To become the Scottish Rupert Murdoch.

In five words describe yourself: Innovative, imaginative, honest, caring and determined.

Professional role model: Rupert Murdoch.

What do you bring to your company? A unique sense of vision, and a determination that is guiding FIRM Publications to great things, at a time when the marketplace is perceived as being a tough one.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? I will never retire. Add on another 2 “0s” to the figure and I might be persuaded to run the empire from a sunny Mediterranean beach, with laptop, mobile & Long Island Iced Tea in hand.

Professional pet hates: I hate publishers who “dabble” in magazines – purporting to be serious magazine publishers, but are no more than “jumped-up printers”, who are merely packing their titles with crap advertorials, they poorly design and edit the products, providing the reader with no call to read - their advertisers never get a response, thus tarnishing the reputation of the wider magazine industry.

Name: Steven Thomas

Date of birth: 27 January 1976

Job title: Account Manager

Company: Media-Link

Education, training & relevant qualifications:

Four Higher grades & one at ‘A’ level.

HNC in Sports Therapy and Sports Psychology.

The Scotsman’s management development programme 1999/00.

Media Business Course Brighton Nov 2000.

I am also about to commence ‘Professional Certificate in Management’ with The Open University Business School

Born: West Lothian

Career to date: 1998–2000. The Scotsman Publications – Rising to senior sales executive.

2000–current. Media-Link – Rising to account manager.

Biggest professional achievement: I was voted as the Scottish Media Sales Personality of the Year in 2001 and I was also part of Scottish Media Sales Team of the year in 2001.

Biggest personal achievement: Would be either winning the Australian New South Wales Soccer League Championship or completing my first (and last) Marathon.

Professional goals: To continue learning in this ever-changing marketplace with a view to advancing my career as far as possible.

In five words describe yourself: Driven, ambitious, humorous, attractive ... modest.

Professional role model: Would have to be a combination of my current MD, Tim Reid, and my previous MD, Steven Walker, which is a scary thought. To be honest, I try and take some influence from everybody I work with (if they’re good, that is.)

What do you bring to your company? I do have a pretty strong personality, which ultimately means that I tend not to do the wallflower thing. This means that I find it fairly easy to build relationships with people. I’m also a bit of a happy chap so I tend to be good in a team situation.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? I certainly wouldn’t dream of retiring. If I saw a niche in the market then I’d go for it - £500k is a nice pot to start with.

Professional pet hates: Fakes - people who put on an act when they do business. I find it is always best to be yourself.

Name: Emma Barnard

Date of birth: 9 May 1975

Job title: Managing Director

Company: Scott House Publishing (Caledonia magazine)

Education, training & relevant qualifications:

University of Glasgow MA (Hons) English Language and Philosophy.

University of Strathclyde MSc, Marketing.

Born: Glasgow

Career to date: Agency account exec, the Scotsman (March 1998 ? Jan 1999)

Advertising manager, Caledonia Magazine (Feb 1999 – Feb 2000)

Commercial director, Scott House Publishing (Mar 2000 – May 2001)

Managing director, Scott House Publishing (June 2001– present)

Biggest professional achievement: Taking Scotland’s leading lifestyle magazine, Caledonia, to new heights, and getting the recognition we deserve in the marketplace. I am lucky to have an excellent team who help me do this. Also, launching our contract publishing division this year has been a great achievement for me personally.

Biggest personal achievement: Maintaining a stable of helpful and supportive friends who are on hand at all times to keep me sane.

Professional goals: To run an organisation which is successful, inspirational and that continues to attract the best people in the business.

In five words describe yourself: Motivated, strong, creative, fun and brave.

Professional role model: Steven McColl, Publisher, FIRM Publications.

What do you bring to your company? Passion, drive and a great deal of “creative” thinking. And an answer for everything – not always right, but I’ve always got an answer.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? Neither – I’d invest it in property. But retiring is not an option – I get bored too easily, and have a hell of a lot I still want to achieve.

Professional pet hates: Older people who feel threatened by the emergence of many young, dynamic business leaders; organisations whose only “sales pitch” is to try to belittle their (often far superior) rivals; the traffic wardens who patrol the street outside my office.

Name: Craig Mackie

Date of birth: 16 March 1976

Job title: Managing Director, Owner, Design Evangelist.

Company: The Shine Agency

Education, training & relevant qualifications: No particular design education; I left school with only an Art Higher to my name nor did I go to any design college. I learned as I went along as an office junior

Born: Glasgow (Southern General to be precise)

Career to date: Left School at 16 and joined “The Edge Creative Consultancy” as a £43-a-week YTS trainee. I was meant to go to the College of Commerce every Thursday as part of my training but I found it too boring and asked if I could work at The Edge five days a week. I worked my way up in The Edge as a designer and I then moved on to a sales role, handling some of their Blue Chip clients. Aged 19 I was at company car status and was flying to London on occasion to deal with clients. My “can do” attitude and general enjoyment of my job led me into learning about lots of different areas of the company. I left The Edge in 1997 and moved to a company called Artrium, based in Coatbridge. After a year and a half, I, as studio manager, was as high as I would be allowed to go in that company. My options were move sideways into another job or start a company. I felt I was young enough to make a mistake and at the age of 22 in March 1999 I started Shine Design.

Based in the Pentagon centre I was a sole trader and started to build a client base. After a very difficult first year I went limited and employed my first designer. After another six months another designer joined and there was a move to premises four times the size.

We re-named and branded to The Shine Agency Ltd in March 2001. An account manager joined us in August 2001 and we moved premises again in December 2001 to our current location at Spiers Wharf. Time has flown and we are three-and-a-half years old, four staff and have steadily increased turnover year on year. I firmly believe in steady calculated growth.

Biggest professional achievement: Starting and maintaining a successful business at a young age.

Biggest personal achievement: Starting and maintaining a successful business at a young age.

Professional goals: Continued growth and success for The Shine Agency. To become better known and highly respected in the industry by my clients, suppliers and peers.

In five words describe yourself (I’ll not tell you what the staff suggested) Focused, organised, honest, energetic & calculated.

Professional role model: Eh, dunno. I tend to do what I want, not follow what others have done.

What do you bring to your company? Leadership. Each member of staff is very capable at their jobs, it is my job to keep everyone motivated and focused. As well as ensuring we are all “singing from the same hymn sheet.” We also regularly socialise together, which very much helps the bonding and teamwork.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? Definitely start an agency. Your immediate cash worries that come with starting a business wouldn’t be there. You could position the business at the higher end of the marketplace immediately (I am currently trying to get there!). I have too much energy to retire, I cannot sit still.

Professional pet hates: Clients who pay late; the abundance of non-fee-paying pitches; the tax implications of small companies.

Name: Aaron Harper

Date of birth: 3 January 1976

Job title: Senior New Media Creative


/graphicpartners, Edinburgh

Education, training & relevant qualifications:

School: Madras College, St. Andrews

College: HND Graphic Design at Dundee College

University: BdesHons Graphic Design & Multimedia at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee

Born: Kirkcaldy

Career to date: from 1999 to 2001 from 2001 to present

Biggest professional achievement: Picking up award at Scottish Design Awards for best website (

Biggest personal achievement: Getting a tune of mine played on the radio about a year or so ago. My personal goal is to play on Top of The Pops

Professional goals: Just to keep on enjoying what I’m doing.

In five words describe yourself - Passionate about music and design.

Professional role model: There are a lot of people whose work I admire, but no-one I would call a role model – be your own hero.

What do you bring to your company? Good music.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? I’d probably retire from a 9-5 job but I think I’d have to still have some sort of creative release.

Professional pet hates: No file extensions when artwork passed from Mac to PC.

Name: Pete Sigrist

Date of birth: 24 December 1975

Job title: Account Manager

Company: MEA Public Relations Ltd

Education, training & relevant qualifications:

Philosophy honours degree from Edinburgh University

Born: Glasgow

Career to date: July 2002–date, account manager, MEA Public Relations.

July 2001–July 2002, senior account executive, MEA Public Relations.

May 1999–July 2001, account executive, MEA Public Relations.

Biggest professional achievement: Winning three major awards at the first ever Scottish PR Awards, 2002 (Best Consumer Campaign, Best Public Affairs Campaign, Grand Prix). Knowing that I made a significant input to the campaign for which we won the awards (HCI International Medical Centre)

Biggest personal achievement: My lucky pants week (too sordid to mention)

Professional goals: To raise my game at every opportunity.

In five words describe yourself: Optimistic, enthusiastic, friendly, intelligent and passionate.

Professional role model: Alex Ferguson.

What do you bring to your company? A professional approach, challenging decisions, hard work for clients, never being beaten, thinking for the good of the company, the clients and the industry.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? I’d find three other people with £500,000 and start our own big agency.

Professional pet hates: Sloppy attention to detail, blinkered approach to problem-solving, selfishness, short-sightedness and negativity.

Name: Tino Nombro

Date of birth: 7 February 1974

Job title: Managing Director

Company: Ambergreen Internet Marketing Ltd

Education, training & relevant qualifications:

BA Hons in Marketing, Strathclyde University

Born: Edinburgh

Career to date: Marketing Assistant: Department of Performing Arts & Venues, Glasgow.

Entrepreneur: Envisage Product Development Ltd

Marketing Manager:

Entrepreneur: Scratch Technologies Ltd

Brand Manager: All-Hotels Ltd

Managing Director & co-founder: Ambergreen Internet Marketing Ltd

Biggest professional achievement: Launching Ambergreen with co-directors Grant Whiteside & Richard O’Connor.

Biggest personal achievement: Catching a 186lb skate off the North West Coast of Scotland (Gairloch). And that skate was about 7 ft long by 5 ft wide.

Professional goals: Ensure Ambergreen becomes one of the leading online marketing companies in the world.

In five words describe yourself: Enjoy life, anything is possible!

Professional role model: Larry Page & Sergey Brin, founders of Google.

What do you bring to your company? Forward thinking strategy, ideas, motivation, and enthusiasm combined with hard work and “feet on the ground” reality.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? Take a nice holiday, then invest in some clever individuals who are capable of creating a successful agency.

Professional pet hates: Negative people and dream stealers.

Name: Mark Noë

Date of birth: 11 February 1973

Job title: Managing Director

Company: Third Eye Design

Education, training & relevant qualifications:

Napier University/Stirling University BSc Hons MSc

Born: Falkirk

Career to date: Set up third eye design in 1994 – still there today.

Biggest professional achievement: Winning Clio award in 2001.

Biggest personal achievement: Climbing to Mount Everest this year.

Professional goals: To be considered globally as one of the world’s most innovative design consultancies.

In five words describe yourself: Confident, quiet, ambitious, moody and grey.

Professional role model: Bill Cahan.

What do you bring to your company? Leadership, drive and a vision to be the very best in what we do, an eye for detail and exceptionally high standards.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? I set up another studio in the United States.

Professional pet hates: Identities that use the @ symbol; poor typography; uncompromising clients.

Name: Jeff Shillitto

Date of birth: 18 August 1974

Job title: Director

Company: Channel 6 Multimedia

Education, training & relevant qualifications:

BSc Hons. Product Design - Napier 1993-97

Born: Blantyre, Malawi, Southern Africa

Career to date: 1998 – Set up Thick 'n' Krunchy product design with Murray Falconer and Stuart Watt.

February 1999-present - Set up and continue to grow and work for Channel 6 Multimedia.

March 1999 - Set up

April 2000 - Helped set up and appointed a director of

Biggest professional achievement: Setting up and building Channel 6 Multimedia from scratch, with no money, no clients, no formal training, just an old PC and £40 a week allowance from LEEL. Having some of our sites feature in The Drum.

Biggest personal achievement: Doing over 350 skydives between 1993 and 1998 and one a couple of months ago.

Professional goals: Build Channel 6 Multimedia into a globally recognised force in innovative website design and development. Retire by the age of 35.

In five words describe yourself: Five foot eight-ish, blonde-ish, Scottish-ish.

Professional role model: Murray Falconer.

What do you bring to your company? A mix of everything from admin to design to Flash/database integration to making tea.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire?

Put £100K each into Channel 6, Drinkon and Webflyers. Blow the rest within 6 months.

Professional pet hates: "New Media" agencies – it’s not new any more and what are they going to call themselves in five or ten years’time? Mac vs PC debates.

Name: Rufus Spiller

Date of birth: 8 November 1977

Job title: Creative


Education, training & relevant qualifications: Cults Academy, Aberdeen: Art A, English B, Modern Studies C.

Aberdeen College, Aberdeen 1996-1998

HND Graphic Design and Production

Born: Naked? (in Aberdeen)

Career to date:

1998–2000 – Designer, Imajica, Aberdeen

2000–2001 – Lead Flash Developer, BlackID, Glasgow

2001–present – Creative, ITSNOTROCKETSCIENCE, Glasgow

Biggest professional achievement: That’s a bit hard ... erm ... being part of the BlackID MTV pitch win was really good but, to be totally honest, I think the best is still to come, I’m still only 24 ... Jeeze, I’ve only been working for four years and I was in Aberdeen for two of them. Sorry Aberdeen.

Biggest personal achievement: I once came fourth in a No Holds Barred Freestyle fighting competition. That was nice.

Professional goals: To continue to work in all forms of media and never limit myself to a single platform, whilst continually raising my and others’ expectations of media online and offline.

In five words describe yourself: Short, hairy, ambitious, excitable and creative.

Professional role model: ANTIROM

What do you bring to your company? What, apart from my good looks, charm, sense of humour and my extensive noo meejah skills? I’m creative (we all are), hard-working (we all are) and ambitious (we all are). I have a burning desire to be the best in anything that I do. I always want the best for any company that I work for so I guess I am a team player with individual ambition. Not unlike the GOD that is David Beckham.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? Agency ... definitely. I have a dream ... and I can’t play golf or garden.

Professional pet hates: Industry buzz words. Noo meejah CVs with absolutely no basis in truth (90% - judging on the many I’ve seen) – yeah sure you know actionscript, show me ... Noo meejah paranoia – if you don’t invest in it, it won’t sing AND dance. The ever

Name: Jennifer Surrage

Date of birth: 27 May 1973

Job title: Account Manager

Company: Navigator Responsive Advertising

Education, training & relevant qualifications:

Morrison’s Academy Crieff – six S Grades and four Highers

Napier University Edinburgh – HND Office Studies and Languages

Born: Glasgow

Career to date: Press assistant at the SSPCA followed by five years in marketing at The Nowell Partnership. I then had a short spell as marketing communications co-ordinator for Aspects software m-commerce division, and joined Navigator in October 2001.

Biggest professional achievement: Helping a previous client to increase turnover by almost 25 per cent within 18 months.

Biggest personal achievement: Not having a degree, and being proud of it.

Professional goals: To be the best I can be.

In five words describe yourself: Decisive, indecisive, decisive, indecisive, decisive.

Professional role model: My Dad – success breeds success.

What do you bring to your company? The drive to be successful and the desire to have lots of fun getting there.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? Knowing my tastes, I’m not sure if £500,000 is really enough to retire. Given the chance, I would start my own agency and bring together all the talented and crazy people I have had the pleasure of working with. They know who they are!

Professional pet hates: False deadlines, rudeness and politics.

Name: Toby Southgate

Date of birth: 12 January 1977

Job title: Creative Strategy Consultant

Company: navyblue

Education, training & relevant qualifications: MA, University of Edinburgh

Born: London

Career to date: I worked in a startup e-commerce news publishing company while at Edinburgh University in 1996, went into investment banking in the City after University, then came back to Edinburgh to become MD of NewsBase ( at the end of 1999. Also set up and ran First Tuesday in Edinburgh with Ross Laurie and Ian Gardiner from September 1999, before handing the baton to Gordon MacIntyre Kemp in May 2000. I left NewsBase at the end of 2001 and joined navyblue in January this year, heading up strategy consulting and new business for our new media division.

Biggest professional achievement: Building First Tuesday Edinburgh from nothing to a membership of over 2,000 in little over 12 months. Growing sales and staff at NewsBase by over 300% in two years.

Biggest personal achievement: Representing the Scotland Universities cricket side.

Professional goals: To help build what becomes regarded as a world-leading agency – best people, best clients, best work, most fun, most highly-paid and happiest staff. To own some of it (I’m not greedy enough to say all of it, and all staff would own a bit), and to buy myself a helicopter, a Ferrari, and a BIG boat. Easy.

In five words describe yourself: Strategic, competitive, charming, chubby & bald.

Professional role model: I admire Tom Hunter, David Murray, Jim Faulds and Michelle Mone, but I don’t set out to follow their path. I will plough my own furrow.

What do you bring to your company? Strategic thought, commercial acumen, a few laughs, a bit of golf, toast, some class and a shiny head.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? There’s no way I could run a helicopter and a Sunseeker on half a million, so I’d have to start an agency.

Professional pet hates: Macs – I still can’t use one properly. PC’s – they just don’t work. Lateness, Missing flights. Our Coke machine as it only ever has Diet Coke in it. Programmers – sorry guys, you still smell. Clients who think a rebranding and implementation comes in at about £12.37.

Name: Jeremy Hamilton

Date of birth: 28 May 73

Job title: Account Director

Company: hatch-group

Education, training & relevant qualifications: BA Hons Politics (Strathclyde University), Post Graduate/Entrepreneurial Studies (Glasgow University).

Born: Glasgow (Queen Mothers Hospital)

Career to date: Journalistic career: Sunday Times Scotland (features writer), The Drum & Priority Magazine. PR career: Weber Shandwick. Founding member of hatch-group Scotland.

Biggest professional achievement: Being part of the founding hatch-group team. It’s not every day you can be part of a £20m start-up.

Biggest personal achievement: Growing up and learning to keep pushing forward and aiming for the top, even when the odds seem stacked against you.

Professional goals: To build hatch-group into the number one agency in the UK.

In five words describe yourself: Creative, tenacious, ambitious, expressive and determined.

Professional role model: My parents, Graeme Jack, Michael Murphy and Brian Maclaurin are all there.

What do you bring to your company? Creativity, hopefully some humour and occasionally coffee for the team from Starbucks.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? Neither, I’d invest some of it in hatch-group shares.

Professional pet hates: Air-kissing PR luvvies...

Name: Matt Buchanan

Date of birth: 29 July 1973

Job title: Senior Designer/ Associate Director

Company: Pure Design

Education, training & relevant qualifications: 10 ‘o’ levels, 4 Highers, 1st Class BA (Hons) Visual Communication

Born: Glasgow

Career to date: Started with Pure in 1997 after graduating. Progressed from junior to senior designer and team leader. Made associate director in September 2001. Nominated for ‘Young Designer of the Year 2002’ at Scottish Design Awards.

Biggest professional achievement: Winning a number of awards and being nominated for ‘Young Designer of the Year 2002’ at Scottish Design Awards.

Biggest personal achievement: Having two kids, Ben and Leoni (with a little help from Eleanor.)

Professional goals: Consistantly growing as a designer producing visual communication that inspires, excites and challenges. To help make Pure Design the most creative and successful agency in the UK.

In five words describe yourself: The glass is half full.

Professional role model: Kyle Cooper

What do you bring to your company? Vision, commitment, creativity and fun.

You have £500,000 – do you start your own agency or retire? I use £100k to set up my own company and the other £400k to produce a film. I then provide all the graphics, opening sequences and publicity for the film which grosses £150M plus. I then retire and make films and design just for the fun of it.

Professional pet hates: Filling out questionnaires, print reps who stalk you, voicemail, people who are late and clients who pitch an A4 poster, 500 run, to 12 different agencies.


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