DragonSearch Digital Marketing » Ric Dragon http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com Online Marketing Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:04:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Augury, Predictions, and Prognostications in Social Media http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/augury-predictions-and-prognostications-in-social-media/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/augury-predictions-and-prognostications-in-social-media/#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2014 18:00:55 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/?p=15710 Continue reading ]]> This is the time of year when writers and editors everywhere are working on blog posts and articles about what social media experts are saying is going to be “the thing” for 2014.A vintage postcard that features a small child resting on the leaves of a plant having a celebratory glass of champagne for the New Year.

I’m not fond of the word “expert,” nor “guru,” “ninja,” or any other indicator that the titleholder possesses arcane knowledge. I do, however, consider myself a student of the phenomenon, and spend a lot of my waking hours studying and talking about social media. Thus – I am the recipient of a few of those requests for crystal ball gazing.

I take these requests seriously. Before crawling out of bed in the morning, I lie there, staring up at the ceiling. I continue the pondering during my morning ablutions, and while making the morning coffee. This is serious stuff.

Thinking back through the previous year: with a few exceptions, social media has been on a trajectory of sorts – big brands have been allocating more and more resources to social, doubling down on their investments. There have been some notable instances of content marketing – and thus, that whole notion of content as king is being taken quite seriously.

In the past, some new technology has come along and taken the world by storm; or at least the social media world. Remember 2007 when the iPhone made the cover of Time Magazine? Smart phone technology freed-up users of social media so that they truly could share their lives in real time. I didn’t see it coming!

Or the year that Pinterest launched and was discovered by wedding planning, feather-nesting, and dreaming-of-castles pinners? We’d already had several years of social media platform design patterns in the making. Photo galleries were always big – in fact, part of Facebook’s initial growth came about because of their handy photo gallery feature. But Pinterest – this creation of “boards” of photos – just seemed to really grab people’s imaginations. I didn’t see it coming, either.

Which suggests to me that I’m really not that good at seeing things coming. It also suggests to me that we are still in a rapid-innovation phase of social media; that new patterns of social media behavior are still to be designed.

There will also be a deepening of commitment to aspects of social media that are already in play. As more and more success stories are revealed, brands will expend some effort to find the major approaches to social media marketing that make sense for their brand and customers.

• Better and smarter processes for social media
• Allocation of more of the marketing budget to social media
• A focus on the creation of value through content marketing
• More use of social media advertising to boost natural engagement

If we study the history of social media – as brief as it is – we can make a guess that something will happen in this coming year: some new technologies or design patterns; some notable and interesting uses of social; and some embarrassing gaffes on the part of some brands. Beyond all of this, my crystal ball is fuzzy. Maybe I’ll switch to tea leaves.

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Semiotic Pie http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/semiotic-pie/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/semiotic-pie/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 20:06:23 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/?p=15839 Continue reading ]]> Friend and marketer Ty Sullivan questioned the relevancy of this Capital One ad. He suggested there was marketing disconnect. I, on the other hand, think the ad is, if not the work of an advertising genius, pretty clever.

Capital One Bank advertising featured two slices of cherry pie.

There’s quite a bit to address here in terms of semiotics. This isn’t just an ordinary slice of pie – it’s an ordinary slice of pie. Actually, two of them, stacked. With whipped cream on top.

Did you play that game as a child: “pretty please,” and then “pretty please with whipped cream on top?” And everyone “deserves a slice of the pie,” which speaks to a sense of entitlement and enfranchisement. Free. Like “America the land of the free,” because you shouldn’t have to pay for ATMs, and aren’t you feeling indignant?

Here, mama has a slice of pie for you: the bank as mother. And get MORE! Life is a bowl of cherries.

American Pie – the archetypal adolescent movie, where the hero was caught masturbating with a pie, because he was told that getting to third base felt like that. Cherries, as the symbol of virginity, while three of the fruits lined up signify great winnings at the casino. It’s not a coincidence that the myth goes that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree.

In the flash of a second that a passerby takes in the image, does the ad enhance their life, or does it require too much of an emotional investment? Does it add aesthetic value to the landscape, or is it an unwelcome intrusion that disrupts the thinking of the day. Clearly, for the marketer, if the audience associates all of the warm, wonderful emotions with the brand, it could be a win. On the other hand, more and more people have learned to avert their glances from pastries and candy; they are simply trying to be healthier.

 

photo courtesy of Ty Sullivan

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Punishing Customers http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/punishing-customers/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/punishing-customers/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 15:24:18 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/?p=15295 Continue reading ]]> How we deal with children has changed dramatically since my youth, and if you were to believe the stories of our parents, even more so since their day.  The paddles hanging behind my teachers’ desks had one-inch holes drilled across the surface, and when asked why, we were told so that the paddle moved more swiftly, more painfully, with less air resistance.

Punishment is a strange notion, with deep roots in our culture.  While we may not emblazon scarlet letter A’s on anyone’s frock, or humiliate anyone in the town square shackles, it is central to our entire justice system.  Still, it is odd to encounter companies punishing their own customers – the people who have just reached into their wallets for their credit cards, and allowed the company to take some of their hard-earned lucre.

Medieval torture rack used to punish customers

In medieval times, torture devices were used in punishment.

I experienced an example of being punished by a company this very morning, when I purchased a copy of speech recognition and transcription software.  I had two choices: order the CD for $150, or get the digital version and download, also for $150.  Wanting it immediately, I made the digital purchase, doing my part to save the environment from landfills overflowing with discarded CDs – not to mention avoiding the extra costs of shipping.

If my computer crashes in a couple of months, though, I’d need to reinstall the software – but in order to download after that time period, I either need to pony up an extra $9.99 for a backup CD, or purchase an extended download for a little less. As maintaining the digital download on the part of Nuance has no cost to them, this is simply punitive and mean-spirited; a horrible way to start a relationship.

Spirit Air is another company that has built a sense of punishment in their offerings.  If you get to the gate without having checked in your second carry-on, you get charged $100, more than double the charge if you book the carryon when purchasing your ticket.  It’s no wonder that Spirit Air has been referred to as the American Ryanair, whose CEO famously called customers “stupid” for not printing out their boarding passes (thus incurring an extra fee).

Lest this post simply come across as a rant against another instance of horrible customer service, let’s consider what this might mean for our own businesses. What charges or processes do we have that punish customers?  Can we institute an annual review – seek out those punishing elements, and get rid of them as fast as possible? After all, if we learn from horrible customer service when we encounter it we can actually receive value from the experience – and if nothing else, at least the punishment will be a little less brutal.

 

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You’re OK, Now Let’s Make Change http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/youre-ok-now-lets-make-change/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/youre-ok-now-lets-make-change/#comments Thu, 26 Sep 2013 14:21:45 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/?p=14605 Continue reading ]]> As a young couple in the 70’s, my parent’s library consisted of a closet bookshelf. I developed my love of reading by carefully studying the pages of the Manual of the Medical Department of the U.S. Navy, Jansen’s History of Art, Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet, and I’m OK, You’re OK, by Thomas A Harris MD. Although the Navy manual and the art history book may have been more rarefied, the latter two were ubiquitous in homes across the country at the time.

Transactional Analysis and the Parent/Child dynamic.

Transactional Analysis and the Parent-Child relationship.

I’m OK, You’re OK was really the first major so-called self-help book. I’m not sure why, but to this day, self-help books make me squirm a little. There can be a feeling in them of their being “truth revealed.” On the other hand, such books can often provide great thoughts in an easily digestible format. There’s nothing wrong with that – it’s just that I’m a little mistrustful of the genre.

Harris’s book was based on the thinking of a popular psychology book, Games People Play by Eric Berne. Berne had proposed an approach he called Transactional Analysis (often shortened to TA). A central premise of TA is that we all play three major roles: that of the parent; that of the adult; and that of the child. During the course of a day or even an hour, we may slip between these different roles in our interactions with others. Of course, others are also slipping between their roles. By understanding which roles are being used in interactions, we can begin to understand the dynamics at play, and hopefully, endeavor to escape their gravitational pull.

Making Organizational Change

Almost all of us grew up with at least one parent if not two. The patterns of behavior that were modeled to us in our formative years remain a major influence for life. One of the elemental aspects of being a child is that we’re cared-for (hopefully) by the parent. We’re given food, clothing, transportation, and if we’re lucky, a little pocket money. After all, a child seldom has the means to procure those essentials for themselves.

When a young person fresh out of high school or college obtains their first job, they often can’t help but to bring some of those patterns of dependency with them. Where do I sit? What work am I supposed to perform? Can I have a raise? There’s a lot of dependency on another person, often older, who calls the shots. This naturally invites the dynamic wherein employees become passive, and desire others to fix things for them.

All of us, at some point or another, see opportunities to make things better. We often see things and think, “Sheesh, how is it I’m the only one seeing this? This is stupid! Someone ought to change this.” If, though, you are operating in an environment where you have succumbed to the dynamic of child/parent, you’re not apt to try to make that change in any way other than complaining.

Inherent in even the word complain is a sense of helplessness. It comes from the idea of being in grief and lamenting. I’m in grief that someone has died – there is nothing to be done about it. Or I complain of an ailment, which is inside my body, and beyond my control.

Recognizing the Roles

If we recognize that this dynamic naturally exists, we can start to operate differently – we can begin the real work of helping to effect change. Making real change can be difficult, can be politically challenging. and usually consists of many steps like those outlined in Kotter’s Eight Step Change Model.

Kotter's Steps of Change

Kotter’s Steps of Change

I have heard about circumstances where well-meaning and smart individuals set out to make change in an organization and failed: perhaps leadership was weak and constantly changing, or perhaps the decision-makers’ interests were elsewhere – whatever the underlying reason, the change just wasn’t going to happen. But more often, what I see, is that individuals just don’t set out to make change, but accept what’s placed before them. At some point, they may get frustrated and move on, where things might be different, or not.

Making substantive change can be the most thrilling and gratifying work you do in your life. Anyone can make change in an organization, even an intern. The answer lies less in complaining than in what Kotter, in his first step of change, called “establishing a sense of urgency.”

I’d say there is a step before that: whether you’re that intern or the CEO, it’s to realize that the power to make change happen is not in someone else’s hands, but yours.

 

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Why You Need Social Media Strategy http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/why-you-need-social-media-strategy/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/why-you-need-social-media-strategy/#comments Mon, 09 Sep 2013 14:47:30 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/?p=14489 Continue reading ]]> In the course of my job, I often study the social media goings-on of major brands. I mean, I really dig in and study what they do. I’ve discovered some companies doing a superb job, like Maersk , Sony Professional, Cisco , and the Ritz-Carlton. Too often, though, I find brands thrashing about without a cohesive strategy.
Logo of the Social Shake Up Conference in Atlanta
You might find the very word “strategy” distasteful – all of that business about Chinese generals and Napoleonic struggles, suggesting that strategy is all about defeating an enemy.

It can also be about the creating of an overarching plan that helps all the various players involved work together to reach their shared desired outcomes. Social media is still the new-kid-on-the-block when it comes to marketing. Drawing on our company’s legacy in application development and the accompanying process-improvement mindset, DragonSearch has been actively developing process and strategy for social media since before Twitter debuted at SxSW.

Our work was the basis for the book Social Marketology, countless articles and presentations, and now, a workshop that we’ll be providing at Social Shake-Up in Atlanta.

In learning a strategy framework, marketers will save a lot of time and effort in the creation of strategy. As importantly, they’ll have the tools to communicate more effectively with their organization’s leadership, in order to get the maximum support.

In addition to providing the overall framework, we’ll also be demonstrating some great tools that will help you in your own efforts. Of course, as a workshop, the event will be hands-on, with participants actually working on their own or (if they prefer) another organization’s strategy.

 

Social Marketology Workshop Topics Will Include:

  • Developing a desired outcomes document, which covers purpose, vision, goals, objectives, and specific metrics
  • Creation of a brand voice document
  • Micro-Segmentation brainstorming and documentation
  • Community research
  • Influencer research
  • Creating an Action Plan

There will also be tools for identifying the focus of your efforts across the five major types of social media, which include:

  • Brand maintenance
  • Community
  • Influencer
  • Thought leadership/reputation management
  • Big splash

Other tools will help you identify the efforts you should allocate to each of the social media platforms appropriate to your organization, as well as planning out content marketing and a content calendar.

I hope you can join us in Atlanta on September 15th, 2013 for this special 3-hour workshop as part of the Social Shake-Up, put on by our friends at Social Media Today. To receive a special discount for the conference and workshop, please click here and use the code: DRAGON.  See you at the Shake-Up!

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The Complete Social Media Community Manager’s Guide http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/the-complete-social-media-community-managers-guide/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/the-complete-social-media-community-managers-guide/#comments Tue, 29 Jan 2013 15:31:46 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/?p=13044 Continue reading ]]> The role of “Community Manager” in technology goes back to the late ‘90’s, when many organizations recognized that they needed some help in managing their online discussion boards and other Internet-related communications.  By 2001, it had become a more common job title, used at organizations like Weight Watchers and Consumer Reports.

9781118466858 cover.inddFast forward twelve years later, and we find the phrase in countless articles, books, blogs, conferences, and groups – and of course, job titles. Why on earth would two really smart digital marketing professionals like Aimclear’s Marty Weintraub and Lauren Litwinka want to add to the industry’s already compendious literature on this subject?

The answer lies between the covers of their book, The Complete Social Media Community Manager’s Guide: Essential Tools and Tactics for Business Success, published by the Sybex imprint of Wiley. Note the words in the title “essential” and “complete.”  That’s a pretty big challenge in a world of incessant and daily change.  And yet, I do believe they’ve come as close to accomplishing their challenge as possible.

The first part of the book covers some of those great big-picture concepts like brand voice, understanding ROI (after all, you’ve got to be able to wrestle with the bosses on why you need to expend effort on this stuff), demographic research, and how to extend your reach using all the means available.

Timeless Tenets of Non-Gratuitous Social Behavior

The second chapter of the book has me at the title, “Timeless Tenets of Non-Gratuitous Social Behavior.” Here, the authors take on some of the behavioral side of community management – much of the emotional-intelligence aspects that are so difficult to teach.

The book wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t address some of the brass, tacks, and nails of the various social platforms. But true to the authors’ reputation for being providers of valuable information for those of us in the industry, even there they’ve shined some light on some platforms that I wasn’t familiar with.

In the chapter on content, the authors take on the topic of owning your content – whether you should put it out there where you have no control or keep it close to home. There are some other gems here, too, like the bit on editorial calendaring. The section on creating your own dashboard in Outlook is worth the price of the book – or even more.

Litwinka and Weintraub sum up community management at one point as being, “all about listening, publishing valuable content that connects with your audience in a human way, engaging with the community, and managing our reputation.” And thus, the book moves from content to engagement.  Here, the authors provide more approaches to research and discovery.

The next chapter covers a topic that Weintraub is famous for: the use of paid advertising to amplify your social communications.  I’m convinced that if Facebook’s advertising business model takes off, they should send Marty Weintraub a royalty.  Zuckerberg should at least name a building or child after him – as Weintraub’s advocacy of these techniques has woken many of us up to the possibilities of these techniques.

Any organization using social media is going to, at some point, make a gaffe or a fumble either on social media or in the “real world.” The chapter on community crisis management could stand alone as an eBook, and should be in the hands of every community manager in the world.  Besides all the good sane advice on when and if you should delete comments or ban community members, the authors’ advice on creating a crisis protocol is particularly noteworthy.

Finally, all community managers need to be able to measure their activities and the impact of their work.  This is a hot topic, as highlighted by a recent Social Media Today discussion on LinkedIn.  I don’t think any of us in the industry have the holy grail of social media measurement solutions yet, but this book’s contribution to the topic is valuable.

For a paperback, at $39.99, The Complete Social Media Community Manger’s Guide isn’t inexpensive. But even if you’re working at minimum wage this book will pay for itself immediately.  If you have team members, buy copies for each.  As for me, I’m placing an order right now for five more copies.

 

 

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Ric Dragon Guest Posts http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/ric-dragon-guest-posts/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/ric-dragon-guest-posts/#comments Thu, 20 Dec 2012 03:10:38 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/?p=12899 I’ve been writing a few guest posts on other blogs this past year. To me, a fair amount, although my friend Lisa Barone heartily scoffed at the number. I’m fortunate to be able to make this a central part of my job!

By the way, the list below is a List.ly list. I’ve written a post at Marketing Land on List.ly and its benefits.

View List on List.ly

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Pins of Desire http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/pins-of-desire/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/pins-of-desire/#comments Sun, 09 Sep 2012 15:39:25 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/?p=11376 Continue reading ]]>

photo of Tim Sanders courtesy of Shashi Bellamkonda, www.shashi.name – Social Media Swami www.huggable.com

When Tim Sander’s speaks to a room of people, he evokes the preachers of the southern Baptist church.  That might in part be due to the slight southern drawl he adopted from his childhood home of Texas and the speaking cadence he may have heard in those churches, but his message is also that often found in Sunday morning homilies.

I first heard Tim speak at a SOBCon event – those wonderful 3-day conferences that I like to call “summer camp for the brain.” Unlike many conferences, in SOBCon events, you work at various “Mastermind” exercises with your tablemates – among whom may be some of the speakers themselves.

Even though I acquired Tim’s book Today We Are Rich at a conference earlier in the year, I only just got to reading it.  I’m not usually a fan of inspirational literature (the book is subtitled “Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence) – it too often smacks of feel-good platitudes – but at the same time, if wisdom is to be found, I’ll stand in line.

And find it, I did. In fact, I felt like I got a gentle smack in the face.  One of Tim’s pieces of advice is to spend your first waking moments thinking about what and to whom you feel grateful from the previous day.  Overall, I’d say I feel a general feeling of gratitude in my life – but it’s not a focus. And Tim, here, is saying it should be a focus. In trying it out, I really do think it has a tremendous power.

It has power, because like a lot of attitudes we hold, we’re often conditioned by what we choose to focus upon.  In a talk I gave at Montreal140, and later wrote about on Successful Blogs I talked about the notion that we can choose to focus on what we don’t like as opposed to what we love. In practicing gratitude, we refocus. I have a sneaking suspicion that people prefer to be around others that feel good about their lives and appreciate the contributions of others.

Italian Villas and Other Desires

Ever since I had the pleasure of spending a few vacations in Italy, I’ve developed an occasional joy in perusing Italian real estate web sites and indulging in a bit of fantasy.  Yesterday, I started a Pinterest board of some of the more fantastic dream homes

I’m reminded of that central tenet of Buddhism, that unhappiness and suffering come from desire.

Will all this pinning of dream kitchens, clothes, and Italian villas lead to suffering? Could it be that we’re doing the opposite of what Tim Sander’s suggests – and that instead of focusing on what we we’re grateful for, we’re indulging in fantasies of distant desires?

I think it can. But I also think that to spend time fantasizing about that dream home, vacation, kitchen, or whatever it is you’re inclined to celebrate, can also be about your aspirations. It can be about figuring out developing your best self. I know, for instance, that I wouldn’t have the wherewithal to even attend to the maintenance of one of those frescoed crumbling villas – but I also know that I like the feeling of a certain type of place.  I’d like to bring that feeling into my everyday life.

There’s a fine line between aspiration, and practicing gratitude for what is already around you.  To that end, I’d like to propose that for every pin you make that is about what you desire, create another for what you feel grateful. I’m going to give it a whirl – and if you do, I’d love to hear from you.

Thrive in the digital marketing revolution.

 

 

 

 

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Web Development Tip: Logos Up Front: http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/logos-up-front-web-development-tip/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/logos-up-front-web-development-tip/#comments Sat, 08 Sep 2012 02:46:10 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/?p=11215 Continue reading ]]> There are many social media sites in which when a user tags a web page, the system looks for images on the web page to use as a featured image.  You can see this in effect when you link to a web page in Facebook – you are then free to choose an image on the target page to use as a featured image.  If an image is not inline, however, but positioned as a background graphic, that image won’t be available as a featured image.

In web development, there are two ways of showing an image:

  1. Using the IMG tag, actually embedding an image in the HTML code
  2. Using CSS, embedding an image as a background graphic

If your logo is not inline, you’re limiting your fan’s freedom to share your logo as a featured image.  I’ve encountered this often when I’m trying to bookmark a page in Pinterest or List.ly. A lot of web developers have been doing the latter, placing the logo as a graphic element in a background graphic of the masthead area.

 

Marketing Profs is an example of a site that doesn’t have their entire logo inline – and thus when I went to link to their site on Facebook, their logo isn’t available as a featured image.

Test your web pages to make sure your fans can use the images that are best going to represent you.

Thrive in the digital marketing revolution.

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DragonSearch Core Values http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/dragonsearch-core-values/ http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/dragonsearch-core-values/#comments Fri, 07 Sep 2012 14:46:10 +0000 http://www.dragonsearchmarketing.com/blog/?p=1694 Continue reading ]]> We’ve had time lately to work on some of our organization thinking… including the drafting of our core values.  We’ve spent some good time discussing these – and believe that none can be taken away and still retain our identity.

There are human endeavors that take away from the world, others that neither add nor subtract, and then others that create positive value. When you take two things and create more by adding them together – that’s creating positive value. What we call 1 + 1 = 3.  Our job is to create that value.

We’re positive

If we encounter negativity, we don’t engage.  It’s better to sustain the relationship whenever it’s feasible.  Not that we are afraid of conflict.  Sometimes we have to say the difficult thing. This doesn’t mean unicorn sparkles and Kumbaya. Sometimes, there is a right time to be willing to hold your ground, and allow for conflict, albeit, in a way that is respectful of the humanity in others.

No Burger Flipping

We don’t just mindlessly do our jobs. The burger flipping spatula is broken.

Solve the Problems

When we encounter impediments, we strive to cut through the impediment.  Or go around.  Or under.  We wield the Golden Sword of Cutting Through the Crap. You’ve written an email to someone to get an important piece of information but haven’t heard back?  Call! Get the answer you need.

We are problem solvers. We have to ability and resolve to solve problems in constructive ways by breaking problems down into parts. If you have a “complaint,” it should be brought to the person who can help solve the problem. Complaining is irrelevant. No excuses.

Being Responsible

We own our work.  When we see something not being what it should be and it’s not within our power to fix it, we raise the alarm. We Raise the Red Flag.

Learning is for Life

We believe in constant learning. Our business is on that part of the wave that is cresting.  We’re not content with what we knew yesterday.  We read blog posts, books, and listen to podcasts.  And we become mentors and students to each other.

A Better Web Makes a Better World

We provide marketing services that create real value in the world: for our clients’ businesses, for the end consumer, and for the communities in which we live. The web, at its best, enriches the lives of people – brings diverse communities together, helps to make for better and faster innovation, and helps to create that 1 + 1 = 3.

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