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New businesses in a radical market

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 06:19

'As soon as a new radical market emerges, hundreds of new entrants rush to colonize it. Before long, consolidation takes place and most of the early entrants disappear. A few survive. But even these early survivors usually are not the ones that end up conquering the new market. The true winners are those that undertake a series of actions that scales up the new market. How do they do that?' Markides and Geroski (2004)

Can you think of organisations that have been a flash in the pan, that came out of the DOT COM boom and went bust? Who are the winners and losers going to be with Web 2.0?



Markides.C; Geroski, P. (2004) Strategy and Business, 35: 2-10

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Stories and Metaphor 12th January 2012

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012, 06:16

From the B822 Techniques Library we learn that we relate to stories; the parallels to our own lives provide meaning.

I'd say that to be successful audiences must feel empathy with any story, whether for entertainment or to get attention in a business context.


Bill Naylor takes this well attended session.

He starts with the story of a Merchant

(I thought we were going to get the 'Merchant of Venice'. It felt like something from 14th century Italy, like a piece from Bocacio's Decameron).

The story concerned a merchant, his beautiful daughter and a money lender. Unable to pay back the loan the money lender suggests a deal, his daughter in marriage and the debt will be dropped. To help the merchant he offers to put two stones in a bag, one white, one black to be picked out by the daughter. It is agreed. The daughter happens to see the money lender putting two black stones in the bag. What does she do?

We offer our solutions, though none get the Merchant off the hook and save the daughter.

  1. Take none
  2. Take both
  3. Pick a pebble.


  • Herself by picking up a white pebble and hiding it in her hand.

Transpose the rules

Actually she dropped the black pebble and said they'd know which one it was.

To create strategic clarity


"Stories stick in your mind like mental velcro." Naylor (2011)

  • They create strategic clarity
  • They create a connection
  • They embed values
  • They compel or inspire to take action
  • They are revealing
  • Stories connect us to a purpose and improve our performance

Quotes Henry V on the eve of The Battle of Agincourt

E.g. Chairman of the board.


  • An icebreaker
  • Induction
  • Communications
  • Learning. (Boje 1991)
  • Strategy
  • Action

A story usedby De Bono about Columbus

Egg on its end. Breaks the tip so that it would stand on its end. Once done anyone can do it.

  • Story of a young character on his first day having a word with a gruff character on the train in.
  • The story of the fat man in the bath in relation to consumer law and returned products, in this case a bath that had sat for 5 months. Bill at a builder's merchants.
  • Splintered toilet seat. The lady had a history of such issues.
  • The thin man in the shower. Covered in soap he couldn't turn it off.


  • Little s
  • Anecdotes
  • Examples
  • Rcounts
  • Big S
  • Movies
  • Epics


VS. The uncanny valley of business story telling ... Plummets.


  • Characters
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Resolution


  • Creation
  • Struggle for self-discovery and identity
  • Battles, warriors, heroes (building of the M62)
  • Jack Welch 'neutron bomb' Manager of the Century. 'Winning' Topping and tailing'
  • Finance the top, ditch the bottom. (not unlike Steve Jobs)
  • Love, self-sacrifice, dedication
  • Wisdom and maturity

Three Huberts on a hill, three rivals.

Owns a race horse, only half, which half? The rear end as it eats less.


  • Induction
  • Formal and informal settings
  • Before an event
  • Teaming courses
  • Newsletters
  • Customer meetings
  • Social events
  • Team building sessions

Left brain right brain

(Simplistic and superseded?)


  • Auditory types NLP
  • Absorbed playfulness (winnicott, 1972)
  • An excursion from the problem.
  • Stimulate new ideas
  • Convey hidden messages (do you tell them or leave them to dwell on it)
  • Enable uncurious learning

De Bono's 'Thinking Hats'

  • Unsconscious
  • Feta on the verge of sleep (best for learning)
  • Relaxed awareness (best for learning)

... Achieved through story telling, with learning supported by light music.


  • Stuck in the metaphor
  • Persuasiveness of advertising


  • Participants write the first line of a story that others complete. John Brucker on metaphor.
  • Write an essay 10 mins
  • Draw a mind map of the story

Write a statement in 3 sentences of 5,7 and 5 syllables. (Japanese Haiku poetry form)

E.g. sales director or purchasing director, what is best for the company and what is best for me.


  • In pairs use why?
  • Write a sentence on the problem
  • Boundary examination
  • Options for for As.

Jack welch

'My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener who provided water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course I had to pull up a few weeds as well'. Jack Welch.


  • Topic :  the original concept
  • Vehicle
  • Ground
  • Tension
  • Zolta Kovecses Metaphor: a practical introduction.
  • John Brooker, yesand.biz


  • Set up, and punch.
  • Friend broken up with wife. With his best friend. Going to miss the friend.


  • Metaphor: swimming Linguistic: Am I too far from the shore.
  • With a systematic framework.

Mind Maps


Rich Pictures





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Metaphor & Analogy

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 14 Mar 2012, 10:48


  • A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
  • A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, esp. something abstract.

Wikipedia - Dictionary.com - Answers.com - Merriam-Webster


  • A comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification - an analogy between the workings of nature and those of human societies - he interprets logical functions by analogy with
  • A thing that is comparable to something else in significant respects - works of art were seen as an analogy for works of nature
  • A process of arguing from similarity in known respects to similarity in other respects
  • A process by which new words and inflections are created on the basis of regularities in the form of existing ones
  • The resemblance of function between organs that have a different evolutionary origin


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Why blog? A lecturer's perspective

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:28

Why blog? The lecturer's story

Dr Matthew Ashton's blog

Six months updating it roughly once a day.  Around the 500 word mark range from topical pieces to reviews and commentary.


A rewarding experience

New ways of teaching learning student engagement

A wide range of political topics every week.  Students don’t fully engage with the wider subject area. An excellent knowledge of contemporary politics but less aware of events from before 1989.

Friday called “Great political mistakes” drip feeding them knowledge.

Saturday on “Political advertising”  helps raise awareness amongst students of political advertising techniques and campaigns and how they’ve changed over time. A way of engaging with student learning. 

By writing reviews of political films and books I can point students towards interesting ideas and resources. 

Encouraging writing and research

500 words acts as a warm  up exercise  A way of stockpiling material. Prepared

New ways of sharing ideas and research findings

VS. The traditional dissemination of research through books and journals can take years.

It can act as an unofficial means of peer review.

Engaging with people outside the academic

Share ideas and dialogue with people from a range of countries and backgrounds.

For instance I’ve had some  illuminating conversations with an American about Native American rights in the media and how they relate to the US Constitution. 

In the same way people have pointed me towards books and documentaries that I wasn’t aware of that I’ve subsequently shared with my students.

Raising your academic profile

It is a source of material for the media. I’ve written several blog posts that have subsequently been used by the press as newspaper articles or led to me being interviewed on the radio. This is useful in terms of both raising my own profile and promoting the work done by the university. 

On one recent occasion the press office contacted me to let me know that a blog article I’d written on Mubarak’s options in Egypt had appeared in a newspaper in Tanzania. 

On a more local level I wrote an article based on my recent research on the coverage of female sports that was featured in the Nottingham Post newspaper.

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20 Benefits of Mobile Learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 10 Dec 2012, 22:27

20 benefits of mobile learning

  1. Convenience and flexibility
  2. Relevance
  3. Learner control
  4. Good use of 'dead time'
  5. Fits many different learning styles
  6. Improves social learning (i.e. Communicating with peers and experts)
  7. Encourages reflection
  8. Easy evidence collection
  9. Supported decision making
  10. Speedier remediation
  11. Improved learner confidence
  12. Easily digestible learning
  13. Heightened engagement
  14. Better planning for face-to-face
  15. Great for induction
  16. Elimination of technological barriers
  17. Designed once; delivered across multiple platforms
  18. Easily trackable via wifi
  19. Cost-effective build
  20. A means to recoup money


Dr Chris Davies, Head of the e-learning research group, Oxford Prof. John Traxler, Prof. Of Mobile Learning



(accessed 8 September 2011)
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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 27 Aug 2012, 08:01
Repeatedly I have been talking to people about Stumbleupon, Zite and My Mercedes as examples of personalisation.

There is evidence to suggest value in “vicarious interaction,” in which non-active participants gain from observing and empathizing with active participants (Sutton, 2001; Fulford and Zhang, 1993), also Cox (2006)

For learning on the periphery you need John Seely- Brown, who gave a keynote speech on the subject here at The OU in October 2007.

The webcast:

My notes:

This is the transcript of that session:


Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006) [online], http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ esrcinfocentre/ viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-139-25-0127 [(last accessed 10 March 2011).

Fulford, C. P., and Zhang, S. (1993). Perceptions of Interaction: The critical predictor in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 7(3), 8 – 21.

Sutton, L. (2001). The principles of vicarious interaction in computer-mediated communications. Journal of Interactive Educational Communications, 7(3), 223 – 242. Retrieved July 15, 2003 from: http://www.eas.asu.edu/elearn/research/suttonnew.pdf
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Don’t say yes, unless you really want to do something.

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The 10 minutes of discomfort you will feel while saying no beats the hours of misery you will feel if you say yes for the wrong reasons. Great advice in the FT http://tinyurl.com/6t4vzo2
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Why do teenagers dislike having their picture taken?

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Yet there will be hundreds of pictures shared on Flickr, Tumble and Facebook. Or was she saying 'I've not done my make-up?'

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Out of control?

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You don't do what you think you're doing. New series on the brain tonight on the BBC. Makes you think.
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Immersive reading and research

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'Read in a subject until you can hear its people speaking', said the Historian EHCarr but who said 'Research in a subject until the narrative reveals itself?'
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B822 TMA 3

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I wrote my blog when I had a TMA for H807 to submit and my tutor came online to chastise me. I've got 450 of the 700 words required for Part One written; but i fancy a sleep.
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The Reluctant Vegetarian

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I've done this before and been evanlegical; I'm doing it again for health reasons and intend to moan all the way.

Farm shop visit no longer lamb, beef and suasages, but veg.

So I will make some fantastic soups.

I'll have mushroom risotto, which is the next best thing to a beef stir fry.

I am roasting all kinds of vegetables in the oven to make a vegetable stock to die for.

My in-laws are vegetarian, my daughter is vegetarian. I will do the same ... until. Well, the cholesterol levels drop below X. And I am a trim 12 stone.

So I swam with the club this morning at 7.20 am and feel great. Taking several teaching sessions afterawards I wished I too could be 8 or 9. These are watersprites, I'm a hippo.

P.S. I am meant to be writing a TMA sad

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Ticking off the countries as anyone can gather in a global 'audience'

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As I boy I had a Phillips Atlas. I shaded in all the counties if the UK as in my peripatetic way I stayed with friends, divorced parents and went on holiday. (I still have it stored in a Really Useful box in a garage).

Decades later I know the few counties that I haven't ticked off. I am not widely travelled: France regularly, otherwise the odd trip to Hong Kong, US, Spain, Sweden, Cyprus ... However, it would appear that my blog is picked up all over the planet. My task then is to have views from those countries not yet picked out in the terrific metrics that are provided by Wordpress.

Why not China? Is Wordpress blocked. How about Finland? I don't think Greenland is feasible.

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As soon as a new radical market emerges, hundreds of new entrants rush to colonize it.

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Before long, consolidation takes place and most of the early entrants disappear. A few survive. But even these early survivors usually are not the ones that end up conquering the new market. The true winners are those that undertake a series of actions that scales up the new market. How do they do that? Markides and Geroski (2004)

What's going on here? What examples can people think of?

High Street Computer Shops

Knowledge Shops

Quick Print Printers

Coffee Shops

Social Networks:

  • Friends Reunited
  • Tripod
  • MySpace

PDAs & Netbooks


Markides.C; Geroski, P. (2004) Strategy and Business, 35: 2-10

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You are where you work

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 14:49

What makes a university campus such as Harvard or Oxford a hotbed for entrepreneurs? Is this recreated in closed networks online or at Residential School. How come some buildings induce mental stagnation and disaffection whilst others are a delight? Where (no company or organisation names) have you worked where the architecture, landscaping and office lay-out are conducive to innovation?


Serendipitous interactions, or what Tony Hseih calls 'spontaneous collisions' between people, are what spark ideas and facilitate relationships that lead to stronger ties and more ideas.

Have you worked for such a company?


Hsieh calls his people "culture magicians". Steve Jobs designed this into fabric of Pixar and Apple.

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50 is the new 75

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I've aged a decade since I turned 50 last September:

That one grey hair keeps coming back. I've pulled it out a few times. My right temple is going to end up bald or grey.

I am overwieght, OK that took time. But the blood test that says I have high cholesterol is overnight.

If my career had a peak it was 23 years ago. I'd feel more like 75 if I could retire, but I can't.

I swam the other day with a club. I've stopped red meat and most milk product and go vegetarian on Monday. So one last cassoulet over the weekend?

Stop moaning. Whilst I can't turn the clock back there's no reason I can't have the body of a 40 year old and the mental agility of a 20 something (I am after all studying at a university).


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Breakthroughs, Activity Theory and Agency Creative Teams

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 9 Mar 2012, 06:20

'There's never been a breakthrough as a result of writing a memo, breakthroughs occur when two or more people, get inspired, have fun, think the unthinkable'. Lars Kolind, Oticon.(in Mayle 1998) 

If you're on the trail of the MAODE then look at Engestrom's 'Activity Theory' which shows in a chart how not only two people, but two entities interact and create a unique response.
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B822 Block 3 Activity 3.5 Strategy & Vision

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 14:27

Although widely derided (usually for being out of touch and not reflecting the realities ‘on the ground’) many organisations persevere with mission statements and the like in order to express their sense of direction.

What gives your organisation a sense of direction?

Would you call this ‘strategy’? ‘vision’ or something else?

To what extend does it spring from within the organisation, and to what extend is it a response to the environment?

To what extent is it 'owned' by the workforce?

Is there any evidence of a tensions between the espoused values and actual behaviour?

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Completely blown away by trailer for the new iPad.

Yesterday I read that tablets (iPad will take 74%) will replace laptops. I doubted this until I watched this trailer.

It has what I need.

I have to decide: laptop, tablet or desktop. I don't have the luxury of all three. I doubt I can afford two. The iPad does it.

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The future of pharma

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Stumbled upon @ChrisGondek and listening to a podcast 'The Future of Pharma' with Prof. Brian Smith 

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How to use your blog for Tutor Marked Assignments

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 May 2014, 06:58

This is my approach, it works for me.

Everything goes in here: notes from what I read or come across, sometimes so I didn't lose track of them, course related comments I post on people's blogs too.

A good deal of this remains hidden (private), however I will sometimes 'expose' notes and cryptic thoughts in case someone can make sense of it for me, or chivvy me along to construct some rounded thoughts and sentences with the stuff.

There's some random stuff too.

Tagging matters immensely.

'Search' leaves it to chance, which might help you serendipitously to come across a thought or note you had, but is scrappy and can be time wasting, rather be tag happy and have a system.

Everything gets the module reference, if there is an activity reference this is added as a single word such as 'h807activity3.4' or some such so that it can be searched for and found with ease.

Come TMA time I revisit all the content from that block and start adding the tag, for example, 'h807tma2', or as I'm currently doing 'b822tma3'.

Gathered in one search list I then go through each relevant post refining my thinking.

At some stage I may add further tags to identify arguments or to give it a chronology if that isn't apparent. I then cut and paste to a word document.

I MAY assemble in PowerPoint simply to help shuffle ideas around.

A system?

Hardly. Each to their own. I panic like anyone else over an assignment but know the stuff is here and having done the reading and activities and having shared my thinking and had this coloured and shaped by others that I ought to be able to assemble a cogent case.

Tags are strategic, Search is more random.

I switch between the two when revisiting note

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The University that never sleeps?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 15:30

Last year in my student group we had a two week sub-group task to complete over two weeks.

There were three of us in the UK: Lewes, Portsmouth and Buckingham with the other three in Germany, Thailand and New Zealand. During the two week period our Tutor Group Forum was rarely silent for more than a few hours.

By the end of it there were over 100 threads to the discussion which I saved to MyStuff (OU ePortfolio) but also pasted into this blog (set on private) as it continues both to illustrate and inspire the brilliance of the MAODE.

It turned my head inside out, demonstrating that the learning experience is far more effective and enjoyable when shared.

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Social Media Course

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 15:32

I've signed up for a social media course.

It is entirely online and applied. I can apply it as I go along. It uses a combination of short pieces to camera (a minute or so) with text, webinars and written assignments.


It's taken me 13 months to commit having been impressed with a presentation at Learning Technologies 2011 (see this blog, February 2011), seen the team at a stand at Training Technologies last week and then doing a 7 point taster yesterday.

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First World War recalled

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 6 Mar 2012, 08:30
My son is off to Ypres.

We live in East Sussex 11 miles from the coast. The school go every year. My Grandfather, a Corporal in the Machine Gun Corps, served between April 1915 and Christmas Day 1917 surviving Arras, the Battle of the Sommes and the 3rd Battle of Ypres or 'Paschendaele'.

I interviewed John Arthur Wilson (1896-1992) at length, recording it all onto Broadcast audio tape, though very regretfully not onto video as had I done so I have little doubt his content would have been repeatedly used, from joining up to training, first casaulties, billets, rations, the Vicker's Machine Gun, desertion, and mud, the guns, every kind of projectile identifable by the noise it made and of course every fatality along the way, but not him, not a scratch, despite repeatedly being put into the most dangerous spots. Or even trwnsfering to the Royal Flying Corps where things wouldn't exactly be much safer.

All this with some of his photographs at www.getjackback.wordpress.com.

Meanwhile I have dug out a set of my 32 copies of 'World War' published in 1934, edited by H G Wells and full of gruesome photographs of bodies in various stages of decomposition.

'Will the War change Britain?' asks H.G.Wells in an article he wrote in 1914 and republished here. He correctly suggested that there would be a rapid advancement in the machinery of war.

Come August 2014 there'll be some fuss made about the centenary of the First World War. Buy before then in Lewes some fuss will be made about the 750th Anniversary of the Battle of Lewes after which the Monarch had am elected parliament foisted on them.
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Tips on blogging

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 04:28


1) Keep it niche

You come to trust a person to have something to say about 'x' rather than the entire alphabet.

2) Keep it fresh

Depending on your ambitions update twice a day Yes, you have to have a point of view, no you don't have to make the posting public but you need to build a 'body of work'. 250 words will do, a picture and comment and from time to time a link and snip from something you have stumbled upon.

3) Keep it authentic

There's a light, conversational style that i think of as 'BJ' (Blog Jocky).

4) Read and comment on blogs you like

Reciprocity is vital, there is a virtuous circle of being read and contributing to other people's blogs. Vary the pace and approach. It works to include photos and video, though you risk setting yourself too great a task if you imagine you can generate or load a video clip every time.

5) Watch the stats

You can understand what makes your blog tick, what keeps it vibrant. It is motivating to know you are being read.

6) Promote

Put your content in front of those who are most likely to find it of interest or value by sharing it with specific Linkedin groups and by getting it out on Twitter as part of pertinent conversations.

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