Saturday, Jun 25, 2022

Spotlyfe with Josh Schwede & Scott Fowle

I’m pleased to announce that my guests today are Josh Schwede and Scott Fowle in this episode. They have started a company called Spotlyfe, which is..

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I’m pleased to announce that my guests today are Josh Schwede and Scott Fowle in this episode. They have started a company called Spotlyfe, which is software that puts people first in organizations. It is a neat tool that gives workflow and rigor around what you need to accomplish during the workday and ensures that it aligns with your values while giving you a unique framework to communicate with your manager. 

I’m so excited to have these two HR technology veterans and friends on today’s show because today is Groundhog Day and the launch of Spotlyfe. Scott has been in HR tech for 23 years, while Scott has been in the talent space for almost a decade. The launch of their software today reminded me of the movie “Groundhog Day.” These past few years have felt like they are blending in repeatedly, almost as if we are in a time loop like Bill Murray’s lead character. 

Josh and Scott found that this day intersects well with what they are trying to do with their company. Josh explains, “We all have our own Groundhog Day, whether it’s Feb. 2 or other days, right? Some days we have days where we’re like, ‘I don’t want to live that day ever again,’ and other days we have days where we’re like, ‘that day was amazing.” 

He continues, “How do I repeat that? On this big day, it’s our brand launch day for Spotlyfe, on Groundhog Day. We just thought it was a pretty interesting tie-in to what we’re trying to do as a company.”


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Punk Rock HR is proudly underwritten by The Starr Conspiracy. The Starr Conspiracy is a B2B marketing agency for innovative brands creating the future of workplace solutions. For more information, head over to thestarrconspiracy.com.

Software for the Individual

Josh and Scott have worked as partners for different HR companies but have always wanted to work with each other. An opportunity arose in early 2021 for them to put their brains together, and they quickly realized that most software in the talent space is not built for individuals; instead, it’s made for companies and leaders

When employees use existing software, it doesn’t contain any context that relates to them. This discovery led to the conception of Spotlyfe. Josh explains, “What if we could build some software that actually was built from day one for the individual versus the company.” Especially with all the things that people have gone through over the past two years, where people entered survival mode to figure out what matters to their overall wellness. 

Their goal was to get people, from managers to employees, to understand that there was more to a person than just work. “We’re just trying to help people understand that there’s three lenses here, and how do we shine some lights on those different lenses and help the individual become a little bit more informative about themselves?” Josh says, “If they have trust with their manager, share that with them to ultimately drive performance for them at their company.”

How Spotlyfe Helps Employees

Many of us are working from home now. The routine is similar: turning on your screen, looking at your projects and adding in your personal day-to-day tasks. It can be hard to feel like you can get it all done in the same day.

Spotlyfe acts as an “assistive effort” to help individuals create a workflow that they can manage, Scott says. For him, the software is about bringing workflow to people who need “a start and a finish to a day.” 

Spotlyfe can still be a huge help to people, Scott adds, even if it’s only “bringing that collective kind of view into an individual’s life and helping them decide what is important, what’s the focus, how did I do, how do I continue to create more successes or, if I was not successful for the day, how do I pivot and adjust?”

Spotlyfe’s Impact

It’s interesting that today, Groundhog Day, is the launch of Spotlyfe, because the software disrupts that idea of doing the same thing repeatedly and being miserable. This is because Josh and Scott are thinking about the individuals and their success. 

Scott hopes that this software becomes a benefactor to managers and leaders, as well as individuals. “If this in any way could give a manager insight around how to have a much more fruitful conversation with individuals on their team and talk at a level that will start to evoke or develop some level of empathy or trust, I’m all for it.”

Since day one, Josh and Scott built the software for the individual, but companies can also benefit. Companies have employee value propositions on their career pages to attract talent and explain why they should work there. When they use Spotlyfe, they can prove their employee value proposition to be true. 

The hope is that Spotlyfe becomes intertwined with a company’s culture during the recruiting process to show that when a company says it cares, it means it. Josh hopes that people can incorporate Spotlyfe into their daily life and create a more effortless flow. The software hopefully reduces stress and highlights “those moments that matter and not to miss out on those, because those are what’s going to fill your bucket, fill your energy and keep you going on a daily basis.”


'We're just trying to help people understand that there's three lenses here, and how do we shine some lights on those different lenses?' On #PunkRockHR, @joshschwede and @scott_fowle are here to talk about the launch of their new software, Spotlyfe.
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People in This Episode Josh Schwede: LinkedIn, Twitter Scott Fowle: LinkedIn, Twitter Full Transcript Laurie Ruettimann:

This episode of Punk Rock HR is sponsored by The Starr Conspiracy. The Starr Conspiracy is the B2B marketing agency for innovative brands creating the future of workplace solutions. For more information, head on over to thestarrconspiracy.com.

Hey everybody, I’m Laurie Ruettimann. Welcome back to Punk Rock HR. Today is Groundhog Day 2022. It’s especially poignant because boy, these years are all blending in over and over again. If you’re a fan of the movie “Groundhog Day,” you know that the main character is stuck in a time loop and going over the same day over and over again. You know, there’s nothing really great about that feeling of dread, of just existential chaos, of not knowing when you’re going to break this cycle of despair in your own life. 

That’s why I’m pleased to announce my guests today are Josh Schwede and Scott Fowle. They’ve started a new company called Spotlyfe, by putting people first in organizations. It’s a neat tool that gives some workflow and some rigor around what you need to accomplish during the day at work and how to make sure it aligns with your values. And, if there are any problems, any concerns, it also gives you a unique framework to communicate with your manager. Scott and Josh are on the podcast today because today, Groundhog Day 2022, is the launch of Spotlyfe. I’m so excited to introduce you to these two HR tech veterans and my friends, Josh Schwede and Scott Fowle.

Hey guys, how you doing?

Josh Schwede:

Hey Laurie.

Scott Fowle:

Hey Laurie.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Well, I love it. We’ve got like a choir of voices on the podcast today. As we get it started, why don’t we introduce y’all, and we’ll start with Scott. Scott, what are you doing on my show? Who are you? What are you all about?

Scott Fowle:

Hey Laurie, this is Scott. Kind of a first for me, but I don’t know, 23 years in HR tech. I’ve never done this before, so we’ll see how it goes. I could be a bit nervous. Maybe I’m not, but happy to join today and talk a little bit about Spotlyfe.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Amazing. I’ve got my good friend, Josh. Josh, who are you, and why are you here?

Josh Schwede:

Who am I? Man, LFR. Known you for a long time, but first-time caller to this, long-time listener. Josh Schwede. Have been in the talent space for almost two decades, which is scary, but Scott and I founded this little company called Spotlyfe. We’re just excited to talk to you, not just about that, but all the things that are kind of happening in the workplace today that are surrounding us.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Well, I’m really pleased you’re both here to make your podcasting debut, maybe your company debut, and it’s Groundhog Day. We’re all Gen X here. We’re all kind of old and middle-aged, I hate to say it. We love the movie “Groundhog Day,” so who wants to remind the youngsters in the audience what this movie is? Scott, you want to take a crack at that?

Scott Fowle:

Yeah. Hey, I will do that. First of all, I think because of my age, I can speak to “Groundhog Day” better than anybody, because this is the 30th anniversary of “Groundhog Day.” I knew Bill Murray when he was really young, I guess, at least from a cinematic standpoint, but the movie was filmed about 15 minutes from my house. And so, Punxsutawney Phil, the mayor, and just everything was going on just a few minutes from my personal residence. And little did I know that when the movie was launched, one day this would have some sort of intersection with what Josh and I are doing. I’ll start there. Josh, do you want to finish that off a little bit?

Josh Schwede:

No, I just think it’s a great movie, and I love the anniversary, but we all have our own Groundhog Day, whether it’s February 2 or other days, right? Some days we have days where we’re like, “I don’t want to live that day ever again,” and other days we have days where we’re like, “that day was amazing.” How do I repeat that? On this big day, it’s our brand launch day for Spotlyfe on Groundhog’s day. We just thought it was a pretty interesting tie in to what we’re trying to do as a company.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Well, the movie is really interesting because A, it wasn’t filmed in Pennsylvania and Scott can speak to this — It was filmed in Woodstock, Ill., and all of us have a Chicagoland connection on today’s podcast. Another joy of having you both on here. That’s one, and No. 2: “Groundhog Day” is about this guy, Bill Murray, who lives this day over and over again. It’s terrifying to him at the beginning. I know for many of us, I know me, particularly, in corporate America, every day felt like Groundhog Day. And like Sunday, particularly, it was like, “Oh my God, here we go again.” This feeling of Sunday Scaries is something everybody’s talking about right now. Who wants to tell me a little bit about Sunday Scaries, and what you think about it?

Josh Schwede:

Yeah, I mean, listen, our weekends are precious, right? We have great times and then all of a sudden, some point on Sunday, the thought of Monday comes in, where I’ve got to get back to work. For some people who have worked for tough managers or tough environments, that really causes anxiety to go way up, and it becomes a distraction. Or if you travel for work, it’s like, “Well, man, I’ve got to now figure out … I got to pack and get ready for the airport and all that stuff.” With Sunday Scaries, we just feel like your weekends are precious, and that’s your time to recharge for yourself. Don’t let the Sunday Scaries creep in and start thinking about Monday when you still got the rest of the weekend to relax and recharge.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Well, that’s really well said. Josh, I know this for a fact, there was a point in your life when you were traveling all the time, and you drew a line and you said, “I’m not traveling on Sunday anymore.” So many of us want to set a boundary, want to tell our boss, “No, I need time for myself.” Where does that start? Who’s responsible for starting to take ownership of life again? Is it the employee? Is it the manager? How does this work?

Josh Schwede:

It has to start with you. If I’ve learned anything, Laurie, in my years, nobody’s really, really looking out for you as much as you are. It has to start with you, and I did that. I was scared to do it. Like I thought it was kind of a requirement. Then one day my wife, Debbie’s like, “We got to stop this. It’s impacting everything.” I started doing it and I haven’t looked back. It’s been years now, but I just don’t travel on Sunday unless it’s an absolute, absolute must, but it’s drastically reduced it.

I think, at the end, it has to start with you, but then being able to communicate your feelings and your thoughts, you have to go immediately to the people at work that are influencing you. That usually is your boss, but also it’s important to your peers, as well, because they can help hold you accountable.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Scott, what are your thoughts on that?

Scott Fowle:

In reality, I think at the core, we believe that if individuals are given the right tools, they will have some insights into themselves. And that’s giving them a great opportunity to take back control. Not just control of one area of their life, but their life, their career, their wellness, whatever. And just really focus in on the things that matter the most. I think that’s what makes people happy. There’s a lot of research out there that just says happy people stay at organizations four times longer. I know when I’m happy, I don’t call it work. I can’t wait to get to work. But like we said earlier, I mean the Sunday Scaries — looking at the alarm clock and 5:59 rolling around. You’re laying there, just waiting for the alarm to go off. It’s a bad feeling, and so it’s probably just time the individual take back control.

Laurie Ruettimann:

I love it. I mean, this is something I write about. I preach individual accountability. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum though. I know organizations like yours are really working hard to help enable both the employee and the employer to really think through making better wellbeing choices. Who wants to tell us what the heck you’re doing in this post-COVID environment? What the heck Spotlyfe is, what is this all about?

Josh Schwede:

Well, I mean, listen. Scott and I, we’ve had the opportunity to work together at HireVue. We were really early there. Mark Newman recruited us to go over there. We’ve worked as partners at different organizations, and we always wanted to do something together. When we put our brains together earlier in 2021, a couple things came to mind. One, most software, at least in the talent space, it’s actually not built for you and I as individuals. It’s all built for companies and leaders. When I sit down and actually use something, it doesn’t have context for me. You flip that over Laurie. I mean, you and I always trade messages about, what do we watch and whether it’s on the big screen or at home> Whether it’s media apps or apps for diet or exercise or sleep or whatever, those all have amazing context and teach me things about myself that I didn’t know.

We’re like, what if we could build some software that actually was built from day one for the individual versus the company. The second piece is, that’s important because of all the things that we’ve gone through over the past two years, right? At first they were in survival mode during the beginning of COVID — like, how do I make sure I’m OK? Let’s protect everything. Then they had an opportunity to go into a pretty deep reflection about what really mattered for them. If they didn’t identify with their boss, with the values of the company, with their CEO, they spoke with their feet and left. That is another big founding point of Spotlyfe is really, listen, you can’t hope to attract or retain talent if you don’t understand what makes Laurie tick. There’s work Laurie, but guess what? There’s more to Laurie than work Laurie, right? There’s life Laurie and there’s wellness Laurie. That could be financial wellness. It could be mental wellness. It could be physical wellness.

We’ve all had good days and we’ve all had bad days, but if I’m having a bad day and it’s outside of work, my performance at work is not going to be nearly what it is on other good days. We’re just trying to help people understand that there’s three lenses here, and how do we shine some lights on those different lenses and help the individual become a little bit more informative about themselves? If they have trust with their manager, share that with them to ultimately drive performance for them at their company.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Well Scott, why don’t you tell us exactly what Spotlyfe is and what it does. I work in human resources or I’m a manager, even a founder of a company. What is Spotlyfe going to do for me?

Scott Fowle:

I think a couple things. Just backing up a bit, my entire career has been selling enterprise software just to help organizations and help leadership. I saw this as an amazing opportunity to set out and really do something I wanted to do back when I was in college, which was, I thought I wanted to get into clinical counseling. I thought, wait, what in the world? Well, I guess that’s sales, too. The piece here that’s really real, I guess to your question, is, it’s all about the individual and giving them the chance to kind of rethink that moment when you turn the screen and the company is in front of you on an LCD panel. It’s like, boy, this is what I now have since most of us are still working in remote or hybrid environments. What I found for myself really is that I need some sort of workflow. I need some sort of assistive effort to kind of get me to stop, take a breath, take a look at what I have intent on for the day. That’s not just for my boss. Like again, that goes all the way over to wellness, your life and so on. It also is about work.

For me, it’s like bringing workflow to those that all of a sudden may just need a bookend, a start and a finish to a day. I think for that, if that’s all Spotlyfe is, in terms of bringing that collective kind of view into an individual’s life and helping them decide what is important, what’s the focus how did I do, how do I continue to create more successes or if I was not successful for the day, how do I pivot and adjust? That’s a big help. Again, back to my original statement, this is a chance to help people. That’s what I really identified with, with this application.

Laurie Ruettimann:

I love that. It’s about helping people think through what’s most important in the day, both personally and professionally, how do I accomplish it? How do I prioritize it? Also, how do I remember my values? And, at the end of the day, what did I actually accomplish? Was I consistent with my values? Did I get the things I needed to get done? Do I need to talk to my manager? Did I get that right, Josh?

Josh Schwede:

Yeah, no, you’re dead-on. I think the key here is building on your last comment, can we just teach people things about themselves that maybe they didn’t really realize? Can today be a little bit better than the day before? There’s a greater good angle to this here Scott mentioned, which is, we’ve kind of seen it all when it comes to talent and HR software and we want to do some good. We want to help people reduce that stress, and a large proportion of their stress comes from their work. If we can help them understand how to focus on those moments that matter every day — and some days that’s work, and other days it has nothing to do with work. If we can empower people to understand those moments that matter, focus on those moments that matter, and communicate that, we just feel like they’re going to be better as a human, and that’s going to help companies back to attracting/retraining talent.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Scott, what are your thoughts on that?

Scott Fowle:

Yeah, so maybe 2021 wasn’t the best year I’ve ever experienced. For me at my life stage, it wasn’t about kind of figuring out what to do with my kids while I’m working, because they’re out of the house. But I did learn what it’s like to take care of an aging parent. That was really stressful. It was a big, huge process to go through, but I did lose my father due to COVID. For that prior and all the way up to that, I had to find ways in which I could stop my work life and express to this team that there’s other things that I just have to kind of go and be a part of because I won’t get this time back. Right now, this is what I have to focus on.

For me, it just really brought Spotlyfe into view because there’s so many times when individuals have other things going on in their wellness or their personal life that do impact work. I think seeing the individual as a whole has always helped me as a manager in the past. I can’t tell you I’ve always done that. I might have been one of those bad managers a long, long time ago. But I think seeing the individual as a whole and what’s really impacting how they react, respond and what they’re working on, and so on, just can be a much richer conversation.

Laurie Ruettimann:

You know, I think it’s always so interesting when founders and leaders reach an inflection point in their career. It seems to me that you’ve reached this point, Scott, where you’ve lived it all. You’ve seen it from a productivity standpoint. You’ve experienced the personal, the loss with the loss of your father, and I’m very sorry for that. What lessons do you have for someone who’s listening right now, who’s struggling with all of this and doesn’t know where to get started? They want to set better boundaries. They want to learn how to say “yes” or say “no” differently. What are some of the lessons you learned in 2021, Scott?

Scott Fowle:

Yeah, I think not only 2021, but moreover, this might be sharing some personal information, but I’m obviously at the older, latter stage of my life in terms of career and so on, that’s no secret. But I think had I have had intent earlier in my life on a lot of different areas around life and wellness, I could have been in a different position. Again, I don’t ever hide this. I am a Type 2 diabetic. I look at what if I’d had intent in my personal life to jump on a treadmill, ride a bike, change my diet, all those things.

Again, I don’t regret it. You have to kind of live and accept where you’re at. But again, starting your day with intent really made sense to me when I saw this. And I said, “Look, Josh, I’m serious. I think Spotlyfe could change a lot of things.” It might have changed what happened to me personally from a wellness perspective. It might have changed how I dealt with some of the things that happened in 2021. That’s my take on that. I think a lot of learnings, but overall, I think you do want to try to put people in a position to have control over everything. It’s really more about work-life integration.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Josh, what are your thoughts on that?

Josh Schwede:

A hundred percent. I think life and work are forever integrated. I think the people that maybe were very self-aware years ago were able to learn that, but I think the pandemic forced everybody into, like you said, that kind of forced reflection where they had to think about it.

And I don’t have much to add in, like, in terms of tips of what Scott was saying. I look back at my career, Laurie, and I think about my 20s, right? My 20s, I tried to do a lot of different things. It was mostly all in technology, but I was trying to do different jobs. So I jumped around every two or three years and that, at the time, was like, people were raising their eyes, but it allows you to try a bunch of different things. In your 30s, you kind of start to zero in on, what do I think I want to do? Your 40s and 50s, as we’re approaching that, you really get focused and zeroed in. Along the way, it’s all about all the people you meet and trying to tie yourself to people that believe in the best of you. Not to quote Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, but they’ve got your best intentions, and they’re looking out for you and that’s hard to find over the years.

I think maybe this could be a way for people to find a way to learn about themselves and then communicate that out to say, “Hey, this is how I want to work. I don’t want to go spend time in the car for three hours anymore.” I want to prioritize, like Scott said, some wellness, some physical wellness for me. That’s going to make me go so much better. Just have confidence to be able to share that with the people that you trust. I think if you put that out there, you’re going to get a lot back in return.

Laurie Ruettimann:

You know, it’s interesting that you’re launching your product on Groundhog Day because one of the things I’m hearing from both of you as a theme is this idea of service. Whether it’s your stage of life, or it’s your values and really being of service to others, disrupts this idea of Groundhog Day. Disrupts the idea of, oh, it’s going to be miserable over and over again because you’re actually not thinking about you. You’re thinking about other people. You’re rooting for their success, you’re actively involved in changing lives. I wonder what you hope the impact of Spotlyfe is on employees and on organizations at large?

Scott Fowle:

I think a couple things. I’ve been pretty candid so far, so why not go for it? I’ve been the benefactor of a lot of good managers in my life. People who’ve really sat down and said, look, there’s a couple things you might want to change when you get up in front of an audience or when you are selling and doing discovery calls or whatever mile marker you’re talking about in sales. That really helped me a lot. Those discussions really propelled my career, and I could name them by name. I’ve done that at this point and look back at what I’ve benefited from.

For me, like we’ve talked about the individual, but if this in any way could give a manager insight around how to have a much more fruitful conversation with individuals on their team and talk at a level that will start to evoke or develop some level of empathy or trust, I’m all for it. Because in reality, I’ve had a bunch of that throughout my career. I’d wish that onto everybody else so that this could be a little bit more life-giving. Again, maybe I’m dreaming, but I hope that Spotlyfe can deliver that. That’s maybe a lofty goal, but I’ve been a benefactor, and I’d want to believe that others could be benefactors, as well.

Josh Schwede:

Yeah. I think Scott took the individual angle and that’s important, because that’s how the product is built from day one. But we do believe that companies can benefit,  as well. Companies have these employee value propositions that they put all over their careers page, that talks about why you should come apply for jobs at their company, why you should work there. But if a company’s using Spotlyfe, it’s kind of a prove-it statement to their employee value proposition. Like if they’re out there saying, “Hey Laurie, this is a great place for you to join because we care about you and the whole you,” they don’t have ways to back that up today. Our long-term hope is this becomes a fabric of a company’s culture when they’re recruiting to say, “Hey, we’re actually a Spotlyfe organization. We mean what we say when we say we care about all of you, Laurie, right? And we prove it by having Spotlyfe.”

It’s in the way we have our conversations with each other. It’s in the way we have conversations between you and your manager, et cetera. That’s the company benefit. I think, long haul, if people can use this on a daily basis and build great muscle memory, hopefully it does a couple things. It reduces a little bit of stress for them, but also it helps them realize, like I said earlier, those moments that matter and not to miss out on those, because those are what’s going to fill your bucket, fill your energy and keep you going on a daily basis.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Well, Punk Rock HR is definitely a Spotlyfe company. I’m invested in anything that Josh and Scott do. I mean, I’m so honored that you were here and Scott, let’s start with you. If people want to learn more about you and Spotlyfe, where do they go? Where are you hanging out these days?

Scott Fowle:

Yeah. Today’s actually our formal launch on Groundhog Day, so Spotlyfe.com is probably the best place. There’s a couple resources out there, as well. There’s a quick little video. It might be a little bit aspirational in terms of who we are and what we want to do, but it’s a good first stop. We’ve been living in a little bit of stealth mode, which I have to tell you is not fun. I’m not used to that. We’re finally out there, and Spotlyfe.com is the best spot, but again, feel free to contact either Josh or I on LinkedIn or whatever medium works for you, but happy to tell you.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Josh, where are you these days? Where can people connect with you?

Josh Schwede:

I think if you talked to me a couple years ago, I was all over social, but I dropped off quite a bit. Now I just try and monitor what one of my three daughters is doing on there. I wish we were in person, but it’s not happening right now. Like Scott said, we’ve been stealth, so we’re going to be a lot more active. LinkedIn and Twitter most likely, Laurie. Might see us on some Instagram but our emails, if you want to email us directly, Josh or Scott @Spotlyfe.com. That’s spelled S-P-O-T-L-Y-F-E. It’s just awesome being on this. It’s fun to see six months’ worth of work come to fruition on launch day. The fact that you volunteered and said, “Hey, let’s do this on launch day,” this is our first kind of public audio coming out. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Well, I’m so proud of you both. Honored to call you both friends and thanks again for being a guest on Punk Rock HR.

Scott Fowle:

Thank you, Laurie.

Josh Schwede:

Bye, Laurie.

Laurie Ruettimann:

Hey everybody. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Punk Rock HR. We are proudly underwritten by The Starr Conspiracy. The Starr Conspiracy is the B2B marketing agency for innovative brands creating the future of workplace solutions. For more information, head on over to thestarrconspiracy.com.

Punk Rock HR is produced and edited by Rep Cap, with special help from Michael Thibodeaux and Devon McGrath. For more information, show notes, links, and resources, head on over to punkrockhr.com. Now that’s all for today and I hope you enjoyed it. We’ll see you next time on Punk Rock HR.

The post Introducing Spotlyfe With Josh Schwede and Scott Fowle appeared first on Laurie Ruettimann.

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By: LFR
Title: Introducing Spotlyfe With Josh Schwede and Scott Fowle
Sourced From: laurieruettimann.com/introducing-spotlyfe-josh-schwede-scott-fowle/
Published Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2022 09:00:53 +0000

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