Prioritizing careers, relationships, and family with Lindsay Tjepkema

What happens when you have the “ands” of marriage to a partner with a successful career, multiple kids, and owning a startup on your own? How do you keep things afloat, let alone find meaning and the depth along the way? Lindsay Tjepkema, co-founder and CEO of Casted, joins Tiffany to talk about finding encouragement, growth, and meaningfulness in a 2-career and multiple-kid family.

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What happens when you have the “ands” of marriage to a partner with a successful career, multiple kids, and owning a startup on your own? How do you keep things afloat, let alone find meaning and the depth along the way? Lindsay Tjepkema, co-founder and CEO of Casted, joins Tiffany to talk about finding encouragement, growth, and meaningfulness in a 2-career and multiple-kid family.

They discuss their similar paths in life and what they wished they would have known sooner in their journeys. Owning a business, being a mother, and being an intentional spouse are all rewarding things that have taught these two women so many things over their lifetimes. Listen in to hear some of their own stories and advice.

Tiffany: The conversation you're about to hear is between myself and Lindsey Tjepkema. She is a CEO and co-founder at Casted, which is like a really aggressive startup that's going on here in Indianapolis Lindsay. And I have crossed paths over the last couple of years as both female CEOs, leading companies, and also leading.

Alongside our husbands and our families, her husband also has a great big job like mine. And so offline off microphone, we've shared some notes and really, I would say sort of found a friendship and one another knowing that our paths are so parallel. So it only made sense for me to bring Lindsay on and have her share a little bit about her journey and what she's learned in a two career family, running a company with a lot of visibility and a lot of pressure and excitement in her life.

I'm your host. Tiffany Sauder, and this is Scared Confident.

All right, Lindsay, I feel like I'm podcasting. What the podcast is. It's like very meta where it Lindsay, the podcast girl to be on a podcast. I wanted to have Lindsay on today. Cause we circle in the Indianapolis business community and have had lots of. Over a slow glass of wine talks about what it's like to be moms and to career homes.

But I would love to sort of reflect, if you look back at like your eight to 12 year old self, what did you think you would be doing at your, what are

you almost 40?

Lindsay: Yeah. Now I'm 29. I was like, oh, are you actually, yeah. I'm I'm 39 actually. Weirdly some version of exactly this and also not this in any way, shape or form.

I've always been like on the stage. I've always, that's always been my life. So anything theater or drama or, you know, getting dressed up and. Being center stage has always been my thing, put a bat or a ball in my hand, and I had no zero what to do, but yeah, being on stage and telling the story has always been my jam, even when I didn't know that that was the thing.

And then business, I'm an achiever and, um, I like to win and I hate to lose and I like to build things and I love to be creative. And so I always pictured myself in an office building something. So from that. Exactly this like being a founder of a marketing technology company, where I get to be creative and spend a lot of time speaking exactly this, but all the intricacies of being a founder and all the time that you spend doing things that you never even knew existed in business and never prepared for in any way, shape or form.

And then the home life. I always thought that I would have a husband and kids and I am so blessed to have. Both, but other things they don't tell you, which we've talked a lot about is how challenging it can be to have it all and have all the things and to keep it all alive.

Tiffany: So when you talk about like, as a kid, you love to win. How did you discover that? Because I also not sporty. So how did you learn that? Because I think it's always interesting. If you weren't competitive and like soccer pick, whatever, how did you learn.

Lindsay: I was married when my husband pointed out to me that I'm competitive. And because I had always equated to your point, I always equated being competitive with being athletic.

There was anonymous to me. And at one point we were talking and I was like, oh, well, I'm, I'm not competitive. And he laughed really hard. He laughed. And I was like, what are you talking about? He's like, you're the most competitive person I know. Um, the planet and we had this funny conversation and I was like, well, you're joking.

And he started to point out, you know, hold up a mirror. And I was like, okay, well I guess, I guess that makes sense. And I loved school. I was a big nerd. I loved school. I know a lot of people don't I did. And so looking back, I didn't realize it at the time, but I was competitive with myself. I was an achiever.

I, I wanted to win. I wanted to get the grades. I wanted to get the accolades. I wanted to learn. I wanted to challenge myself and I was competitive with myself for how much I could do and how much I could know and how much I could create. I did not realize it at the time, but looking back. Oh yeah, absolutely.

Tiffany: So what did your mom do when you were growing up? She stay home. Did she work outside?

Lindsay: She's a teacher and she was pretty much the breadwinner in the family. So my dad had, was like an hourly worker. He drove trucks and vans, like local delivery things. And my mom was.

Tiffany: What I want to understand is like, what did you grow up around?

Like who cared for you? Did you have to go to a neighbor's house? Have a grandma clothes,

whatever. Yeah.

Lindsay: A little bit of everything. So my sister is six years older, so it's just me and my sister as far as siblings, but she is six years older. So when I was six, she was 12. When I was 10, she was 16. So.

Afterschool was typically my sister, because my mom would be home an hour later. You know, she was a teacher, she was basically wrapping up and getting home. And then before school, it was always kind of a hodgepodge of the neighbor or the friend for an hour or so. And then when I got a little older, my dad would be around.

Late enough. Cause my mom teacher had to get there really early and my dad would be there other than we were really little, my mom's friend stayed home and watched me and her daughter up through kindergarten. But other than that, there was never really a need for like actual childcare for.

Tiffany: So,

did you picture always, since your mom worked, that you would work, like the idea of being a stay-at-home mom, between the ages of whatever and your, was that ever on your radar

as an option?

Lindsay: No. However, because my mom was a teacher, it was a smack in the face of like, I remember vividly like going, oh my gosh, what are we going to do in the summer? Like, what are we have these kids who are going to be here? And the summer, like, what are we going to do? And so, yeah, there there've been a lot of things over the last 11 years, since I became a parent that had been, I'm starting to realize now how much my mom was there because she was a.

So deciding to be a business owner, whether it be either spouse is very much a weed decision. If your spouse is onboard, it's hard by itself. If your spouse is an onboard, it's like darn near impossible. So I'd love to hear what that was like with you and your husband at this sort of convergence points in your career.

Tiffany: When you realized you had this idea, you were going to create the opportunity to be able to maybe birth it. What did that ground zero look like for you guys?

Lindsay: So my husband, Mike and I are really in a very good way. And sometimes to a fault, we are very encouraging of each other and sometimes enabling of each other professionally.

And so we talked through it more so as encouragers and like lifelong career coaches of each other. Oh yeah. Then there is our relationship and our family, like for that decision, there was just a whole lot of like, how can you not do it? How can I not do it? Of course I'm going to do this. But most of the conversations were professional.

And then it started to turn into wait, what's this going to look like for our kids and for our family and for us and my husband until literally a week ago, I was traveling three to five days a week. And how's that going to work, especially when you're studying. You literally don't know, you can't like ask the people who work there, what the day-to-day is like.

And so on one hand, it's, it's up to you to decide, uh, which is very cool. But on the other hand, it is the definition of unknown, which doesn't exist yet. So lots of conversations about, of course, we're going to do this. This is such a great opportunity. And then as far as family, I was like, we're just going to figure it

out.

Tiffany: Looking back at that conversation today. Um, how many years has it been? Three that's what I was going to guess was three. What advice would you give yourselves today? Looking back and say like have this conversation, or don't underestimate this, or you thought this was going to be a bigger deal than it was.

Lindsay: I think being more intentional about, Hey, there's so much. We don't know, how can we control the things we do now because of how uncertain this is surely going to be, what can we commit to now, what can we do to have some sort of stability or consistency throughout? And it fell into a couple of those things, which is good.

But, um, I think that would be, that would be smart,

like practically, what does that mean? And maybe some things you and Mike have instituted or try that have worked or haven't because I think we can all learn from.

Some of the things that we didn't anticipate, we just fell into it in a bad way where the we'll just figure it out was he was traveling.

And so we just made it work. I mean, sometimes it was, it was week to week, day to day of who's going to be there for the kids. Who's going to do the doctor's appointment. And that's because we didn't have that conversation. Some of the good things have been realizing that no matter what in our kids. Do come first and that's been great to see, regardless of what's been happening.

Like we ha we make sure that when we're home, we're home and that we're snuggled up with the kids watching a movie and we're there. We have found ourselves prioritizing that. Without ever really talking about it. And typically that has to be the weekends because the weeks are so have over the last three years been so unpredictable.

It's like, okay, well, Saturdays and Sundays, we are here and we're together. And it's pretty non-negotiable. I mean, obviously there's things that happen on the weekends, but we rarely prioritize the family. And that wasn't a discussion that we had.

I remember, I don't know, maybe almost a year ago now we were talking and there was a water line.

I think I could be driving. Let's chat. And I was like, what helped you have? And you were like, what do you mean you mean by help?

Tiffany: So let's talk through that because I think understanding the help I had helped you understand like, oh, I have permission to do like, does that, is that how it works? I also had to learn that from other ones.

Because it was not what was modeled in my own home, which sounds like same, like sort of made it work, which is what you and Mike were trying to do is, Hey, we'll just piece this together, but there's different ingredients. And so you don't have a job that tracks your kids is school, your calendar. So different ingredient.

Mike travels, your dad was home different ingredients. The hours in the first five years of a startup. Not typical. So let's go back to that conversation a little bit. And what you heard and what you sort of gave yourself permission to be open to.

Lindsay: Yeah. Yeah. We started having these conversations just as you were to wanting Scared Confident, and some of the initial conversations that we had and that you had on the show.

I was so excited and so grateful that you were talking about it, not only for me, but for women in general and humans in general, because we don't talk about these things. I think the way that I was raised as is very typical to say. That you should be able to do things on your own. You should be able to figure it out.

And of course, like if your kids come first, you're going to be able to just do it, you know? Of course, you're gonna be able to run your own home. Like goodness gracious. If you can't do your own, you can't find a way to get your own laundry done and make sure that your family gets fed like as a bare minimum.

And like you said, getting the permission, hearing that a normal human being was having help in their home to just get things done and to be able to prioritize the thing. Like I just said, prioritize the time with my family snuggled up on a couch, watching a movie, not stressing about all the things that hadn't been done.

I'd always seen any sort of help even having like. Weekly or monthly or whatever it is, cleaning crew come in and clean. Your home is a huge luxury, but that help exists for a reason. And it makes you. A better fill in the blank, you know, leader person at work, coworker, friends, mom, wife, but we just don't give ourselves permission.

And so I'm so glad that you're opening up that conversation. It's so important.

Tiffany: I think it has this weird balance of balance. Isn't even the right word. I don't know what the word is. Insert blank. This is a weird thing. Where I never want there to be something where there's, that there's something that feels weird between the people that work side of our teams and us as a leader.

And so the idea of sheepishly sort of whispering to each other, like you have help, what's it look like? I don't want, maybe I don't want my people to know that I have somebody who does my laundry. But the reality is we only have so many hours. And so how much more can I prepare for the thing I'm leading for the strategy we're putting together for the board meeting, you need to be at how much clearer is your mind to rest so that you can be whole on the inside.

And I think that in we're in the Midwest, I do think it's regional a little bit, but that was the thing for me is like, I don't mind telling my peers that I have. But I was more uncomfortable with the idea that my team knew that I had all this help, but I got to the place where I realized I'm perpetuating a really dangerous Mirage, that I can have four kids and all of the mess that comes with that, all the food, they eat, all the laundry, they make the activities that we are joyfully get to be a part of and the nights and weekends as the kids get.

It's not functional that I'm still able to be a human being. If I'm also doing the rest of it. I think women in particular start to lose themselves at this age where you are, you did pick a career, you did pick how many kids you wanted to have. You did pick how close or far, why you wanted to live from family.

And now you feel like you're just facilitating everybody's expectations of you, but you. Actually get to experience anything

Lindsay: we're taught that. Need help. And that we shouldn't ask for help because it's these things that come naturally, especially does as human beings, but especially as women, like, you know, we should have these homes that we should love and be able to take care of in the very small margins that we have. And we should be able to completely care for ourselves and our families and be there for our friends and do all the things.

Without any help at all. And when you let yourself zoom out from that, it's really silly and even asking for help. And we were talking about being able to bring someone in that that's their job to do a thing, you know, to watch your kids or to help you with your house, but also friends. Like, I don't think that.

Even truly are raised to embrace asking friends and neighbors for help. I mean, I was not explicitly raised. My mom never told me to do this, but I, I was the kind of person that if you come into somebody's house, I'm like, do you have something to drink? Do you anything that you just, no, no, I'm fine. I'm fine.

I don't want any water. I'm okay. It's, it's pretty ridiculous. When you think about it, the resistance to help, it's pretty proud too, when you really.

Tiffany: Was it hard for you to change your thinking? Because there's likely somebody listening to this as like the sounds the sounds great, but it takes financial resources that I might not have that I'm in.

That might not think I have and prioritizing other things instead. Was that an easy mental switch for you to be like now I'm spending money on. I think there's a perception. If you're CEO, you're like, you're automatically rich need to dispel said myth.

Lindsay: Yeah. I mean, especially starting a startup. I mean, absolutely not.

No time and, and money both. I mean, both are scarce, especially. I mean, that's, my experience is starting to startups, so that's, that's all I can speak to is, is time is scarce. Money is scarce and, and, and they're both uncertain because you don't know what next month next quarter next year is going to look like.

And so. It was definitely a conversation and a decision of, okay, how are we going to do these things? And we've been paying for childcare since our kids were born as a lot of parents do. And so it was like, okay, well, every time we think we're in air quotes is done. As our kids get older, it's like, just kidding.

We still need afterschool help. We still need this. So. We just looked at what we were already doing, what we have been doing and just said, okay, how do we stretch it a little and rethink it? I think going back to one of those asking for more help, that was one thing that you really helped me see was like, okay, so we need afterschool help.

That's something that we've been conscious of and comfortable with for a while. Like, it is not really possible for us to have our kids come home from school and not have someone there. What if we ask as we're hiring that person, if they'd also be comfortable with. Picking up our groceries with helping with the boys laundry and come to find.

Those are very normal things to ask for that. Nobody had talked to me about to say these people that you're already comfortable getting help from. What if you asked them to do a little bit more and even if that's more hours and we're raising the hourly rate or whatever you're doing, looking for opportunities to get more support.

For some reason, we always look, I think for the bare minimum amount of support when we could be getting so much more of the help that we really need.

Tiffany: I feel like I've gotten my PhD and finding people who are willing to help.

Lindsay: I have like, so you told me you were like all these

places that you were looking.

Tiffany: I was like, church, that car, like the coffee shop, waiters and waitresses, like anybody who is touching me if they have a, a way. And if they're super conscientious, if they're paying attention, if they're thinking ahead, I'm like, oh, your brain works in a way. I might need. And I found even these high school students, I'm like, I think I could literally pay one of them $15 a week to come get my car filled up with gas tickets as a carwash, sweep it out and bring it back to me.

I bet I could get that done for 15 bucks a week, but we don't think about each one of those steps. I'm not doing that, but I'm

Lindsay: just like somebody who's listening might need to do that. Their neighbor, their neighbor's kid might for one hour a week, do that. Yeah. And I'm like,

we do make it kind of too hard sometimes I think.

And like you said, even timing, something like laundry, how many hours a week are you actually spending on it and sitting down with your. Spouse. If you have shared money and really talking through, what is it worth to you for me to have two more hours of availability for you and how can we find it in our budget, in a place where we don't necessarily have to miss something we love as a family, I think can really change the dynamic of a home.

Tiffany: So, okay. We're offering soapbox, ask for help, ask for help. That's right. How have you learned to deal with the pressure that comes with your job?

Lindsay: They're super obvious, but sleep and you'd like to sleep or it goes away

both. Right? So it goes away, but I need to sleep. Like typically I start to overthink things.

I succumb to pressure more easily, and then I'm not, I don't show up well for other people, like, and it all goes back to rest and you, and you're when more is going on, you need more rest. And my co-founder Adam is really good at that and really like respect. And so he's a good reminder. Yeah.

Tiffany: But he can get his body to sleep even when he's stressed.

Lindsay: Yeah. I think, I think he's, he's like the opposite of me and he's like,

Tiffany: and yeah, my body doesn't want to get out of bed when I'm stressed. I can't fall asleep. Yeah. That's what other people, their mind just go and go. And I'm like avoidance crawl in a hole and yeah.

I don't, I have a hard time falling asleep and then exercise.

Lindsay: You're an early morning workout person too, yet I get up and it's worth it. I get up at five and I work out. Cause that's the only time it works for me. Not because I'm like, you know, one of those hustle and grinds, this is, this is my recipe for success when I wake up and what not that it's just, that's literally when it works for me.

And, um, I feel so much better. I just feel so much better when I move my body and so much worse when I don't do you mean. The pressure and anxiety and stress shows up. It's a stomach thing. Like it's my, my stomach gets tight. And then, yeah, I just have a hard time resting and then it's a spiral, you know, when you can't sleep, then you're not, then you get more.

Tiffany: My mom always says the bad news bears come out when you're tired, you know? Cause it's true. It's like everything's big and hard. There's no good

news. I mean, it's, it's one of the things that you just can't process anything. Yeah. As you get older and as you get to know yourself better, you start to realize it's so silly, but it's like, okay, well it's 10.

Um, I'm starting to stress out. I'm very tired. I should probably just go to sleep. Like, like nothing's going to get solved tonight. Whereas years ago I would have been like, Nope, I gotta stay up. I gotta figure this out. Is. Take some notes and power through it and send some emails, but rest, anything you want to talk to?

Lindsay: Yeah, something that would be really interesting. We're three years into Casted and you're 17. 18. Okay. And to Element Three, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what hasn't changed as far as like what keeps you up at night and what has remained.

Tiffany: That may be a surprising to you and what hasn't. I think it's probably easy to think about the things that are so much easier or so much harder.

Lindsay: Somebody told me once that when you get married, the things you're fighting about now are gonna be things you find about your entire marriage. So for you, since you've been doing this for 17 years, are there any surprising things that are still stressors are still excited to what has remained all these years?

Tiffany: One is the. At the face value. It's not going to feel very comforting, but one is that it's always hard. And there's somewhere along the line, sort of becomes this peacefulness with accepting that where you don't feel it in the same, like white knuckled gripping, like you do at the beginning.

I remember for years and years and years waiting for this like sweet relief when I just had solved it. Because every other thing you do in your life, you start a book, you finish it, you start a game. You like do a Rubik's cube. It's done. Like, everything has kind of this nice ending and in business, I remember at the beginning being like, oh, my word, we stick the landing on the year.

There's just another one. And so I remember being like, oh my word, are you serious? That at no point in my existence on this planet are all of those things going to be perfectly aligned. And kind of panicking and then there's like the sweet acceptance at some point where you start to trust your ability to solve and I've become less like connected to the outcome of whether or not we're like all our clients are happy or all our clients are sad.

Obviously it's better when they're happy, but I just know we're always going to be solving somewhere. And so I think as the company matures and as your team matures, You start to put your weight on your ability to solve well together and less about the outcome of it.

I think you are better at this than me. I really underestimated the role that culture and purpose clarity play in creating belief and then ultimately momentum in a business. And I came into the world of business through the door of finance and. Really, I feel like knew a lot about the X's and O's of business, but didn't pay a lot of attention in my organizational behavioral health classes in college.

Like I literally remember being like, oh, BHR. I don't even know what that means. And I just didn't take it seriously. And I think in the late. Stages of element three, we created culture through fun and games and competition and sort of this like youthful exuberance. And that was like fun and shiny to be around, but it wasn't really substantive.

And I think I've matured into understanding the role that, that plays in creating belief and ultimately momentum. Um, and I think you saw that early.

Lindsay: Well, thank you. But to see it and to achieve it are two very different things, right? And especially as you grow, especially in the midst of a pandemic, especially if one of those beliefs that you want to nurture in your culture, this whole heartedness, and like the kind of conversations that you're having and, and really real authentic conversations.

One thing that I've been talking about a lot lately is if you want flexibility and you want authenticity and you want wholeheartedness you, the first thing you have to do. Is acknowledge and embrace that that is not the same for everyone. Like flexibility for me. It's not flexibility for everyone.

Wholeheartedness for me is not the same as it is for everyone. And that's hard and, and truly achieving that and truly achieving like openness and diversity, not only of demographics and firmographics, but of thoughts and how people show up. I mean, like that's, it's one thing to want it and to believe in it and to really.

Talk about it and invest in it early on. And it's another thing to scale it and show up for it and create psychological safety around it. And it's so important. I think we'll always be trying for it and hoping for it. And I'm finding out, oops, we missed there and, oh, it's not what we want to be over here.

But, um, and that's been an ongoing learning for me is like, wow, okay. This is truly, truly something we have to work for all.

Tiffany: Do you think in like an example of like a value of wholeheartedness totally get the idea of, I equate it to this idea of like, I don't know, a vulnerability of transparency kind of thing, and I get that's different for everybody.

Do you think it's our job though, as leaders to establish this is what the floor of wholeheartedness this fine line between accepting the fact that, Hey, everybody's got a different sort of comfort level with this idea. But also culturally creating a floor of expectation of what this means. So as you think about something like wholeheartedness, where does your head go?

What have you sort of discerned? And there's probably not a neat ending yet, but I'm just so curious.

Lindsay: I can learn from. Well, I feel like if I keep saying the word wholeheartedness, I'm going to manifest Bernay brown and show up and we'll actually be best friends, which is my one real hope in life. You said something about setting expectations and I think bringing it all together, and I'm not saying I'm good at this by any stretch of the imagination, not even close, but it's, um, in work and in parenting, there's this balance of allowing and encouraging.

Show up as yourself and be who you are and feel your actual feelings and share your ideas. And don't be anybody else. Like don't be who you think other people want you to be. But that also comes with in parenting and, and work expectations for what good looks like, what is expected as part of this. Team this family, this group, I mean, I wouldn't say, Hey.

Yeah, my child be who you want to be. And if you really feel like you need to, as an 11 year old tear up the pillows on the couch, like that's, that's not okay. Like that's, that's not you being who you are. Same thing at work. I mean, if who you are is. Disruptive to somebody else or disrespectful somebody else.

Like that's not okay. And unless we say that and establish that, and like you said, establish guidelines and expectations. You have to define that part. If you're going to even give people the freedom to show up as themselves and to be who they are and to be authentic and vulnerable, you have to say, and here's what we mean by that.

Here are the ground rules. Here are the guard rails. Otherwise it can become really uncomfortable for everybody else really fast.

Tiffany: What have you learned about yourself as a leader in this experience? First three years of Casted.

Lindsay: That I can't do it all that I need help both in work and outside of work that I need to.

More often than not trust my gut. That has probably been the biggest learning. Like even when I don't want to listen to my gut and whatever it's telling me, I'm like trying really hard to ignore it. Trust my gut or intuitive. Yeah. That's something I've learned. I mean, I think if somebody had told me that when I was 20 or 10 or whatever, I'd be like, yeah, that makes sense.

But it's very clear to me now I've learned that. The more I trust my instinct and lean into really lean into what I know and feel is right. But also like embrace what I don't, that's where the fun is. And like you said, it's never just, again, just like parenting, but running a business and being a parent are very similar.

It doesn't ever get easier. I know that is parenting and I'm seeing it in business. It never, ever, ever gets easier. It just gets different. Like the challenges that we had in our first year. Are different than the ones that we're having now. And I know five years from now, it's going to be different still, but it's just going to be different.

Tiffany: And that's when you start to learn great people with shared values aligned to a mission, we really care about all that stuff takes over. When you're not winning anymore, you know what I mean? Cause it's easy. Everybody wants to join the teams that are winning, but it's when you're really aligned on mission and values that you can still win.

Well, when there's headwinds. Lindsey.

Lindsay: Thanks for sharing.

Tiffany: Thank you so much for had loved walking this journey with you of trying to figure out life and business, and also continuing to evolve individually as people. My mission for Scared Confident is to help women confidently pursue a life of ant. And I want to be available to you.

Passionate about vulnerably, stepping into my stories so that it can help women. This is about creating the resource that I wish I had as I was going through this journey. So if you have questions, comments, or feedback, I'd love to hear from you text me at 3 1 7 3 5 0 8 9 2 1. So here's what this tool is.

It's a personal number that I've set up for Scared Confident. It comes straight to my phone and it allows me to see and us to interact with one another, like directly. So I can text you back and answer your questions. So this opportunity to be able to interact directly, not necessarily I have to jump through algorithms of social media, but to have a really a direct conversation and relationship is what I'm really excited about with this project of scorecard.

If we have just one, the whole project will be worth it. So 3 1 7 3 5 0 8 9 2. One is the way that you can get in touch with me and don't think your question's stupid. It's not, we're all wondering the same thing. So step into courage, ask for help and help other people who have the exact same questions, normalize their journey.

Thanks for sharing this with me.

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