Global
08 November 2018

53 Startup Blogs Every Founder Should Read (By Category)

Written by Robbie Richards

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Building a startup is often compared to launching a rocket. It’s cliche for a reason.

You need to assemble a skilled crew, build a machine that flies without falling apart, and then hope you can make it into outer space before the fuel runs out.

Each member wears many different hats because it isn’t practical to hire a complete team of specialists right off the bat.

In the early stage -- when it’s unclear if the ship will rocket to the moon or pop like a sad firework -- startup teams need to manage sales, marketing, HR, management, and customer success. All while hunting for the next vital round of funding.

But, as a startup that’s launching after so many others have seen dizzying success or crushing failure, you have a wealth of knowledge to tap into that will improve your chances of survival.

That knowledge is scattered around the web, in how-to guides, essays, and opinion pieces. It’s there for the taking if you know how to find it, but the good stuff is easily drowned out in a sea of mediocrity.

In this post, we’ll look at the best startup blogs across 5 key categories. You can use the jump links below:
 

  1. Venture Capital & Financing
  2. Sales
  3. Marketing
  4. HR & Management
  5. Customer Success
     

Let’s jump in.
 

The 53 Best Blogs for the Entire Startup Team - Funding, Sales, Marketing, HR & Customer Success

Best Venture Capital and Financing Blogs for Startups:

In the startup world, venture capitalists are the gatekeepers, rulemakers, and wise sages. Often informed by front-line experience founding and mentoring multiple startups, VC blogs help startups navigate that treacherous early stage with advice on securing funding and managing agile teams.

Plus, with VCs being such an important source of knowledge (and $$$) for startups, by reading a VC’s blog, startups can learn a particular investor’s biases and personality to better help with pitches.

From the valley’s powerhouses with over $1 trillion in stock valuations, to the blog of the man who coded Hacker News and founded Y Combinator, the best venture capital blogs are here.

Andrew Chen

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Andrew Chen is one of the startup world’s prominent experts on product. He was a key player in Uber’s early world domination strategy, and now leads investments in freemium and consumer-targeted SaaS at Andreessen Horowitz.

Andrew’s industry experience gives him the data and insight needed to write essays that change the way we look at reaching product-market fit, retaining users, boosting revenue, and ultimately avoiding startup failure.

Recommended reading:

AVC

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Fred Wilson writes no-nonsense tales from the gritty reality of startups. As a VC since 1986, Fred has seen the startup industry grow and mature. Fred covers the crypto craze, the evolution of software, and more -- all with a personal touch that’ll give you insight into the life and mind of a VC.

Recommended reading:

Paul Graham

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Paul Graham -- the “hacker philosopher” -- is a computer scientist, venture capitalist, and one of the founding members of Y Combinator. In 1996, he founded Viaweb which paved the way for SaaS and revolutionized software distribution. Since then, he’s built Hacker News and written a range of books on programming and startups.

While Paul’s blog is rarely updated, each essay has become a revered classic in its own right. Of particular note is his essay on how to balance your time and energy when you’re both a maker and a manager -- surely a vital lesson for CTOs and early startup staff who wear a lot of different hats.

Recommended reading:

Hunter Walk

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Hunter Walk joined Google in 2003 and went on to lead consumer product management at YouTube. Currently, he is a partner at Homebrew, a San Francisco-based VC fund. Hunter’s blog is a varied one, featuring how-to content, personal stories, and essays on hot Silicon Valley issues.

Recommended reading: 

First Round Review

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This blog packs its blog full of interviews with the startup world's hidden success stories, and conducts large studies across startups to gather unique operational insights. An absolute must-read.
Recommended reading:

Andreessen Horowitz

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The Andreessen Horowitz blog is founded on over two decades of industry experience and updated by some of the top VC writers around. It's not just long-form content, though. Andreessen Horowitz puts out videos and podcasts, too, so you can absorb this wisdom in the car or while multitasking.

Recommended reading:

Tomasz Tunguz

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If you're founding a software startup, you absolutely have to pay attention to Tom Tunguz. Tom has been a VC since his mid-20s, up until which point he worked at Google on AdSense.

In the past decade at Redpoint Ventures, Tom has invested in dozens of technology companies and covered the whole journey on his blog

Recommended reading:

Sequoia Capital

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Sequoia Capital is one of Silicon Valley’s heaviest hitters. Since the mid 1970s, it has made investments in over 250 technology companies, totalling $1.4 trillion in stock market valuation at the time of writing.

The blog gives founders a look behind the curtain at the inner workings of a VC fund, and is written with the motivation of helping and inspiring startups

Recommended reading:

Both Sides of the Table

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Both Sides of the Table is run by Mark Suster, a Los Angeles-based investor who had his second company acquired by Salesforce in 2007. Since then, Mark has gone on to join Upfront Ventures and invest in Invoca, MakeSpace, and Treehouse, to name just a few.

His blog has a clear purpose -- to help startups navigate the treacherous early stage by offering realistic and actionable advice.

Recommended reading:

Y Combinator

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Y Combinator, a seed accelerator founded in 2005, is one of the most influential organizations in the valley with stake in over 1,000 companies including Dropbox, Reddit, Stripe and Docker. Its blog is honest and clear, containing short pieces on the fundamentals of launching a startup.

Recommended reading:

Bowery Capital

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Bowery Capital is an early-stage B2B venture capital firm headquartered in New York. The Bowery Capital blog analyzes news from the startup world, and goes deep on topics that matter to early-stage startups, like securing funding and achieving product-market fit.

Recommended reading:


Best Sales Blogs for Startups:

Some people are born salespeople, while others couldn’t sell water to a well -- however you’d rate the skills of your founding team, one thing’s for sure: your startup won’t sell itself and that doesn’t just affect sales directly.

Your ability to ‘sell’ your product to investors, your marketers, or potential new hires impacts your funding, team motivation, and recruiting.

And, there’s the matter of building predictable revenue and closing key deals after entering the market as the competitor to powerhouse incumbents.

It’s a lot to learn at the outset, but you’re not short on resources. The sales blogs in this list will give you a solid foundation to build your sales processes and team.

Chaotic Flow

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The Chaotic Flow blog is owned and written by Joel York, a New York SaaS sales executive. It's focused on providing high-quality, realistic B2B sales advice for SaaS startups.

Over the course of his career, Joel has built 6 marketing and 3 sales organizations from scratch. Chaotic Flow acts as a repository for the lessons Joel has learned about B2B sales and marketing along the way.

Recommended reading:

Close.io

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Close.io was founded by Steli Efti, an uncensored and enthusiastic salesman with a rich startup background. The blog goes deep on topics that matter to startups hungry to build predictable revenue and close vital deals.

In addition to articles on building sales teams and processes from scratch, the Close.io blog also features webinars and videos focused on delivering 100% value and 0% bull^&$t.

Recommended reading:

Prospect.io

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Cold email. Social selling. Pipeline management. These are all areas startup sales teams need to master -- and fast!

The Prospect.io blog is a great guide. It covers topics such as analytics and sales strategy, while sprinkling in more light-hearted lunch break content like the best movies for salespeople.

Recommended reading:

HubSpot

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You only have to do a few Google searches around common sales topics to run into the HubSpot blog. Their content is a masterclass in marketing.

If you could distill the company’s sales wisdom down to liquid form, it’d be the business world’s most in-demand and expensive tipple. With almost 4,000 articles in the sales section to date, no where else can you find the topic of sales covered in such microscopic detail.

Recommended reading:

OpenView Labs

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OpenView works with expansion stage startups, and has previously mentored hugely-successful companies like WeWork and Workfront.

Its blog helps startups solve common sales growing pains, like how to build a crack team or quickly ramp up your operations.

Unlike most VC firms, OpenView is based in Boston -- perfect if you want to get out of the Silicon Valley echo chamber and read up on East coast developments.

Recommended reading:

Marc Wayshak's Sales Blog

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Marc Wayshak is the CEO of a sales research company and author of The High-Velocity Sales Organization. As well as being a handy resource for sales professionals, Marc's blog is also a masterclass in persuasion and copywriting. He covers the science of selling in actionable, easy-to-read articles.

Recommended reading:

LinkedIn Sales Blog

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The LinkedIn blog has a chunk of content to educate you on getting more out of LinkedIn's features, but is also home to many industry guest authors sharing proven sales strategies and insight.

Recommended reading:

Predictable Revenue

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You know Predictable Revenue, right? The book is basically one chapter of the startup bible, and explains how to navigate a company sales slump to build and maintain a stable business.

The book author, Aaron Ross, also also has a fantastic blog! The site hosts podcast interviews with sales thought-leaders like Profitwell's Patrick Campbell and Drift CEO David Cancel, as well as original pieces from Aaron himself.

Recommended reading:

Sales Hacker

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Sales Hacker’s blog publishes a range of podcasts, ebooks, case studies and guides aimed at helping startups improve their sales game in any vertical.

Recommended reading:

SalesLoft

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SalesLoft's blog is focused around sales engagement, operations, and strategy. Delivered across videos, guides, and fun infographics, it’s personality makes for a welcomed break from a lot of the stuffy content floating around out there.

Recommended reading:

Best Marketing Blogs for Startups:

A casual observer might be fooled into thinking startup marketing is the same thing as posting your app on Product Hunt and firing off a quick Medium post about how it was built. It’s not. It’s a continuously evolving process powered by customer feedback and a close eye on KPIs. Unlike lumbering enterprises, startups are well-positioned to be radical with their marketing and experiment rapidly to prove or disprove assumptions about the market. These aren’t skills you learn overnight, but with the right information you can start being deliberate with your startup marketing instead of making shots in the dark.

Backlinko

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Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, has devised some of the most impactful and widely-adopted SEO strategies the business world has ever seen. The blog is not updated super often because the articles take months of original study to produce.

Backlinko is particularly good for startups because it shows you smart low-cost strategies that can generate significant organic traffic growth.

Recommended reading:

ConversionXL

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ConversionXL is run by Peep Laja, a veteran performance marketer and CRO expert. The blog was founded on the idea that the marketing article ecosystem is filled with “too much basic bullshit” and “not enough advanced level content”. If you agree, you’ll love CXL’s in-depth posts on analytics, PPC, and A/B testing.

Recommended reading:

Ahrefs

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The Ahrefs blog publishes actionable SEO guides and original studies for scrappy startup marketers and large agency professionals alike. As an SEO tool, Ahrefs is already gathering billions of data points that give the writers the kind of insight into the current state of search that no other blog has.

Recommended reading:

Buffer Social Blog

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Buffer has put out some of the best content marketing in recent years while building reach for their social media scheduling tool. The blog features super in-depth articles on every aspect of social media, content marketing, and lead generation, and it’s written with startups in mind.

The Buffer team often writes from its own experience as a fast-moving startup, so the techniques explained are proven, actionable, and very applicable.

Recommended reading:

Ryan Gum

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Ryan Gum is a growth marketer at HubSpot, but before that he founded multiple successful startups. This perspective -- both from the angle of bootstrapping and working as part of a finely-tuned team -- gives Ryan’s writing unique authority. He covers the habits of high-growth startups, and looks at the hidden forces behind growth.

Recommended reading:

GrowthHackers Blog

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The GrowthHackers blog was founded by Sean Ellis, a renowned entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup advisor. The blog features a library of “growth studies” that dissect how hyper-growth companies like Slack, Etsy and Spotify turned into globally recognized billion dollar brands.

Recommended reading:

Inside Intercom

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The Inside Intercom blog tells the story of the company’s development, evolution, mistakes, and successes. Intercom is a SaaS product for support teams and marketing automation, so a bunch of its content is focused on helping companies be more customer-centric and human. Plus, they have some killer ebooks on marketing, support and customer success.

Recommended reading:

BuzzSumo

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BuzzSumo's blog is all about one strategy essential for lean scrappy startups: content marketing. The company publishes a lot of original studies.

Recommended reading:

Neil Patel

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Neil Patel is a veteran content marketer who wrote the book blog on everything you need to know to get a new business noticed by thousands of ideal customers. Neil is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSMetrics, as well as Quick Sprout (which also has a good blog).

Recommended reading:

Moz Blog

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Moz’s blog is truly a valuable resource, not just for learning SEO, but intensively studying it. The recurring Whiteboard Friday feature helps quickly demystify complex SEO topics, and its lengthy guides are often considered essential reference material on the science of search optimization.

Recommended reading:

Hitenism

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Hiten Shah is a serial entrepreneur, SaaS venture capitalist, and host of The Startup Chat, a podcast with Close.io co-founder Steli Efti. These qualifications alone make Hiten one of the best minds in the industry to discuss startup marketing.

His blog blends actionable guides with personal stories from the trenches (and bars) of Silicon Valley.

Recommended reading:

Groove’s Startup Journey Blog

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Groove's blog -- specifically the Startup Journey section -- is a goldmine of tested startup marketing advice from Groove's early marketing team. That same team grew Groove from $0 to $5,000,000+ in annual recurring revenue in just a few years, and each step of the journey is documented on the blog.

Recommended reading:

Robbie Richards

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Robbie’s blog contains some of the most in-depth and actionable digital marketing guides you’ll find anywhere online. While the primary focus of the blog is centered on different aspects of SEO, he does have a series of content related to blog promotion, list building, and organic traffic generation that will be helpful for any startup marketing team looking to gain traction in the search engines.

Robbie also wrote a 20,000+ word growth study that takes a deep dive into the specific strategies 77 different startups used to land their first customers and grow into household names. Definitely worth a read!

Recommended reading:

Best HR & Management Blogs and Startups:

Building a rocketship and shooting it to the moon is all very sexy, but what happens when something goes wrong internally? Founders are often good at selling and marketing the product they developed, but whether they’re properly equipped to manage people and interpersonal relations is another question.

A founder with management skills helps a startup stay aligned with its goals by delegating work and communicating the value of that work to the team. Human resource knowledge will help a founding team build the kind of healthy, open culture the best startups are famous for.

In this list, we’ve put together the startup blogs you need to read to skill up in management and HR.

Buffer’s Open Blog

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Buffer is a radical startup. In its journey towards maximum transparency, it has published employee salaries and admissions of product mistakes. Its Open blog is a one-of-a-kind, where all the juicy details (and top HR content) lives. It documents the startup’s series of experiments with transparency, organizational structure, and team culture.

What happens when you turn Slack off for a day? What happens when there are no managers in the team hierarchy? Whether an experiment succeeded or failed, Buffer’s Open blog offers clear and honest information that’ll help you make better management decisions.

Recommended reading:

Bamboo HR

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As a highly-rated human resources product for small businesses, Bamboo HR publishes great HR content that appeals to startup-level organization and has insight from the business challenges of their large user base.

Startups can use Bamboo HR’s blog to learn how to hire their first HR team member, and foster a healthy culture.

Recommended reading:

Workology

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As well as building disruptive products, startups can’t ignore the importance of managing the human side of things. Workology is a respected industry publication on on "the art and science of work", which includes everything from recruiting new talent to ensuring employee inclusion and training.

Recommended reading:

Harvard Business Review

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If you want unfiltered statistics and latest industry studies, you've got to get HBR on your RSS reader. HBR features the latest business commentary but also classic essays like Who’s Got The Monkey?.

Recommended reading:

TalentCulture

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The clue is in the name -- TalentCulture covers talent recruitment, company culture, and everything in between. Articles seek to help businesses become more social, collaborative, and innovative, even as they scale.

Recommended reading:

Fistful of Talent

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Fistful of Talent was created from a very simple brief: “Like the HR Capitalist, but without all the boring HR stuff like legal issues and employee relations tactics – just the sexy stuff.”

It’s funny, irreverent, and super useful for anyone looking to expand their knowledge on HR, management, and recruiting. If some of the HR chatter out there is a little too dry and indirect, this blog is for you.

Recommended reading:

TINYpulse

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TINYpulse is one of the most recognizable names in the HR software industry. Not just because of its great product, but also because of its informative blog. TINYpulse publishes unique insights into employee engagement and workplace motivation.

Recommended reading:

People HR

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People HR is an software startup founded by HR experts with a blog full of quality content. It covers many sub-areas of human resources, from software to diversity, with the authority of subject matter experts and guest authors like Suzanne Lucas (The Evil HR Lady).

Recommended reading:

Lighthouse

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Startup founder ≠ Manager. The classic imbalance that inspired books like The E-Myth. Lighthouse run a great blog on the art and science of management, so it’s a solid place to start. The blog has hundreds of articles featuring insights on how Google evaluates team performance, tips on employee motivation, and resources to improve your meeting productivity.

Recommended reading:

Best Customer Success Blogs for Startups:

There’s a clear flow to how startups make money. It starts with marketing -- let’s say you reach 1,000 leads, and that produces one sale. Now, do you want to nurture that one sale to ensure the customer succeeds, or do you want to go hunting for another 1,000 leads in the hope that you’ll make a sale that sticks this time?

The answer is obvious, and so is the data: increasing your customer retention rate by 5% can boost profit by 25% to 95%, reports Hhttps://hbr.org/2014/10/the-value-of-keeping-the-right-customersBR. One of the best ways to improve retention is to have a dedicated team or one team member in charge of customer success.

Sixteen Ventures

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The Sixteen Ventures blog is written by Lincoln Murphy, a renowned customer success expert and SaaS consultant with a no-nonsense approach to managing churn and company growth.

Recommended reading:

Help Scout

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In the early days, startups often have their CEO and founding team members running support. But, as companies grow this becomes infeasible and scaling a support team becomes imperative.

The Help Scout blog is all about improving customer loyalty and success. And as far as these topics go, it’s got some of the best writing on the internet from writers like Gregory Ciotti.

Recommended reading:

Chargebee

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Chargebee's product is designed to help SaaS companies recover revenue and reduce churn. The Chargebee blog aims to help customer success managers do their jobs better by producing actionable content on SaaS revenue and user retention.

Recommended reading:

Gainsight

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The customer success landscape is changing as software gets more adept at capturing and interpreting user data. Stay up to date with Gainsight’s industry updates, case studies, and best practices.

Recommended reading:

Client Success

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Client Success was founded by Dave Blake, who has been a customer success professional for over a decade. Its blog (updated bi-weekly) is all about customer success leadership, culture, strategy, and features trend reports, case studies and ebooks on each topic.

Recommended reading:

SaaStr

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Jason Lemkin has been described as the world's biggest advocate for customer success. He boldly advises startups to hire their first customer success manager as rapidly as possible, and is one of the most authoritative minds in the field.

SaaStr covers customer success best practices, and everything else a SaaS business might need to know about stable growth.

Recommended reading:

For Entrepreneurs

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For Entrepreneurs is the blog of David Skok, a Boston-based SaaS venture capitalist and HubSpot board member. David is the founder of Matrix Partners, and brings insight from the perspective of both an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist.

Recommended reading:

Amity

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Amity’s video content regularly features industry experts from the likes of Help Scout, Wootric, and Monday.com, all aiming to help startups overcome common customer success challenges like scaling teams, onboarding new users, and staying productive.

Recommended reading:

Kapta

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The Kapta blog offers account management and customer success guides that demystify the responsibilities of key account managers and make tasks like upselling and saving at-risk clients easier to handle.

Recommended reading:

ProfitWell

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ProfitWell (formerly PriceIntelligently) was founded by SaaS expert Patrick Campbell. It covers pricing, revenue, and user growth with some of the best content and most cutting opinion in the industry. Ok - you got me. That’s not exactly customer success. But, it does examine many of the same metrics and understanding how customer lifecycle engineering works under the hood will give you an edge.

Recommended reading:

 

Ready. Set. Read.

There you have it - 53 of the best startup blogs encompassing everything from venture funding and sales all the way through to HR and customer success. 

Are there any blogs that we missed? Let us know!

 

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