How a big company pivots like a lean start up w/ Sheila Loy

When you’re an established, comprehensive company bringing products to market in a vertical industry such as healthcare, there’s a certain amount of expectation that runs alongside your everyday processes. That is, of course, until a pandemic comes knocking on your door.

So what happens when an industry hemmed in by HIPAA guidelines and government regulations is given the proverbial green-light to act quickly? They pivot — and they pivot with lightning speed.

In this episode, Sheila Loy discusses how HID Global took a proven, tested product and reworked parts of the platform to meet the need for infectious disease tracking that’s necessary not only in today’s COVID-19 economy, but for future disease-specific crises as well. Sheila gives us insights into:

  • The importance of having a strong understanding of your market and how that can help uncover an unmet need
  • Staying on track with expectations in a fast moving pivot when your company has historically long go-to-market procedures
  • How to know when you have a product that is relevant in the current market — and when you need to add to, or scale back, that product to give clients the most useful end-product for their needs
  • Timing and relevance and how they represent half the battle when bringing a product to market
  • Why communication and internal education is key to a successful pivot — when everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to make the necessary adjustments and keep your company’s momentum moving forward

Guest Bio

Sheila Loy is the Director of Vertical Segmentation of Strategy at HID Global, a worldwide leader in providing trusted security solutions in the identity and access management space. Sheila manages the framework strategies and how HID goes to market as a comprehensive company in a vertical industry such as healthcare.

You can reach Sheila at You can also visit HID Global’s website to learn about their contact tracing and surge response solutions.


Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1: Hello. Welcome back, COIQ listeners on today's episode. I am speaking with Sheila Loy. She is the director of vertical segmentation of strategy. So welcome to the show Sheila.


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Speaker 2: Thank you. Thanks for having me. I enjoy being here.


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Speaker 1: Thank you. Um, so before we get started, just tell our audience a little bit about your background and what you're doing. Sure.


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Speaker 2: Uh, HIV global powers, the world's trusted identities of people, places and things. And that sounds a little bit like our tag line and it is, but, um, the bottom line is that is what we do. So we provide security solutions and the identity and access management space. Um, we've been around for 30 years, so we're a large, um, company. Um, there's some good and bad sometimes to a large company, a mature company, uh, but for the most part it's good. We have a lot of R and D and we've demonstrated recently some newfound agility. Um, we, we take to market all around the globe. We're in over 100 countries and, um, people probably most famously know us by your ID badge that you wear, that you tap next to reader that gets you in the door. Um, but we're much, much more than that in regards to identity and access management solutions. But I do personally at hid global is managed some of the framework strategies and how we go to market, um, as a, as a comprehensive company into a vertical industry. And the vertical industry we're focusing on in 2020 is healthcare.


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Speaker 1: Well, it's very timely.


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Speaker 2: Yeah. At the beginning of the year. But yeah, we've had a lot on our plates.


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Speaker 1: So one of the things that I was most looking forward to in our conversation today is the opportunity to talk about what it's like for a larger health care company to, um, you know, see an opportunity to innovate and then what that process was like for you and how that might have been different than what you would have done in the past prior to the new coven economy.


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Speaker 2: Right. Um, so we serve the healthcare industry, um, in in ways we similarly serve the financial industry, education industry, high tech manufacturing, et cetera. Um, because they're all concerned with the identity being the new security perimeter. Um, so when we work with our healthcare customers specifically, there are a whole lot of identities that you need to manage. Um, obviously your patients, obviously your staff that has access to secure areas, um, secure data, your contractors, your researchers and your visitors who come in to, you know, a premise. So the solution portfolio that we have in our everyday life, um, addresses tracking and monitoring and provisioning identities of people and things, um, in these kind of, not kind of in these pandemic times. Um, we saw a need, um, of tracking, uh, people who may have then in contact with an infectious disease and be able to provide some data-driven results and reporting to the end user hospital to then mitigate the plan, whether that was a healthcare worker or whether that was a patient. Um, and so we took and, um, put ourselves into a, um, a rapid cycle innovation mode and, uh, and


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unlike our normal product launches, this one took one week.


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Speaker 1: That's incredible. How did you guys do that?


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Speaker 2: Well, we didn't do it alone. We have the architecture and infrastructure of a real time location services, um, IOT services, um, platform and, um, understanding that that is actively tracking, um, people or things in real time and hospitals have invested in this for years and years, so that that itself is not new when you take and apply it to, um, what's what we're facing in the healthcare industry today. Um, we've partnered with, um, a company also in the industry, um, prompt that helped and they, um, they did the software application to specifically, um, monitor patients and healthcare workers in, um, like hot zones, if you will. So that, um, as one of the people in one of those areas, um, reports positive that they have an infectious disease, um, you can then notify them, notify the people within that contact area and put a mitigation plan in place.


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Speaker 1: Yeah. Which obviously is really mission critical, right? Because everything that we're hearing and we're learning is that this is really the first step to being able to mitigate, um, and, and kind of get to the, yeah. Right?


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Speaker 2: Um, and it, it's, um, it was an opportunity for us to take what we had partner with some really smart people and literally put it in a box. So we understand the nature of, um, crisis, right? Everyone is being taxed. Everyone is wearing two or three hats and, in some cases,, the place where we're actually serving the patient is in a tent, in the parking lot or on a ship or in a hotel. And so how can you take some of that hospital infrastructure and move it to that space? So the kit, um, was put together and it really makes the end user, uh, able to literally open the box and set this infrastructure up within an hour or two and to begin capturing that data that quickly and using that data to make better decisions. Um, so that's the, the context of, um, the basic kit itself.


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Um, just giving some comparison to a normal product lunch. Um, you know, in normal times we have a lot of people involved. We've got market data, we've got Gates that we go through that we've test, you know, all of this kind of thing and it takes a year, or it takes months. And um, and I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just saying that's the norm, right? Yeah, no, I think we kind of surprised ourselves with the ability to have a digital presence and educational presence, a partner presence and go to market strategy, all of these things. Um, internal education and communication and you know, most importantly a game plan, um, in a company with disparate business areas going to market on their own. I think one of the winning elements was a single point of contact with a subject matter expert who's driving the ship and a game plan across boundaries so that it was kind of an all hands on deck approach whereby, you know, maybe this wasn't her day job to support this business area. But right now in these times, this is what we needed to do. And this is what we need to do for our common and customer and the dealers that we work with. Our partners came up to the challenge, Rose to the challenge. So did the people within the organization. It was really quite a wonderful thing is it is,


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Speaker 1: it is. Absolutely. So I want to kind of go back a little bit to the beginning of this, which again, like you said is probably just like a week and a half ago. Um, we are on the cusp of this. Um, so who, who was it that decided that we need to come up with something? Was it a customer? Was it a partner? Was it someone within the organization? Was it the innovation product development team? Um, or maybe it was just a collective group, but who was it that said, you know, we could possibly pivot and create something that doesn't veer too far from who we are and be able to address a new problem that this world is facing right now.


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Speaker 2: Right. Um, I'm going to give credit to a gentleman, um, who runs the sales organization for our IOT services group. Um, he really is a subject matter expert. Um, he knows our extension of partners. He knows the product and he knows our end user customer base very well as well as the industry. And when you can take that, you know, when you've been in the industry for 20 some years and you, you have all of that data, you can then pull in, Hey, what do you think about, what do you think about? And that includes our own marketing team, our management team as well as partnerships that we, that we have been leveraging and um, said, you know, what time is of the essence, which is not how we usually operate. Can we challenge ourselves to do this? So I will, I don't, I'm still being, it's a lot of conversations to your point, Dr. Roxy, but I'll give credit to the head of our sales for RTLS. Um, and I'm the one who's been running our healthcare division over there.


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Speaker 1: So, you know, it's interesting. Um, I'm not really surprised, um, B because like just for the very reason that you just described is that they are so close to the customer that they are going to have, they're almost like the first line of defense, right? They see, they're having the conversations with the customers to hear how priorities have changed and needs have evolved. And so it's great for them to be able to report those, those findings, right? Even if it's not an official capacity back up and say, Hey, I think this is an spoken like a true sales leader, right? I think this is a business opportunity.


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Speaker 2: Put a, you know, opportunity in the back seat, which I also think it's important. Um, we want to be a trusted advisor. Um, we don't want to sell you stuff to solve your problem and, um, if we can understand the lay of the land and we can therefore rise to the challenge of addressing it in a really, um, simple way because your mind is busy thinking of other things, right? Um, then it was a win win.


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Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So let's talk about this ripe rapid cycle innovation process. Um, you know, what are a couple of things, and you touched on this a little bit, but what are a couple of things that you did differently here than maybe you've done in the past?


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Speaker 2: I think we maybe were, um, a little more lenient on Gates submission, complete review as that type of a thing, just because of the speed at which we needed to get it to the market. I really, um, harken it to the federal government and, you know, HIPAA privacy laws are our utmost important licensure in the state in which you practice is of utmost importance to the medical industry in general. This is not an in general situation and let's leave EA the, um, the licensure and, and now we have the ability, um, to, you know, Fargo in Morehead, you know, right across the river from each other. So now nurses, you know, are physicians can go back and forth and help each other out. Right? So I think just taking a cue from that, we, we lightened up


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some of those Gates, some of those decisions. And, um, I don't think I would ever say it's good enough because it's actually a package that's more than it's even being promoted as, um, we took, um, the partner tip of a product and didn't strip it down just to make it, this instead gave a couple extra features to the end user customers for free for a time period during that, this pandemic. So that's pretty cool. They, we probably alleviated some of the stress we put on ourselves with, um, the process and the time of the process. I think the other thing we did was we, we internally educated and communicated with each other and recognize the need for all eyes to be on this project for a week. Um, and we just put everything else, uh, you know, on the shelf for a little bit of time. We built digital assets to support because you have to be able to explain and educate, right? Um, your end user audience, your healthcare providers and your dealers who might be, uh, supporting them. So we built a website, landing page, all the collateral, a brochure, um, press releases for information. And then we educated our internal teams to all of this process and collateral and we decided on a go to market strategy which heavily leveraged our dealer community and our software partner.


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Speaker 1: Okay. So I think that, um, that it's, it's really remarkable, um, on the things that you were doing. And I, I think that, um, so I want to ask you this question. Do you think that you could apply some of these practices, let's say like next year when we're not in a global pandemic, you think that this will change your inhibition?


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Speaker 2: Why this with another solution as we speak? Because, um, I think timing and relevance


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to the market is really half of your battle of being successful. And, um, when you have the customer centricity model for your product development and your go to market strategies, when their problems become things you can address in a quick and relevant way, B, because of the times. Uh, and I'll give you another example. We've got all of these temporary nurses and doctors; we've got people sharing and working at different sites. All of these people are being issued credentials to, um, have identities vetted to be able to move around a secure facility. And that's become kind of messy. So those are some of our core issuance solutions. And how can we get those types of solutions to market and help others solve problems, um, in a, in a very thoughtful way. So I think it's important to take lessons learned, whether you're right now this week too, or whether it's next year and saying how successful did, were we, what were the decision points and how can we apply that to some of the other, um, other products in our portfolio?


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Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. And I think what you said is really important that this is, this is not a normal time for any of us. Right? And so the governments recognize that and they have loosened some of the regulatory and legislative, uh, legislator compliant compliance issues that are barriers and obstacles that we might face on any given day. And as you mentioned, you know, a lot of that is put in place to protect the, the welfare of human beings, right? So it's not that that's a bad thing, but it's been a, um, overall, um, a lot of that stuff has been, well, like we said, obstacles and barriers to innovation and adoption of innovation. A lot of the ideas that people have, unlike other industries that don't face some of that, you know, bureaucracy. And so it's really interesting to see how the industry is stepping up and performing in surpassing their performance, um, in many ways than what we've done previously because we don't have some of those barriers.


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Speaker 2: I, yeah, I agree. And I just, you know, I, I dunno if it's patriotic or if it's sentimental, but I love, um, when people come together and they're all, you know, all the intentions are good and they're helpful and, um, we wanna we want partner in that to the best of our ability.


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Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yup. Um, and you know, maybe that's the key ingredient to, for successful rapid cycle innovation is common purpose and the urgency behind that. So there's two other things that you kind of touched on that I think is interesting for us to talk about. So one is timing. So, um, very often I'm working with clients and we're talking about their timing strategy and they should, who should they be first to market, should they be, you know, a fast follower, late entrant and you know, the conversation now is very different. Right? So it obviously depends on what kind of business you're in, but for someone like yourself, like the timing is now. Right. That absolutely. I think you what, um,


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Speaker 2: I think there are two answers to that question. If I had, if I had been developing a product over the course of the last year or two and it might be relevant now, but I haven't sold it yet. Yeah, I don't know that this would be the platform I would want to test it. But this, the products that we have, um, are tried and true and purchased over and over and used successfully over and over. Um, we kind of downsize them to a M a bite sized piece that can be understood and deployed and supported simply and, um, created, you know, something very cost effective, um, in this time for people to really get their ROI in the matter of days and, and, and partner there. So I think because the solutions were mature in themselves, um, we, we felt very comfortable bringing them to market in a little different way. Um, I'm not so sure if we've got, you know, if we would have Ben as quick to move if this was something that was, you know, under the curtain,


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Speaker 1: right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, and, and that's a really valid point for sure. Um, so, you know, when I think about what you're describing on the product, you know, there's a lot of like classic or famous examples around pivots, right? Almost every tech company that you can think of is, is really the result of a pivot like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, all of those. Um, at one point we're faced with some type of do or die moment and they decided to, Oh, let's do plan B or let's do plan G and the plan G ended up being like the Eureka. That's the right strategy. Right. Um, and so it's interesting to hear you say that where, you know, most of us, um, you know, feel like, Oh, if we just put these added features and functionality, it's going to be more impressive. It's going to be more valuable and more impactful before we go to market with it. And it sounds like what you guys did is, what a lot of tech companies do is strip that down to something that's a little, a little bit more manageable in bite size and maybe more affordable and then there you go. A whole nother solution,


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Speaker 2: right? Yeah, exactly. Um, I think that was the thinking behind, um, the, the um, contact tracing and surge response kit. It's a rapid deployment. Um, that's doesn't mean it's, um, you know, brand new and untested. It's just been re rethought through, um, rekit it in a, in a new fresh way.


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Speaker 1: Yup. Yup. Absolutely. So let's talk about marketing strategy and how you might have pivoted that. So, um, you know, the strategies


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Speaker 2: that we had in place previously aren't necessarily, they could be, but they aren't necessarily the exact market strategies that are going to be successful in this new economy. So help us understand what are some of the decisions or changes that are considerations you might have had around your brand positioning, your messaging or how you were getting in front of folks and creating an awareness and demand. I think in, um, you know, some of the things we're not willing to compromise your sacrifice. So all the right executives within our marketing team had eyes on the collateral. Um, we did want to make sure our brand was represented in the way we know it should be in the, in the wording. We wanted to make sure that this is a, a response kit to infectious diseases, not just the ones we're dealing with today, but really any type of infection spread.


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And I think we, we moved it through on a fast track, but I don't think it means we missed checking the boxes. Um, you know, our brand is important, our customers are important, and our ability to be a trusted advisor, um, to digital identities and digital access and physical spaces and physical access. You know, we kind of span that, that spectrum. And so we have a lot of touch points and decision makers within each healthcare organization that we market to generally. It's, um, it's not unlike any other large organization. We, you know, create a campaign. We create collateral. We, you know, we soft message you on LinkedIn and we, you know, try and get some thought leadership. I'm telling all of them are secrets, right? But, um, but that, that's, that's proven and, and we follow the same things. Um, so although we were very serious about what an end user or what a channel partner Mike might be reading and understanding and making sure it made sense and that it did meet our grant requirements, I think the difference this time was we really just took it straight to the streets.


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We reached out to our customers who are our partners in crime, and they trust us when we say, Hey, I think this might solve a problem and they'll take the time to review it. So, we went directly to our end user customer partners, um, and we went right to our trusted dealer channel partners who also serve hundreds and thousands of healthcare organizations across the globe by the way. So, um, to make sure that we just took it just took a direct and we got 100 of the dealers that we, we reached out to on Friday. Um, we had, uh, hosted webinars on Monday, 100% of the dealers we reached out to on Friday afternoon, participated in Monday and said, this is exactly what our end users are looking for. Thank you for allowing us to play in the game of being helpful.


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Speaker 1: Yeah. It allowed their customers to be a hero


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Speaker 2: and, and, and truly to solve a problem. And so, um, it was that, um, that part was kinda cool. So I would, I would say we, we just kind of went direct to the streets and, um, because of the nature of a pandemic and it's a, you got to move fast and um, and be agile and um, uh, we've already sold some of the products, so I think it must have worked.


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Speaker 1: I think that's huge. Um, you know, not, not everyone goes from, um, you know, zero to 60 and eight days and then nails it right out of the gate to be able to, to ha, I mean right now inboxes are just completely cluttered, right. With email. Right. So being able to promote a webinar campaign to anyone via email is, is, is a feat in itself. And then to be able to get a hundred percent participation, um, you know, to me it speaks to the relevancy and the, the, the product market fit. Right. And so, you know, to be able to get product market fit right out of the gate within a two-week period of completing the product and then having product market fit is pretty incredible.


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Speaker 2: Yup. Um, I'm very proud of, of HIV. You know, I've worked here for 15 years, so it's a company I, I love, I love the people. I love everyone's good intentions. And, um, it sounds very motherly and matronly. I know, but I'm just very proud of our ability to pivot as you promote Dr. Roxy and really prove to ourselves and to our partners at a variety of levels, um, that we, we understand we have something that will help you and we're going to make it as easy as we can for you to get your hands on it and to begin helping your staff and your patients. Um, so pretty cool.


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Speaker 1: Well, you know, I think that in the, in today's world that we're living in, that there's a lot of, um, there's a lot of tragedy. There's a lot of, uh, doom and gloom that's being propagated, right? And it's not just propagate propagation. It's, um, you know, it's a lot of the reality that we're facing right now. And I think that for the everyday person, like that's, to me, the silver lining in all of this is to know that we still can shape the future of healthcare. We still have a purpose, um, that gives us, at least I would imagine that gives your employees, um, hope and, um, you know, for, for a better place. And then this sense of purpose because you're know that you're making a difference in a way that has real impact. And to me it's like that hope, that purpose, that kind of of really, you know, changing the face of health care is, is really powerful. And it's like that's what needs to spread faster than the pandemic


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Speaker 2: empowering, um, on, on any side of that conversation. And um, you know, happy to have participated my little tiny bit in the hole.


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Speaker 1: Yeah. Yeah. So, so Sheila, as we wrap up here, there's a lot of people in the audience. So, you know, we have small organizations that are like startups that are, you know, we're just getting started and completely rocked by what's happening. And then we've got some larger organizations like yourself who have been at this for a while. And I think the common thread is everyone is, I, I haven't come across anyone who's not looking at the pivot strategy, right? Whether it's, whereas it's the entire business model, whether it's a product or whether it's like our marketing and sales, something has changed because this, you know, covert economy's just very different. Um, what, what are some other things that you would want to leave our audience, our listeners with as we wrap up today?


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Speaker 2: Oh, I don't know that it's anything earth shattering. Um, but whether you're a smaller organization or whether you're a large organization, um, as you address the needs of an end customer, if you keep that end customer in the center of your decision making and if you are focusing on any vertical industry and trying to solve some challenges or partner with people within a specific industry, um, and you communicate and so that everybody is understanding of the common goal and everyone is um, you know, regular cadence, you know, pulse meeting updates so that everyone remains on the same page when people remain on the same page. Um, and they're in support of each other's efforts. Um, whether it's your day job or whether it's maybe the job that you know, your, your need to just do the next couple of weeks here. Um, and you do it with a smile on your face. I think that's, uh, the biggest positive that'll keep your company rolling forward.


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Speaker 1: That's awesome. Thank you so much. Uh, so folks get ahold of you if they want to buy your services by your kid or if they want to just get ahold of you and ask you some questions.


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Speaker 2: Sure. Um, you can, um, reach me at That's my email address and I'm trying to deceit here. If I have a, it's um, HIV, um, is where you will reach the website. I don't know if I have any other particular landing page data. I can get you that and we can maybe post that.


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Speaker 1: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being a guest today.


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Speaker 2: Thank you. I appreciate it very much. Enjoy the rest of your day.


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