How to Turn Your Knowledge into an Online Course — that doesn't suck

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In this video, you'll learn:

Why online courses are the best business model for new entrepreneurs — just getting started!

  • Learn how online courses allow you to teach your course material once, and then get paid over, and over, and over again — automatically.
  • Learn the 2 Major Obstacles that hold new online course creators back from actually crafting GOOD info-products that people WANT to buy.
  • Learn how to use the Big 3 Course Structure to help overcome The Information Overload Problem.
  • Learn how to Finish & Ship Your Course by keeping things simple.

"Shane’s is a calm voice of reason in the overhyped, jargon-heavy world of online business. His advice is always based on sound evidence and experience.

Thank you for a really well-crafted course."

Victoria Hopkins

Business Owner

Ready to Build a Highly Profitable Online Course Business?

Then get Course Craft todaythe complete system for turning your knowledge into high-value online courses!

Ready to learn more?

Check out the next videos in this series to learn how to build an online course business...

Video 2 - Coming SOON!

Video 3 - Coming Soon!

Got Questions?

Is there a course you want to create? If so, what's the topic? What are you struggling with most to turn it into a reality?

Leave a comment below to let us know!

  • James Larkin says:

    Thank you Shane. I’m not a tech geek and I have limited time. Can I use your Video course materials without spending lots and lots of time keeping up with the technology of Thrive Themes. Thank you.

  • cham says:

    The timing is just perfect because I’m currently creating a course. As always, great info. I’m now thinking of dividing my course into different ones rather than putting all so much information into a single course.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Yes! That’s probably a much better approach. Smaller, more targeted products are easier to make and easier to sell. Plus, when you make your second one, you can sell it to everyone who bought the first one and loved it.

  • Whently says:

    So far , Excellent.
    Execute, how do I build and Execute ? Show me that and I’m in?

  • Sebastian S says:

    Thank you very much for this awesome content. I have some different online course ideas. Each online course idea solves a specific problem in different niches. But how do i make the best decision on which idea to start with? How do I set the price and which pricing model is the best?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Great questions!
      Try to evaluate the income potential for each of your ideas. How large is the market? How many people are already buying the kind of thing you want to create and how much do they pay for it?
      When starting out, it’s good to go for something that has a highly active market. Something where you can make a good chunk of income, even if you only get a small percentage of the market share.
      The truth is, some courses are just not worth creating. You can pour loads of time and effort into some exotic niche course that only a handful of people will ever buy, no matter how hard you try.
      Video nr.3 in this series will answer your questions about pricing. 🙂

      • Sebastian S says:

        Hey Shane, thank you very much for your fast reply. Actually there are two big ideas. Both ideas come from experiences i have gathered over the last years.

        1.) How to get a Sixpack – The Step by Step Guide! A few years ago, i worked as a fitness model and during this time, i had the chance to work all over the world with nice people and some of the big players in the fitness market. I have a concept that works 100%. Big Market. But i am not sure… What kind of target group is interested in it and loves to spend (much) money?

        2.) How to get more (Gym)-Clients without selling yourself short! After my work as a fitness model, i bought a functional gym with a partner. We have developed special bootcamps and concepts that have not only created great value for customers, but have also ensured that we have been highly profitable in our advertising spend and that the deals for our long-term memberships have increased significantly. I think it could be a nice course to show other gyms and more over personal trainer oder coaches, how to get more clients with concepts which really works. But i am not sure. Do the target group have enough money? Corona is a big point for many owner and coaches.

        I prefer to offer a online course with personal coaching. I think the commitment is much higher and the results are much better than just offer a online course.

        Looking forward to hearing from you. And i am really excited to see the other videos 🙂

  • Lesley P says:

    I enjoyed this video. I already have an online course business in the area of intuition development. A peeve I have is “McDonald’s Spirituality” where people want fast results for little time or commitment. Psychic development takes focus and commitment, and there isn’t a quick fix. All my courses are 8-12 weeks to encourage regular meditation practice and to build up skills, information, and direct experience (we learn by experiencing not via a knowledge download, & while my courses are comprehensive, I don’t believe they have TMI). So the A to B my students want is to develop their intuition. I have students, many courses, and pride myself on giving them excellent training. I would like more students, and can see how a course like you are prescribing might be a lower hurdle. Then the passionate, dedicated ones can go on to further studies (and the quick fixers will just take a bite and that might be it). I don’t know if I have a question, more a comment on the gap between what they want and what they need. They may want a quick fix and believe this is possible but this is not what they need to truly get the result they want. There’s a gap between the student’s perception and reality. So then it’s back to having a short course as a hook that gives them what they think they want, but in the process of giving it, teaches them what they actually need (I have an idea for a simple 3 module course, and I probably will try it and see what happens)…. comments/thoughts? (

  • Madeline says:

    This was very direct and helpful – especially the part about chasing all the shiny new things to make it perfect.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you, Madeline!
      Those shiny objects are all too alluring. I’m not immune to that either, so I also have to remind myself to keep focusing on what really matters.

  • Jackie says:

    Thank you Shane. I really want to create an online course and your video was just what I needed for motivation. Looking forward to the next video.

  • Hi Shane, Before Covid-19 I did 10 evenings meditations with a live audience. Because of corona I changed to video’s and I learned a lot using your approach and not falling into the trap of perfection. Thanks for that, my students valued it very much.
    Now my question. The video’s have a lenght between 30 and 60 minutes. Ok for my existing live audience, but for an unknown audience? What suggestion you have to turn that video’s into one or more courses. Btw, I have a very small emaillist of 54 adresses. That one has to grow also and how do I get thos two things together?
    Another question: I am on your list for your course crafting course. Does it ever come? I hope so, having a lot of confidence in your inspiring and outcome oriented approach.
    Walk in Grace,
    Hans van Zanten

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      I’m happy to hear that some of my content helped you with that! 🙂

      You’re right that long videos can be off-putting for people who don’t already trust that it will be worth your time. I suggest you think about how you can break down your teachings into categories or steps. Smaller steps create structure, which generally makes content easier to follow. And it also makes it easier to break it up into a series of shorter videos.
      You can apply the outcome oriented thinking here as well. Can you make a short video that explains one small aspect of a meditation? Can you give a viewer a short experience like “do this 5 minute meditation and feel calmer” or something like that?

      Course Craft will make a return soon, yes.

      • Hans van Zanten says:

        Reading your quick and serious reply (thanks for that), you brought me the idea to ask my live students how to break up the long video’s into practical parts and outcomes they like. Maybe I can make it easy for them with a survey.
        I love the new Apprentice. Time to rethink and redesign my existing courses.

  • till.deuschel says:

    Hi Shane,
    Thank you for the cool video and reminding us on the outcome and the need to earn our tools first. My idea was to run a 5 week Group coaching (weekly life calls, Q&A and life improvment sessions), with a loose outline of the modules and then build the content on the way. I got some feedback on what outcome to offer as I have a mini survey just after the lead magnet signup. But now I wonder if I should first draft a more concrete course?
    I ask as when it comes to selling the group coaching it is quite hard to sell it for me without knowing the exact outcomes I can offer them…
    On another note, from your experience: My main problem is time as I have a full time job and corporate workshops and thus I am happy to pay for ads, design, etc to save time. But at the same time I think you say I should we should first earn the tools? So in general what are you thoughts on outsourcing? Do it if you can, forget it and learn it yourself so you grow?
    Too long message now haha. Once again thank you for the video AND for the thrive suite (saved me from expensive “transformation” “funnel hacking” “life change” workshops :P).

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Hi Till,
      It’s great that you got your audience involved with a survey beforehand! Your do-it-as-you-go approach can definitely work, yes! It helps if you have teaching experience, so you won’t be overwhelmed with the “how” of putting together good material for your students. Basically, doing it off-the-cuff requires more experience than putting together a course where you can be more methodical in putting together the lessons.
      Regarding the selling of the course: here, being outcome oriented is super important. If you can advertise an outcome that people in your target audience really want, half the marketing work is done. If it’s an outcome they don’t really care for, then all the marketing in the world won’t save you.

      Outsourcing tends to be expensive and time consuming. I find it a lot easier to do things myself, generally. But investing some of your income into tools and resources needed makes sense. Just don’t go overboard. 🙂

      • till.deuschel says:

        Dear Shane,
        Thank you very much for you detailed. Appreciate your feedback and I will rethink the specific outcomes (in the end they will decide with their wallet :P).
        Looking forward to your next video. Best, Nicolas

  • Sam L. says:

    Really enjoyed your presentation and look forward to the next one. I have been teaching beginner guitar lessons for over 40 years. I established a website with free lessons. It’s been up about 5 years. I’m wanting to put together a online course for adults wanting to learn guitar that gets them playing chords and songs fast. Not a long drawn out course. What are your thoughts. I do have something in mind, but would like to hear your thoughts.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      I don’t know your niche, so I can’t give you useful feedback about your course idea specifically, I’m afraid. But the basic principle applies: if you can package up something that is very specific, with a clear outcome that people want, you have the foundation of a successful course.

      • Sam L says:

        My niche is teaching adults how to play the guitar fast without having to take lessons for months just to be able to play a song.

  • iulienel says:

    This was extremely logical and really well presented. Thank you!! I needed the encouragement to get going.

  • Steve says:

    Hey Shane, I always enjoy your video content. Regarding creating a course, while I’ve had success in making over the shoulder videos that explain how-to do a variety of topics when it comes to online business, I’ve always struggled with the topic of your next video, that is, how to validate a course before spending weeks creating it only to see it bomb.

    My biggest challenge has been creating a compelling course in the IM niche that can be both accessible and profitable.

    And the other thing that challenges me has been creating something with TOO much info in it. I created a WordPress Mastery course last year that ended up being cancelled and refunded because I sold it before I completed it. Because in the completion phase I found that I had made it so broad that I could have filled 4 entire courses with what I was trying to do with only one course.

    I look forward to the rest of the videos and for when you open Course Craft back up.


    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Yeah, what you describe is a common problem. It comes from a good place: you set out to make a HUGE course because you want to offer a lot. But in the end, it’s just not as valuable. I hope the approach I outlined here helps you make something more streamlined that you can finish sooner and that your customers will love.

      • Steve says:

        It actually has Shane. In fact, something came up this week that is PERFECT for this kind of approach. There is an outcome that people will WANT but they might not know exactly how to get it. Perfect case study for me to see if I can go simple and succeed. Thanks!

  • Joel W says:

    I use Thrive Apprentice courses for client onboarding. I have to explain the same thing over and over and it frees me from that. I also use a sales page that is basically just a talking head video accompanied by FAQ text with a checkout button. That leads the client to the video course where they book the appointment and know what to expect. I had taken course craft and thought about having a course for a long time but it wasn’t till the shut down that I decided to finally do it and had plenty of time. You are exactly right, people are not paying for the course, that is just the delivery method that packages up the good stuff that leads to the desired outcome. I finally understand that. It radically changed my business and conversions etc. Now I still work 1 on 1 with the client and I what I want is an outcome oriented course that doesn’t require massive amounts of my time after creating it. My goal this summer is one great course with minimalism, simplicity and quality that you mentioned in this video.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      That is a creative approach! I love it. You’re automating some of the rote tasks, so that the one on one time is more focused. Makes think about how I could try something similar…

      • Your Brother Mike says:

        Can you just use an iPhone to record a course?

      • Shane Melaugh says:

        Absolutely, yes. Phone cameras have gotten really good in recent years. It’s definitely good enough to make a high quality course.

  • interstate81 says:

    Do you have any opinions about mini workshops vs a master class? I’ve seen a lot of videos lately about shorter, low-cost workshops that sell well and lead to repeat business. I’m concerned about too much overlap between the types of courses.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      I’ve experience the issue of overlap between different offers, too. For example a productivity course and a productivity focused group coaching offer. The way I handle it is this: I let people know upfront if/where there is overlap to be expected. I will email existing customers and basically tell them “this is similar to product X, but in these ways it’s different” – so that no one feels like I’m trying to sell them the same thing twice.

      But for the most part, with multiple, clearly targeted products, there isn’t much overlap.

      • interstate81 says:

        Thanks Shane! Today was day 1 of the Challenge 44. I did a Facebook livestream and it was awful! I can’t wait to do another one tomorrow.
        I cordially invite you to check out my Thrive-built website,
        I knew nothing about web design before I started this.

  • Martine LeBlanc says:

    Thank you Shane! I have already a couple of online course that I launched with a previous marketing strategy from you. I’m looking foreword to built more. I use mostly videos. But I wonder if quizz could be interesting as well. How can we decide between text, videos, quizz or other ways?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      That’s a good question!
      The majority of my course content is videos, which explain a task for the student to do. I try to make my coruses action oriented, so it’s not about sitting through a long lecture, it’s more like “here’s how to do something, now go do it”.
      A quiz can be good to test someone’s knowledge, but it’s less suitable for getting them to take action, I think.

  • Nick says:

    I want to create courses that teach English, but I’m not sure how to do it in 3 modules and make it objective oriented.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      The questions I’d want to examine here are things like: why does the student want to learn English? In what context will they use the language? What’s the goal after the goal – i.e. once they achieve this level of proficiency in English, what do they do with it? Is spoken or written English more important?
      If someone is looking to get hired at an international corporation, their outcome (and their needs) look very different from someone who wants to, say, learn the native language of their spouse from abroad…

  • Sam says:

    This is fantastic news Shane and thanks for your time in taking ME / us through the subject. I’ve been dithering with the topic for the last four or five years since someone suggested I should create an online course. All of your justifications for why, like many others, I haven’t done it yet resonate. Bring it on. I’ve enjoyed ALL of your courses so know that it will motivate me to get on with it. It’s time I did.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Very happy to hear that this reached you, Sam! I hope this will make the difference that spurs you into action. I think you’ll also like the next video, which is related to the action taking.

  • Pablo says:

    Hi Shane,
    I never get tired of watching your videos.
    What I really need is:
    1. take this video of yours
    2. break it down scene by scene
    3. Show us the video software to use and edit it (where and how to merge the slides, add the text on the screen, etc.)
    I am one of your fans, I am thrilled with the courses I took, and you are a great teacher, so what I expect now is to learn how to record a video like yours. Simple, isn’t it?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you for the suggestion, Pablo!
      I’ll keep that in mind for future tutorials. 🙂

      • Guy says:

        This is exactly what I’m thinking too! How can I produce a video that is as compelling as Shane’s? Of course, I am not gonna invest in an expensive camera, my iPhone is just fine, and I have a $20 lapel microphone from Amazon, and I have Apple Keynote and iMovie to create edits and graphics as good as yours, but I’d love to see your thinking.

    • Alex says:

      Hi Pablo. Shane offers a course in Thrive University that shows you how to make a course step by step with all the behind the scenes tech information. It is a premium course and it wasn’t free but I took it and it is excellent and worth it IMO.

  • Eric Cooper says:

    Hi Shane, I am stoked! Thanks for saving me from making some serious mistakes. I stumbled over less than 30 days ago and your software has revolutionized my website! Now that I am designing my first online course, you come to the rescue with “How to do it!” Simply the best!! Looking forward to Video 2. Cheers Eric

  • Graeme says:

    Hi Shane!

    Thanks for another awesome video! Your videos are loaded with useful and actionable information.

    I am an A-level Chemistry tutor and want to build courses for my students to help them pass their exam.

    I am suffering from FOGIW (Fear Of Getting It Wrong) when it comes to purchasing a camera. It’s a big investment to make so I don’t want to buy the wrong one!

    I have subscribed to a Thrive Suite membership and am learning how to use Thrive Apprentice so I can easily build a course that looks good!

    Looking forward to your next video!


    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Thank you for your comment, Graeme!
      Simple recommendation: use your phone to record videos. Most phones have pretty good cameras these days. I’d be more concerned about good audio quality than about video. Maybe get a decent USB mic to plug into your computer (if you’ll be using a computer in your setup).

  • Omero Combi says:

    Painting and Decorating. 40 years experience. Can that be a profitable course

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Possibly. But you have to be a lot more specific. What’s the exact outcome? And who is it for?

      • omero.combi says:

        Hi Shane. It would be say….how to properly paint the interior of your property.
        1. Protection of areas to be painted
        2. Proper preparation of surfaces to be painted
        3. Which paints should I use.
        4. The actual paint application methodology
        5. Cleanup and setting everything back in place.

        It would obviously be for anyone who wants to paint their own house and wants to do it properly.

  • Euchai says:

    Very good content, but there are a few typos in your texts, eg. “People want to ACHIVE something”. You might want to replaced this with a new one in time to come. Otherwise, the points are very valid and definitely worth following.

  • Kit Laughlin says:

    Shane: masterful. People are happy to pay for *outcomes*. If that is kept in mind, the structure falls out of this. Great work, and I am looking forward to the follow-up videos.

  • Steve G says:

    Shane –

    This video inspired me as I’m thinking about a new course to add to the 7 I already offer.

    I’ve been thinking about going all in on the transformational aspect of my courses, something I’ve sort of partially done in the past.

    Your video has made me realize that I’ve been overthinking my approach to transformation for my audience of women in menopause.
    The 3 things they need to understand are:
    1. They’re not alone in the life-changing symptoms they’re experiencing and there IS hope that they can get their lives back and feel like themselves again.
    2. There are treatments that help with some menopause symptoms, some of the time, but the single most effective way to eliminate all menopause symptoms and protect yourself from long-term health risks is by getting all your hormones optimized.
    3. In order to optimize your hormones, you’re going to need a healthcare practitioner who knows what they’re doing. I can help you find one!

    It’s almost like you’ve already written my outline for me! All I need to do is fill in the details. Thanks!

    Looking forward to checking out Course Craft.

  • Tri says:

    Hi Shane, can we achieve something like this example for course design layout: The current design of thrive apprentice course/lesson page is sort of outdated. Can we have something like that example (using memberpress course)?

  • Beth Sutherland says:

    I’ve been using Thrive Themes for a while and just scraping the surface of the website integrations it offers. I’m an art teacher, so I want to create art lessons classes for kids and adults, then develop these into mini or bundled courses and longer summer or seasonal courses. I’m really excited about the editing capabilities in Thrive Apprentice as I’ve found using Thrive templates and custom content brilliant when developing my website. My background is in graphic design originally and it’s amazing having such intuitive visual control over the style and aesthetics of my website. This is going to be excellent to being together with teaching online.

  • David says:

    I’ve been using Thrive Themes for my website for over a year now and it’s fantastic. Shane is a brilliant online marketer and I really enjoy learning from him. I want to create courses based on my book and podcast Natural Health Matters centered on health in body, mind, and spirit. Just listening to Shane teach on courses is helping me get motivated.

  • Zane White says:

    The course I’ve started to create is a technical analysis course which shows students how to enter and exit trades on the stock/foreign exchange markets. I’ve certainly faced each of the challenges you’ve mentioned in this video. There are a good number of YouTubers with videos on this topic, so to differentiate myself, I intend to share insights I haven’t seen on YouTube.

    I appreciate this video, and now have a clearer idea on which Modules and Lessons to create. Looking forward to implementing and watching the next 2 vids in this series. Cheers, Shane.

  • Nishit Patel says:

    I am a yoga and meditation teacher and has been teaching live for more than 30 years so creating a course is not a dilemma, but the presentation and marketing is a challenge since I am not tech savvy. I might look into Thrive Themes and see what it offers me to make my life easy.

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Sounds like you have an excellent knowledge base to start building a course business. For the tech side, the way I see it it’s mostly about practice. The first videos you make are inevitably going to be flawed, but we have to make those imperfect pieces to learn and grow our skills.

  • Ulrich says:

    In the past few months, I have tried several times to apply for your paid course for creation online courses. I got no response. Could you fix that for me?

  • John D says:

    Hi Shane, I use thrive suite and have taken one of your courses before which was great. Perhaps you touch on this in the other videos, but does the course include a methodology to test potential interest/profitability of my course idea? Thanks

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Yes, that’s a really important factor. The next video in the series is all about that, actually. 🙂

  • Alan says:

    I will be watching closely because I literally do everything you mention above, I overthink, I feel like an imposter, I am a perfectionist, but most of all, I am bad at reaching customers. I will be creating short courses in the mental health field and I think you will be providing the “how to”. Thanks for putting these courses out there.

  • Andre S. says:

    Hi Shane,
    Thank you for your video – very helpful, as always ????

    How would you go about building a course if you have no audience yet?

    Would you blog about topics that you cover in your potential course to gage interest and build an audience (and make tweaks to the course along the way)? Or would you build an audience first (min size matters?!) and then based on their feedback/ interests focus on specific topics to craft a course? Or do something totally different?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      Back when I started out, I launched my first course when my audience was still tiny. One of the things this taught me is that it’s easier to build an audience when you have a good product to sell. Plus, I had an affiliate program and contacted as many potential affiliates as possible to promote for me. Most of them said no (or didn’t respond), but the few that did made a huge difference. Much of my early audience came from the first course I sold.
      You have to start somewhere of course, such as with content marketing. But don’t put off the course for too long. If you have 100+ people on a mailing list, it’s high time to sell a course, IMO.

      • Andrei S says:

        Thanks, Shane. Very interesting and helpful. I was surprised to hear that selling a course with such a tiny audience (100+) is doable but I also wasn’t sure what to expect. I appreciate you sharing your experience – very encouraging.

        I’d ask how you got your affiliates but I believe you cover marketing in one of the modules of Course Craft and from your other comments it’s going to re-open soon …

        P.S. Sorry about the extra question marks in the initial comment – I didn’t realize that it’s what you get instead of an emoji when you type comments on a phone browser. I guess that was my “bonus” lesson for today.

  • frankvoce says:

    Yes, Shane , I would love to create an online course about habit building or deleting, depending on the case. Any suggestion on the topic?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      I can imagine this could be a highly in demand course. People are always struggling with their habits, after all.
      I’d also consider here that making something more specific to an outcome will make the product easier to sell. E.g. “how to quit bad habits” is less attractive than “how to quit smoking” or “how to quit binge eating” or something similarly specific.

  • Kim D says:

    Your content is spot on, as always Shane (and I’m LOVING the new Apprentice).
    Random question: what did you use to create the launch map? Was that done in-house or with a tool. It looks fantastic, super clean, and easy to follow.

  • Mousam says:

    You’re really awesome. The insights you shared in these video series are very much important for the new course creators & they also face these same problems while they start to create their courses, but there’s nobody to help them & very few shares these insights that you shared in these series.

  • eric says:

    Hello Shane, I love this thanks!
    Can I ask you what you are using for your white background? Is is a green screen or just a white wall?
    Also, editing software are you using for the video?

    • Shane Melaugh says:

      It’s just a white wall. And the editing for this was done with Adobe Premiere and After Effects.

  • Antonia G says:

    I’ve been putting out profitable content to attract my client’s to my course ( not built but written). Even though I have researched my ideal client’s outcome, it keeps falling flat. What I learnt today is that it may be too complex. Yes, they need to know all this other ‘stuff’, but it may be too overwhelming for them. I think I might simplify it and concentrate on half the journey and build a second course for those that are interested in learning more. It will make the messaging simpler. Wish me luck.

  • Gord says:

    I greatly appreciate how succinct your videos are! I would appreciate your thoughts on doing a LIVE Cohort model class instead of pre-recorded content for the quick method you are sharing? I’m wanting to add the added elements of accountability, feedback and community to the learning experience. That said, I know that no matter how well prepared I am, the course will not be polished like a pre-recorded solution. Your thoughts on doing a LIVE Cohort?

  • Lawrence Payne says:

    Awesome, just what I needed! I’m in a very niche craft area and I have two courses out doing nothing because there’s too much in them and I shy away from promoting them because I really can’t remember what’s in them and I know it would take too long to update them. This will allow me to take the main parts, cut out all the fluff and, release them S separate courses that I know my clients will be able to use.

  • Matthew K says:

    I am building courses and online businesses in a membership format. Do you think this is a bad idea? They sign up for a core course, then I add “bonus” courses for further down-the-line ideas, advanced techniques or building on the basics.

  • Jakpa says:

    Does this training teaches how to find a course to create if you don’t have any idea

  • eric says:

    I am enjoying the course Shane thank you!! You methods are brilliant!

  • beryjen says:

    Is there a way to translate this course into Spanish? . is that I do not understand English well.

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