“Sell” Dinner

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(1). That hot night out with a prospect intended to close the deal.

 

“Hey, Tom.  Got my “sell” dinner tonight with that big hedge fund guy and I want to show him a good time.  You still got that friend over at Jiggles?  I really want this guy to leave with a smile on his face!”

 

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(1).  How douchebags end all of their emails.

 

“Hey Tim, I know it’s almost 5, but do you think you could pop by?  I need you to get something out the door before you leave.  Thanks

 

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360 Review

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(1).  An unnecessarily long and painful process requiring co-workers to “anonymously” highlight each other’s shortcomings to management.  While many people graciously decline to say anything too damaging, some use the review as an opportunity to settle personal scores or to climb the corporate ladder in the traditional way (i.e. by crushing their co-workers).

 

“Okay, team.  It’s time for 360 reviews again.  You need to ask at least 10 people and, remember, I don’t really read these things, so feel free to say anything you like.”

 

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Action Item

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(1).  A task yet to be completed.  The term is usually used to suggest the task’s completion is a high priority (see sense of urgency), when in actuality, it can likely be completed at any time.

 

“Alright everybody, we’ve got a lot of action items to move on for this client before our next meeting.”

 

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Administrative Professionals’ Day

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(1).  The annual festival where the streets are paved with Starbucks gift cards.

 

“Hey, Paul … how much are you putting in for the Administrative Professionals’ Day gift?  …  it’s Secretaries’ Day … so, twenty bucks, right?”

 

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Adult in the Room

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(1).  A way for compliance, operations and/or legal department employees to put a positive spin on their role in losing a piece of business.

 

“Well, someone had to be the adult in the room here!  I mean, just because they have millions of dollars in potential business doesn’t justify giving them more than one toaster for opening their account with us!”

 

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Agent of Change

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(1).  Someone your company hires to “modernize” its business practices and operations.  This person is generally loved by management and universally loathed by staff.

 

“Well, congratulations on your new role, Donna.  I hear you’re going to be an agent of change over there, with all of the new procedures you’re implementing.  I wouldn’t expect too many fruit baskets at Christmas this year, though.”

 

Props to D. M. for the submission.

 

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Aha! Moment

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(1).  The instant at which your boss realizes the wisdom of what you’re telling him, followed shortly thereafter by the instant when he decides to take credit for it himself.

 

“I think Dan had a bit of an Aha! moment during our call today after Tom pointed out that promoting your secretary to vice president in exchange for sex is generally frowned upon by our regulators.”

 

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Air Cover

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(1).  A military-inspired term describing techniques for ensuring the consequences of one’s actions fall on one’s boss or other senior manager (see CYA).

 

“The Greenberg account is about to fall through.  Let’s make sure to mention Scott’s part in this to provide some air cover for our department.”

 

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All Americans

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(1).  The narrow slice of Americans a candidate is hoping to win over with a proposal.

 

“I care for all Americans!  And that’s why, if elected, I will guarantee income tax subsidies for producers of corn-based bicycle seat cushions right here in my home state of Illinois!”

 

Props to Terry D. for the submission.

 

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Allergy

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(1).  Something a company seems to develop when faced with the possibility of trying something new or spending money on something that will benefit its employees.

 

“Management seems to have an allergy to upgrading to Windows ME.  Don’t you think it’s about time…?”

 

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Analysis Paralysis

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(1).  An alliterative term describing the cessation of progress on a project due to over-thinking and endless discussion.

 

“Boy, this is the seventh conference call we’ve had this week on this!  Have you ever seen more analysis paralysis in your life?!”

 

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Appetite

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(1).  The inclination of management to support a certain project, usually involving the allocation of firm resources (a.k.a. money).

 

“Look, guys.  There just isn’t an appetite right now for a new company car.  I’m sorry, Shaggy, but you’ll just have to make do with the current Mystery Machine for now.”

 

Props to Paul A. for the submission.

 

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Ask

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(1).  A request to management for the funding of a project (usually some kind of technology enhancement), which is somehow always just not able to be squeezed into the budget this year.

 

“Sure, $5,000 for new printers is a huge ask, but we’re running out of dot matrix paper and eBay’s tapped out!”

 

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Auditors

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(1).  The people who go out on the battlefield after the war is lost, and bayonet the wounded.

 

“Okay, team…it sounds like we’ve got the auditors coming in August 1st.  Just remember, their job is to find the tiniest, most insignificant thing wrong with the way you do your jobs and then treat it like it put the whole company at risk.  Enjoy the rest of your summer!”

 

Props to Alison A. for the submission.

 

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Back Story

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(1).  A stupid word used in place of “history”.

 

“Hey Mike, why don’t you give him the back story on the Collins deal?”

 

Props to Lisa for the submission.

 

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Bag of Goods

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(1).  A series of empty promises made to a prospective client, designed to entice them to hire your firm.

 

“I hear what you’re saying, Al, but we can’t just sell these people a bag of goods and then have them find out we can deliver on about 2% of what we promised!  What are we, iPhones?!”

 

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Bailywick

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(1).  A specialty or area of expertise.  The term is often used to avoid answering a question you don’t know the answer to.

 

“Well, international taxation of fishing leases isn’t exactly my bailywick, but I have a few partners who’ll be able to help you.  I took the liberty of inviting all of them to this meeting.”

 

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Bake Sale

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(1).  The day when that obnoxious prospect schedules presentations from several firms for their business.  The main purpose of the bake sale is to reinforce the prospect’s own sense of self-worth (oh, and also to waste all of your time since he already hired his brother-in-law’s firm to do the work).

 

“Well, I think there’s, like, two other firms pitching for this business today.  The good news is I got us the last time slot, so I feel pretty good about our chances.  You always want to be the last thing they eat at the bake sale, ’cause that’s the only thing they’re going to remember!”

 

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Balls in the Air

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(1).  An expression used to imply that you have a lot of things you are working on right now (see juggling), often to indicate to someone that you are going to refuse whatever assignment you are about to be given.

 

“Sorry Ross, I don’t think I have time to help out on that, I have a lot of balls in the air right now….and no, that’s not what she said.”

 

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Band Aid

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(1). A term used by developers to describe a quick and temporary fix for a problem on a website.  While the plan is to only have this quick fix up for a few days until the problem can be permanently corrected, it usually remains in place for years and well beyond the tenure of the developer who originally installed it.

 

“Hey Scott, what can we do about those images not rendering correctly on the site?”

“I’ll have to look into it but I can put a band aid on it for now so that the site functions correctly.”

FAST FORWARD 6 YEARS

“Yea I don’t know this guy Scott who worked here a few years back said he was working on it…images still don’t render correctly.”

 

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Bandwidth

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(1).  Yet another way to tell someone you aren’t going to do any more work than you absolutely have to.

 

“Sorry, Ned…I just don’t have the bandwidth right now to take on any more accounts.  Hey, I’ve got an idea, why don’t you start working a 40-hour week?  That might do it!”

 

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Bankers’ Hours

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(1).  A 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. workday, usually used by those who work much longer hours (see lawyers’ hours) in an attempt to look better to their bosses or co-workers than those who don’t.

 

“Whoa, heading home already, Steve?  Guess we’re working bankers’ hours now.  I was just about to throw another pot of coffee on.  Hey boss, you want a cup?  I asked Steve but he’s leaving for the night.”

 

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Barrier Of Entry

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(1).  Oh, let’s see … the fact that your fees are too high, your hot assistant called in sick today, the prospect doesn’t seem to like your tie, and you suspect that he may be sleeping with that b* from Merrill Lynch he keeps talking about.

 

“I don’t know about this one, Harry.  There are just too many barriers of entry here.  I mean, the guy actually told me he didn’t like talking to you!”

 

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BCP

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(1).  An acronym for “Business Continuity Plan”, or, a company’s plan to keep working after a hurricane or terrorist attack that looks really good on paper but will never work in a million years BECAUSE EVERYONE WILL BE RUNNING AWAY.

 

“Hey, team…just wanted to remind everyone of the BCP test we are running this week.  Basically, we just want all of you to work from home…yep…that’s the plan…”

 

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Beauty Contest

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(1).  A preliminary set of sales meetings where the prospect forces all of the different firms to perform their dog-and-pony show one after another, all in the same day.

 

“Yeah, so we’ve got a meeting with a prospect today at 1.  I think it’s just a beauty contest at this point.  Pretty sure there are at least three other firms in the running.”

 

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Bells and Whistles

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(1).  Extra, usually unnecessary, features or services that are used to entice a prospect to buy your product or hire your firm.

 

“So, this is the Superior, our deluxe model.  It’s got all the bells and whistles you could want…MP3 player, remote control, bluetooth…it’s pretty awesome.  Oh, the flush handle’s right over here…”

 

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Bench Strength

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(1).  A sports related term used to describe the depth of talent a company possesses, and then used again to justify bringing every single one of those people to a meeting.

 

“I know bringing 15 people seems a bit excessive, but I want to show that we have bench strength back at the office.  I think it totally makes sense to have Kathy come!  Bringing the secretary shows we’re organized in my opinion.”

 

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Best Practice

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(1).  An unofficial procedure that a small, smug subset of employees deems better than those of their peers.

 

“Well, as a best practice, my team always sends each of our clients a personalized holiday card and a little tin of cookies.  Our client retention rate is 0.1% better than the firm average, so it’s clearly worth it.”

 

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Bio Break

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(1).  A term often used during long meetings as a euphemism for stopping said meeting so everyone can take a leak.

 

“Okay, everyone…while this presentation on which design we should use on our promotional flash drives has been riveting, it’s time for a bio break.  Anyone else have to use the big boys’ room?  That’s right, I call it the big boys’ room….no need for lies.”

 

Props to Kevin B. for the submission.

 

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Blamestorm

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(1).  A situation in which a group of co-workers meet to decide who will take the fall for a major screw-up for which nobody wants to accept responsibility.

 

“Okay, team…we, don’t want to create a blamestorm here, but I think we all know Tom was the one that forgot to send out the presentation…am I right?”

 

Props to Mary D. for the submission.

 

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Blink Decision

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(1).  A no-brainer.

 

“So, Andy, what your saying is … if we set the heat in the office at 50 all the time, we can save thousands of dollars of overhead?  Sounds like a blink decision to me.”

 

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Blue Ocean Strategy

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(1).  An initiative undertaken by a company to produce unlimited opportunities.  It is, of course, a pipe dream that results in over-diversification and, ultimately, a reversion back to the company’s core competencies (see also cultural evolution).

 

“We’re planning to adopt a blue ocean strategy for 2013.  We’re now going to focus on both importing AND exporting!”

 

Props to Jack D. for the submission.

 

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Boiling Frog Syndrome

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(1).  In HR, this is a term used to describe how to deal with change in the workplace. For example, if you place a frog in boiling water, it will jump out, if you place it in cold water and gradually heat it, it might stay.  Pretty roundabout way to say “grow a pair and deal with it” but it’s ok, we’re into hand-holding, miss.

 

“Well Jon it sounds to me like you have a little bit of boiling frog syndrome.  Here’s how I see things: you were once the manager of business development.  Over the past year you gradually didn’t sell anything, and now you have become the manager of our telephone service, office supplies & bagel Friday’s.  You have a great new desk right up in front of the office, and get to talk to everyone who comes through the door, whether it be new people coming in for interviews, food delivery folk or the FedEX guy.  The way I see it, it’s a win win for everyone!  That guy?  Oh he’s here for the new business development manager position, can you send him to my office?”

 

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Boondoggle

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(1).  A conference (1) that requires travel to a hotel or resort (usually connected to a golf course), (2) whose sessions can be easily avoided, and (3) which includes multiple occasions to generously partake of the hotel bar, usually in the form of sponsored cocktail hours.

 

“I love these boondoggles.  Nothing but golf, booze and time away from the kids.  By the way, did anyone go to that ‘Ethical Financial & Banking Practices’ seminar?  No?  Ok good, I didn’t either.  2008 is going to be a great year!”

 

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Boots On The Ground

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(1).  Actual people who staff one of your branch offices.  Did you ever see “The Office”?  It’s like that.

 

“So, we’re looking to expand into Uzbekistan.  We’re going to need boots on the ground over there, so…Steve?  Up for a road trip?”

 

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Bottom Feeder

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(1).  That stockbroker who keeps calling you.

 

(2).  Most of us.

 

“Over there?  Oh, that’s Sam.  He hangs around churches at night scoping grief support groups for potential clients.  ‘They always have life insurance’, he says.  Real bottom feeder.”

 

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Brainstorming Session

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(1).  An internal meeting (see pow wow) intended to generate ideas, which quickly devolves into (1) a complaint session about the company, (2) a general discussion on last night’s American Idol results, or (3) one employee explaining all of his or her ideas in detail while the others quietly nod and check their blackberries.

 

“Team, I really just want this to be a brainstorming session about the direction we want to go in this year, so please feel free to speak your minds.  Okay, to start, Ed will be informing you all of the direction we are going to go in this year.  Ed?”

 

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Bring Your Child To Work Day

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(1).  A day in which the lies parents tell their kids about their job are tested, with moderate to no success.

 

“Ok Danny, when daddy said he “worked with Derek Jeter”, he didn’t so much mean he played for the Yankees, as he cleans the locker room at Yankee Stadium.”

 

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Brown Bag Lunch

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(1).  A marketing event for which your company is too cheap to spring for food.

 

“So, we’re all really excited about next Tuesday’s brown bag lunch.  We have a couple of speakers lined up … well, me and Jim here … and we’re hoping for a great turnout.  Just remind all the people you invited that there’s a Subway across the street … *sigh* ….”

 

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Busy Work

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(1).  What you’re currently doing.

 

“I don’t know Vito.  I don’t really categorize what I do as busy work.  I mean, someone has to make sure we have toner, right?”

 

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Buy-In

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(1).  Something everyone wants to get from everybody, especially when you have no idea what you’re doing (see air cover).

 

“Looks good, Alex, but I’d like to get Fred’s buy-in before we send it out.  I’m not sure either of us really know the downstream impact of this enhancement.”

 

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Buy-In

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(1).  Something everyone wants to have, but no one wants to get.

 

“This proposal looks great, Alex, but I’d like to get some buy-in from the team before presenting it to the board.  I’m sure they’ll go along with your plan to cut costs by moving everyone into cubes and getting rid of the coffee machine.”

 

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Calculus

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(1).  A term used to explain to management how difficult it was to accomplish a particular task or transaction and that their input is neither appreciated nor wanted.

 

“The calculus of the deal is such that, we risk losing the entire contract if we hold out for a soda machine.”

 

Props to Jared P. for the submission.

 

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Call Option

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(1).  A small, unprofitable piece of business your sales guy convinces you to take, claiming “there’s a lot of money behind this one.”

 

“Yeah, I know the fee on this one doesn’t even cover our cost, but this is a call option opportunity.  This guy tells us his company’s going public soon – no, he didn’t say when - and we’ll already be in there when it does!”

 

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Can of Worms

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(1).  Something you always end up opening just by asking a simple question.  I mean, how were you supposed to know that Rick’s wife wore an eye patch?  You didn’t even know Rick was married!

 

“Look, Steve … I don’t want to open up a can of worms here, but shouldn’t we be paying taxes on the money we’re making?”

 

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Capacity

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(1).  n.  The workload of an employee or team, which is always too much for them to handle, even when it is less than the previous time they complained about it.

 

(2).  adj.  A term used by an employee or team to indicate that their workload is too high and too much for them to handle, even when it is less than the previous time they complained about it.

 

“Listen guys, I am soooo over capacity here, there is no way I am going to get to everything this client needs.  I mean, who’s going to plan karaoke night if I don’t?  Bill’s not gonna do it!  He’s already covering me so I can plan karaoke night!”

 

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Carbon-Based Error

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(1).  A human error or screw-up.

 

“Hi, this is the Helpdesk.  Frozen Outlook, eh?  Sounds like a carbon-based error to me.  Just turn it off and back on again and you should be fine.”

 

Props to Eileen R. for the submission.

 

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