meta4baeldung – Meta Baeldung Marketing experiences growing Baeldung Fri, 15 Mar 2019 16:08:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Baeldung H1 2018 Report Sun, 08 Jul 2018 08:35:33 +0000 Let’s Get Started

The first half of this year has been interesting for Baeldung.

We’re building automation, stabilizing the team and finally focusing a lot more on making the author experience better.

But, before all of that, let’s start with some numbers.

The User Experience Work

The UX team has been releasing some great stuff over the course of these last few months.

A core focus has been getting around the site. When we had a few hundred articles, that wasn’t particularly hard. But, with almost 2000 now, well, readers (and myself) have a hard time finding what they’re looking for.

So, we started looking into that.

First, the tedious but necessary work tagging everything properly. We had categories, yes, but these are too broad and lack the real nuance of topics. So, we’ve added tags and started displaying them alongside categories:

Next, we introduced series – basically simple groups of related articles:

And, related articles as well – which is actually something we implemented ourselves, despite the myriad of available “automated” options out there:

And, the biggest release was the new menu. If you haven’t noticed that by now, have a look at the menu bar and you’ll see it looking like this:

It turns out – a new menu is a great opportunity to help readers navigate the site in an intelligent, personalized way.

It’s also, actually, hard to pull off well. The implementation has gone through several iterations and improvements, and we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what we can do there.

The Traffic

The traffic of the site has seen some interesting growth (and stagnation) over the last 6 months:

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for H1 2018

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for H1 2018

That represents about 80% growth over the last 6 months. As I mentioned in the previous report, the 500% year over year growth of 2017 is slowing down – which is only natural. Even the current growth rate will significantly slow down further.

And the referrers of the site:

Some interesting sources here – such as Dubbo – which I’m not really sure exactly what it is – but otherwise, nothing new.

The Content

The content team has been firing on all cylinders in H1, with 416 new pieces published.

That’s certainly been a challenge, for a number of reasons.

First, in order to make sure our authors have a good experience (which hasn’t always been the case in the past), we’ve done a lot of internal work. We’ve significantly improved the documentation, implemented reporting and some initial custom automation.

The goal is simple – identify and reward our best authors. 

A primary component in that are the budgets for articles. Back in January, we had 8 levels in the budget for authors. We now have 20.

That’s been a process, of course, but the simple point is – an author that used to be paid, say, 75$ for an article – will now be paid 110$ for the exact same article.

Overall, the content side of things is going well and we have some cool things coming up that should make things even better in the second half of the year.

The Sponsors and the Email List

A few months ago, I accepted the very first sponsor on the site – Datadog.

I haven’t done that until now for a few reasons. First, I only wanted a very small number of companies to appear on Baeldung. Essentially, the products I knew and used.

Of course, I’m constantly getting requests from advertisers I know nothing about. These are easy nos. But to get to work with – for example – JetBrains and promote IntelliJ for example, I had to reach out myself.

I’ve learned a lot working with these first two sponsors and, with a proper media kit finally done, I’m a lot more confident now reaching out to companies.

Plans for H2

The plan for H1 was to announce a new course. That’s been pushed, due to some personal stuff, so, for now, I’m tentatively aiming to do that in the coming months, but that may or may not happen. Creating a new course takes up a lot of energy and focus, which have been in hard supply recently.

Beyond courses, the second half of this year will simply be focused on process and the team. Yeah, not glamorous, I know, but that’s what needs to be done to get to the next level of quality on the site.

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Baeldung Q4 2017 Report, and an Overview Tue, 02 Jan 2018 10:45:55 +0000 Alright, 2017 is in the rear-view mirror and it’s time to have a look and assess.

Let’s start with some to-the-point numbers.

The Traffic

First, traffic has been growing, at a consistent pace:

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q4 2017

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q4 2017

The growth was a healthy 36% over the Q3 traffic, which is directly tied to all the work we’ve been doing on the content side.

The referrers are also showing some interesting movement:

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q4 2017

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q4 2017

DuckDuckGo is now the 2nd referrer of the site – which is interesting to see. And Disqus is completely gone – now that we’re no longer using them to power comments.

Keep in mind referrers only represent 2% of the Baeldung, so this data is interesting to read, yes, but ultimately doesn’t have a huge impact on the overall traffic.

2017 Growth

Looking back, 2017 has been kind of crazy for Baeldung:

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for 2017

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for 2017

5x growth is definitely not a typical year for the site, and I fully expect the trend to level off in 2018 (in fact, it’s already starting to).

The Content

The content team is now settling around 80 authors and 10 editors – and the number of articles we’re able to publish is more or less consistent as well.

We’ve published about 160 new in-depth articles on the site in these last few months. I’m pretty happy with that, so my focus now is on quality over quantity.

The Email List

I’ve been doing a lot of pruning and cleaning of the Baeldung email list – to make sure people who are on it actually want to be on it and get a lot out of the stuff I’m sending out.

That, plus the launch in December (when all the optins are disabled) meant that the list is now just a bit over 60K.

The Courses

The release of both Spring 5 as well as Spring Security 5 meant announcing a lot of new material for both of them. That’s going to keep me busy over the course of Q1 here, so I’m not planning to announce anything new until that’s all done.

Once I’m done with the new material though, I’m certainly planning to announce my next course – that’s going to be exciting to plan and start working on, probably early Q2.

Internal Plans

My focus for this year is quality.

On the content side, that means making sure all of our authors have a great experience working with us, and have a clear and transparent growth path internally.

The content team has grown and the things that were simple to manage with a 20-author team are no longer as simple as an 80-author team. And so, these internal processes that were so easy to ignore – are now becoming a lot more important to make we don’t miss things.

And, on the admin side of things, I realized we were simply not doing a good job tracking the things we care about. And, as the saying goes – if something doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t improve. So, we’re finally building a simple but powerful dashboard for the business – and tracking the things we need to know.

The next 6 months are going to be mostly quiet – focused on this internal work, keeping up our publishing schedule and maybe announcing one new course.

Personally – I’m good with quiet.

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Baeldung Q2 and Q3 2017 Report Sat, 14 Oct 2017 17:41:48 +0000 It’s been a while since my last public report here, so we’re going to be looking at Q2 and Q3 together.

Q2 and Q3 Traffic

I had a look at the previous report, where I said the traffic growth in Q1 has been crazy. Looking back, well, it doesn’t look as crazy as these last two quarters.

Here’s what the new traffic looks like:

That’s 42% growth in Q2 over Q1 and another 45% in Q3 over Q2.

Those are some crazy numbers, and – if you’ve been following along with the history of the site here, these are not typical numbers. But, to be fair, we’ve never really had an 80 author + 10 editors content team either, so there’s no good reference to compare it to.

Regardless, more traffic means Baeldung is reaching and helping more developers – so that’s always good.

Now, you may have noticed the bounce rate and average session duration are also significantly different than the previous values. That’s because we changed the Google Analytics code tracking these numbers to be a lot more accurate.

The referrers of the site are somewhat more stable:

There’s clearing been some movement – StackOverflow is down, Twitter is way up, DuckDuckGo is growing – but overall, nothing spectacular.

Q2 and Q3 Content

The content team has been working on a lot of cool writeups these last few months.

Overall, we published 351 new articles on the site (see the full archive here).

At this kind of scale, it turns out it’s actually important to learn how to run a large team. Who knew?

Simply put, Q3 and now Q4 are focused making sure our authors are actually happy to work with us. That’s easier said than done, but we’re definitely a lot better at it now than we were 6 months ago.

Email and Courses

The email list of the site is now at 53K subscribers.

Each time I send an email out, I have to remind myself – I’m not sending an email to thousands of developers. I’m sending an email to one single developer – 53K times.

On to the courses. With all of this crazy traffic, you’d imagine the course sells are double as well. That would be ideal, but that’s certainly not the case.

First, both courses are focused on Spring, and the new readers finding Baeldung aren’t necessarily interested in Spring. Some are, but a lot are finding our more general, Java articles. That’s very cool, but naturally, it doesn’t translate into selling courses.

And, second – a lot of the new traffic is existing readers coming back. That’s also very cool, but again, not necessarily a direct translation into course sales.

But, even with all of that, the courses are doing quite well – well enough to support the team creating great content for the community.

Plans for Q4 and 2018

The plan at the start of this year was to announce a new course and start working on that.

That plan quickly changed, and I decided not to work on any new course in 2017, and to instead roll out major updates for the existing courses. That’s because both Spring 5 and Spring Security 5 are coming out this year (Spring 5 is actually already out). Also because writing, coding, recording, editing and producing a full course takes about 6 months of work.

So, that’s the focus right now – working on the updates and adding a lot of cool new material to both existing courses.

And, on the content side, Q4 is going to be all about the team and making that operate smoothly.


Until the next report.


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Baeldung Q1 2017 Report Sun, 23 Apr 2017 20:41:19 +0000 Q1 Traffic

Let’s jump right in with a traffic update for the site.

Q1 has been a bit crazy in terms of traffic – which is a steep 43% increase over Q4 of last year:

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q1 2017

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q1 2017

The new traffic is, of course, correlated to the increase in content production on the site – more on that later.

Let’s now have a quick look at the referral traffic as well:

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q1 2017

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q1 2017

Nothing out of the ordinary here – but definitely some interesting data to track.

Q1 Content

As I briefly mentioned earlier, the traffic growth isn’t entirely unexpected, given the fact that we’ve upped our content game in recent months.

The total number of articles we published in Q1 is a whopping 187 new pieces of content – which is almost 50% more than Q4 of last year.

And, the goal of removing myself from the day to day content work is slowly moving forward as well – although that work is not yet very far along.

Q1 Email List

The email list has always been a focus for me – primarily because I like knowing who my readers are and engaging with them directly.

The email list inched over 34.5K at the end of March, after a few rounds of pruning and cleaning up subscribers who weren’t engaging with the material.

The Courses

My recording voice isn’t back up to 100%, so I had to delay working on some of the bonus lessons in the courses, as well as the launch of the new course.

Right now, my tentative goal is to announce the new course in May – but that still depends on how well I can record.

But, new material aside – it’s great to see how my existing two courses are helping so many new students every month.


And with that, I’m going to wrap up this review of Q1.



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Baeldung Q4 2016 Report Sat, 11 Feb 2017 14:50:26 +0000 One month into 2017, it’s time to finally release the report for Q4 of last year.

I publish this report mainly because I like transparency and I remember just how much difference it can make to see the numbers of other sites in my own motivation.

Here we go.

Q4 Traffic

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q4 2016

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q4 2016

Traffic grew by a solid 16.5% compared to Q3.

And here’s our referrer data – basically, who’s been sending traffic to the site:

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q4 2016

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q4 2016

The Content Team

We’ve also been publishing like crazy – a full 127 new articles in Q4, which is the most we’ve ever published in the span of 3 months. We’re going to blow that out of the water in Q1 of this year, but that’s a story for the next review.

In the last review I wrote, I said that Q3 was all about growing the editorial team. So was Q4 – we’re now close to a stable 80-90 authors and 10 editors working on content for the site.

I’m also taking some small steps towards removing myself from the publishing process. Right now I’m the bottleneck with the fact that I am still reviewing each and every piece of content that goes out.

On the one hand I’m proud that, ever since I created the site in 2011, all 806 articles were published by me.

On the other hand, I fully realized that’s not sustainable if I want the site to grow, and that right now I’m slowing down the editorial team.

And so, over the course of 2017, my goal is to remove myself from the publishing process as much as possible. Hopefully, the very first article where I don’t personally hit publish will be in March.

The Courses

The plan was to announce my next course at the end of 2016 – beginning of 2017.

That plan changed because I wasn’t able to record, so the plan right now is to announce the next course mid March.

However, for that to happen, I need to finish the bonus material from Learn Spring Security – and unfortunately my voice hasn’t been up to record lately.

I think that’s slowly getting better, so I should be able to hit that if I really hustle for the following 30 days.

The Email List

I’ve always documented the state of my email list here, so here’s a quick update on how that’s going.

The list has just passed 32K subscribers – which is a steady, sustainable growth.


And with that we’re going to wrap up the Q4 review.

I always like reading these kinds of open insights into sites I read, so hopefully you got a similar kick out of this review.



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Baeldung Q3 2016 Report Sun, 09 Oct 2016 15:24:48 +0000 We’re well into Q4 right now, so it’s time for the Q3 report of

I publish this report mainly because I like transparency and I remember just how much difference it can make to see the numbers of other sites in my own motivation.

Here goes.

Q3 Traffic

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q3 2016

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q3 2016

So, after the huge 33% traffic spike in Q2, this quarter the growth was a more moderate 4.2%.

You may also notice a few other interesting movement in the right direction with pages/session going up and bounce rate going down – as a result of the multiple, minor design tweaks that we have been rolling out.

This is exactly the kind of slow grind I enjoy – small, continuous improvements that pile up to something meaningful over time.

On to the referrer traffic – where things are similar to Q2:

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q3 2016

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q3 2016

Some movement here in the referrer traffic of the site – but nothing major. Maybe just the fact that (our internal Content Calendar) made the Top 10 for the first time ever.

The Content Team

These last three months have been all about hiring and scaling up the content team. There’s so much interesting stuff to cover in the space that we really need lots of great writers and editors to do it well.

As a direct result, we were able to publish 114 new articles in Q3, up from 61 articles in Q2 – which quite a significant 87% increase.

That’s a lot of content, produced by a team of about 60 authors and 7 editors (and me).

Getting that team to a stable 100 authors is the goal for these last three months of 2016.

The Courses

Learn Spring Security finally went live at the beginning of this quarter as well. This was a whole lot of work and a big push, so I’m happy that I was able to get it out to students as promised.

And just in time for my “recording voice” to go for a good couple of months – which meant that I wasn’t able to do a lot of video lately.

The goal for Q4 is – first – getting the bonus lessons ready. I have plenty of cool lessons to do for both courses, and I plan to get through them before announcing anything new.

And, with a bit of luck, I’ll announce my next course at the tail-end of the year.

Other Data

I’ve always documented the state of my email list here, so here’s a quick update on how that’s going. The list has just passed 27K subscribers – which is a steady, sustainable growth.

That’s the end of Q3 for Baeldung – some solid growth and a clear few things to focus on in Q4 – growing the team, improving the design and working on new course material.

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Baeldung Q2 2016 Report Wed, 06 Jul 2016 20:02:25 +0000 Internally, this was the most eventful quarter in the history of the site. Externally, some solid growth, some exciting new products and finally stable revenue.

Last quarter the team content team was at 3 technical editors and about 20 or so authors. The numbers are now much higher – 6 technical editors about about 60 authors. Crazy, I know.

But let’s start with traffic.

Q2 Traffic Numbers

Let’s start with the overall traffic:

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q2 2016

The Q2 number represent a solid 33% increase over Q1.

On to the referrer traffic:

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q2 2016

Referrer traffic is super stable – some interesting trends here but nothing to write home about.

Other Goings On

I focused on two things this quarter – the course and the team.

The courses has jumped over 1100 students and are somewhat stable and predictable – which is great, as I don’t like relying on launches and events for revenue.

And after 3 months of non-stop writing of procedures and internal video training, the team is 90% onboarded and humming along nicely. The second full time hire definitely made a difference there.

Next, I focused on growing the content team almost 3 times, quickly found out that we’re hitting the limits of what we can do over email and got JIRA. Yes, JIRA is typically used to manage software projects, but it turns out that it’s perfect for managing a large content team as well. The license is super expensive, but well worth it.

Finally, the new design has gone live. This is literally the first custom design of the site in over 4 years and having a proper QA and deployment process for the site is great. It means we can actually move quickly, iterate and put things into the hands of readers.

The new design also showed me – for the first time – that my 1% visitor to email subscriber conversion rate can become 4-5% with a good design. That increase is keeping steady a few months in and has helped Baeldung break the 20K subscribers limit.

The Plan for Q3

The main focus right now is to finish and release Learn Spring Security.

Then, I have a ton of bonus lessons to create, and I can’t wait to get to them, as most are really interesting things to write and record about.

Of course with 60 authors, I fully expect that we’re going to be hitting a content schedule that we never quite reached before. The focus is on quality and making sure that doesn’t slip – and most of the processes are around that aspect. And as long as quality remains high, I’m excited to see us scale up our content efforts significantly.

It was a crazy Q2 and it’s definitely going to be a packed Q3, but one focused on stabilization and growth rather than major changes.


Finally, if you’re enjoying these reports and get value out of reading about my journey here, definitely drop me a note in the comments.

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Baeldung Q1 2016 Report Fri, 01 Apr 2016 22:05:45 +0000 The first three months of 2016 were kind of crazy busy for me and for the site. And if I had to pick one thing as my main focus, I’d say that was growing the Baeldung team.

We started the year with a technical editor, about 6 or 7 authors and a part time VA; we’re now at 3 technical editors, about 20 or so authors, a full time marketing person and a VA, and we’re close to hiring a video person as well.

It feels like writing procedures and documentation is all I’m doing these days.

The Q1 Numbers

Let’s start with the overall traffic in Q1:

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q1 2016

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q1 2016

The Q1 growth has definitely been good – a solid 31% increase over the last quarter of 2015.

On to the referrer traffic:

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q1 2016

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q1 2016

No big changes here – the same sites are sending Baeldung the same kind of traffic.

Finally, we’re approaching the 1000 students milestone in REST With Spring, which is huge. I’m going to take the day off when that happens 🙂

The Plan for Q2

First off, the new design is almost ready to go and should be rolling out over the next week or so. This is the first real design and branch change in over 4 years – needless to say I’m really excited about it.

Here’s what the new logo looks like:

Leaf dark

It’s definitely going to be interesting seeing how readers like the new experience and of course what effect that’s going to have over the numbers.

Next – hiring and procedures are another major priority. With three technical editors, there’s going to be a lot more content being published – and I’m working hard on allowing that to happen. Right now, I’m the biggest bottleneck in a few areas, so the focus is unblocking the team and solving that issue.

Finally, my main focus in Q2 is of course writing and producing the material of the new courseLearn Spring Security. That takes most of my time, energy and focus – and it’s the major reasons I need allow the team to help with the content.

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2015 for Baeldung Sat, 02 Jan 2016 20:08:28 +0000 2015 has been a huge year for Baeldung. After more than 4 years, I finally came out with a productthe REST With Spring Course – which surpassed my expectations in both revenue and overall reception within the Spring community.

I also started a mastermind, committed to working with external authors, went on and hired a technical editor for the site and – right at the end of December – put out the job description of my next hire – a high level video person.

And now, with the year filed and closed, it’s time to take stock and have a good at last year as I’m mapping out 2016.

The Q4 Numbers

Let’s start with the traffic numbers for Q4:

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q4 2015

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for Q4 2015

And the referrers that sent me traffic last quarter:

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q4 2015

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q4 2015

As you can see, there are a few interesting differences here, compared to Q3. First, there’s just more referrer traffic overall – about 25% more.

Second – Facebook is definitely picking up steam. I had written Facebook off before but after pouring a whole lot of money into Facebook advertising for the course (more on that later) – the organic reach of the page has grown as well to where it is actually making the top 10 twice. It’s still not a whole lot of traffic overall, but it’s not negligible any more either, so I’m really curious how that will play out.

The 2015 Numbers

Before we move to the more interesting stuff, here’s a quick look at the full year in terms of traffic numbers:

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for 2015

Baeldung Overall Traffic and Stats for 2015

The Course Numbers

When I announced the course in early August, I starting pre-selling it as I was creating it – first at 50% off and then, as I started releasing portions of it, at 25% off.

And last time I reported numbers about the sales of the course was back in October, in my previous quarterly reports – which meant that I only had a few weeks of actual sales.

Now, with more than fours months of sales, the course just surpassed 600 students and 50K in revenue – which I’m very happy with. It means that I can invest back into Baeldung most of that during 2016 to really grow the site and help the community.

Next Steps

And the plans for 2016 are quite ambitions as well. I’m still writing out the full plan and the goals – here are a few highlights of what the year is going to bring:

  • a full brand redesign
  • 2 new courses
  • an aggressive content calendar
  • and a lot more video

It’s going to be a big year.

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Baeldung Q3 2015 Report Sun, 04 Oct 2015 21:57:12 +0000 Q3 has come and gone – here’s a quick recap of some of the more exciting stuff for Baeldung (including some early sales numbers of the new course).

Traffic in Q3 2015

Let’s start with the traffic numbers:

Baeldung Overall Traffic for Q3 2015

Again, things have been nice and stable. The metrics of the site are also similar to Q2:

Baeldung Traffic Stats for Q3 2015

Referrer Traffic for Q3 2015

Baeldung Referral Traffic for Q3 2015

A few interesting changes in my main referrers in Q3.

First – Duck Duck Go jumped from way below all the way to number 4 – which is very cool to see, since we’re talking about another search engine.

Second – traffic from DZone is way, way done. That’s mainly related to their recent redesign, which unfortunately meant a large drop in quality in the links section of the site. I haven’t been posting to much there as a result.

Finally – Facebook made the top 10 – which is cool, but not entirely real. What happened here is that this is actually paid traffic (more on that later) that gets picked up as a standard referrer.

Email Subscribers

Email has been steadily increasing, to about 3500 new subscribers over the last 3 months.

I don’t have the exact number this time around, because I finally wrapped up my migration out of Aweber and into Drip – which means that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly who signed up when.

As I mentioned last time – besides migrating to Drip, the site has outgrown the old wordpress plugin I was using to collect optins (OptinSkin). The new plugin I’ve been using is Thrive, and, truth be told – it’s absolutely fantastic. OptinSkin wasn’t hard to beat, as it barely passes for functional, but Thrive has made a big, big difference in the way I’m doing email.

New Course – REST With Spring

In Q3, I announced my first product under the Baeldung brand – the REST With Spring classes.

I also started pre-selling the course over the last month of Q3, and the reception from the community has been very very positive.

I’m planning write a series covering the creation and marketing of the course, after the release of the Master Class in December, but for now, here are some early numbers.

REST With Spring – Early Numbers

The course has passed 10K in pre-sales a couple of weeks and going strong.

As you already know if you’ve been reading this blog, I’m very public about my numbers. For example, I shared exactly how much running Baeldung costs (it was about 500$ / month, which has now grown quite a bit).

So, in due time, I’ll be public about all the course numbers – for now, I’m not going to go into to much detail, since it’s still very early on.

Hired the Technical Content Editor

At the tail end of August, while at Microconf, I posted that I was actively looking for a Tech Editor. I hesitated doing that for a while, but Microconf was definitely a kick in the rear to stop finding excuses and start executing.

So the applications started pouring in, and after a lot of sifting and interviewing, I’m happy to say that I found the new Baeldung Technical Editor. That’s exciting.

We’ve been working together ever since to get him up to speed and working with the Baeldung authors.

Wrapping Up

It’s been a packed Q3; Q4 will be all about finishing REST With Spring, talking to my customers and learning. It’s definitely going to be fun.

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