Category : Learning


I Got Scammed for the 3rd Time in 300 Days Buying a WordPress Website

Tim Denning Wordpress Website

Photo by Chris Andrawes on Unsplash

A grown man shouldn’t cry over a website.

I am close. They say the third time is lucky. Not for me. I did everything I could to buy a brand new website the proper way this time around.

I did my due diligence. I looked at other websites they prospective companies had built. I set a strong timeline. I got lots of quotes. I wrote exact instructions a monkey could follow. Still, I got scammed again and threw thousands of dollars down the drain.

The supplier built me a website in a few hours that looked nothing like the brief. In fact, it was worse than my original website. That’s right, they can’t even copy my existing website.

Screenshot of my finished website. Problems: 1) an eBook in mid-air 2) a black background instead of white 3) head chopped off 4) doesn’t occupy the full screen 5) asked for it to be scrollable and it isn’t 6) the wrong eBook is on display 6) you can’t read the copy on top of the image.

I want to share what I learned with you so my thousands of wasted dollars can be recouped in savings for anybody similar to me, who thinks you can just buy a WordPress website and be happy.

The perfect web developer is unlikely to exist

One human is unlikely to be able to successfully build a website. Let’s think about the skills required.

  • They need to be technical to adjust code.
  • Design elements require an illustrator.
  • They need to understand user experience.
  • They ideally need to understand marketing and conversions.
  • They need to have an eye for good design.
  • They need to understand basic SEO, so they can ensure the new website doesn’t stuff up the google rankings of your old website.

See what I mean? The chance you’ll find someone with all of these skills is rare. Now you know why agencies that employ each of these people individually cost a fortune.

All the website developers I’ve worked with so far have understood the technical side fine. But they have no clue what good design is or how to get a website to turn web traffic into email subscribers, or better yet, customers.

“Just use a template you idiot”

I got that feedback last time. People are like “why not use WIX or Webflow or Squarespace or Ghost for your new website?”

Templates are a mirage many suckers like me fall for. The point of my new website is to convert traffic into email subscribers. A template website is generic and typically converts at about 2% and has a high bounce rate. There’s limited customization, so you basically slap it up and hope for the best.

Anyone who understands the purpose of a website and is good at getting conversions will tell you template websites that have been used by millions of other sites are a joke.

You may as well have no website.

Writers have unique website requirements

I haven’t come across a single website template in 7 years that supports the needs of writers. I’ve spent hours looking. Here’s why.

  1. We need a blog with categories, our best stories of all time, and an archive by date of all of our articles. The blog has to be easily searchable too. Templates don’t have such well-thought-out blog sections. Non-writers don’t understand the importance of a blog layout. It’s also the reason why writers need a full content management system that WordPress offers.
  2. We want email addresses so we can own our readers’ contact information, rather than have social media apps keep their details and pay us in likes and useless followers.
  3. We may need eCommerce later, too, to sell books, courses, or premium content. So the website starts out as a blog but has to be able to convert to eCommerce later. Website alternatives like Ghost and Substack don’t have eCommerce options. WordPress has content management for blogs and eCommerce.

WordPress websites are a custom job — you need a developer, an eCommerce provider, a payment gateway, and an individual layout. That means you need WordPress if you’re a writer.

Website companies hate to have skin in the game

The providers I’ve worked with so far live in La La Land. They think they quote a price, have a go, stuff up, I continue paying by the hour for them to learn on the job, and if by some miracle they finish the project, their work is done.

I realized this was a joke. Once a website is finished that’s the beginning, not the end. You want a provider who can stick around to see if the website actually converts traffic into subscribers/customers, otherwise, they’ve failed.

From now on I only work with people who have skin in the game. It’s why my business partner and I have worked so well together. We own the outcome jointly. If our business collapses then we both fail and go back to our 9–5 jobs.

A website requires more than a one-night stand to be successful. You’re looking for a husband or a wife in the web development business.

Be careful with progress payments

The third time around I paid a deposit and they asked for progress payments. We set a timeframe for the build and each milestone. They missed the timeline and didn’t deliver anything close to what they promised.

Because this was my third attempt at this, I made it stupidly simple. I literally said “copy this website exactly” to make their life easy. Zero creativity needed. I picked a website a newbie could probably build in WIX themselves.

When they sent me a black website with blue writing, and the brief was a white website with black writing, I knew they failed the intelligence test. I politely told them we were nowhere near the brief. They asked me for another progress payment to try again. Obviously I said no.

I quickly realized that a lot of website companies charge by the hour, not the project. They tell you the cost of the project but really it’s a lie. I added up — based on how much time they were taking — that a mediocre website from them would easily cost $10,000 at their current rate when the original quote was much less than that.

A quote is designed to take a buyer off the market. Once a buyer has selected a website provider, they’re less likely to quit, so the bill can be literally anything.

Thankfully, the project manager for my website realized their mistake. He was nice about it so I was friendly back.

They agreed to try again.

The second attempt was worse than the first attempt. They simply placed an image of my eBook over the top of an image of me. It looked like a kid had mashed together two photos and said “here mommy, do you like my artwork?” Talk about bad luck. Third time lucky? Nope.

What the scammers missed

Three failed websites. Each provider made some money from me. Good for them. Unfortunately they think short-term. I have hundreds of other writers in my community who ask me all the time for recommendations for websites.

Imagine I could say “no probs Jane. My website was built by this mob. Check them out. They’ll do a great job.”

Successfully building my website is probably worth at least 6-figures in referrals. It’s a shame many businesses don’t understand how dumb a one-time transaction is. You make more money when you do the job you’re paid for and generate happy customers.

Behind every sale is a mountain of referrals from a happy client.

Now you know why most people don’t bother with a website

Getting a good website is harder than it looks.

If you’re not willing to try to build a website multiple times like me and waste a lot of money, then do this: create multiple landing pages. Use a service like ConvertKit or LeadPages or Unbounce to create single web pages with one button. For content creators, especially, this is an easy option.

The complexity of a WordPress website explains why so many content creators simply rely on social media to publish their work. At least they start with a professional-looking page to display their art.

I haven’t found a way through the website minefield yet. When I do I’ll be happy to share more lessons. (Open to suggestions too.)

The good news is my three failed attempts have taught me a lot. For example this time around I will 100% be using WP Engine to host my website. Their performance is unmatched and the free plugins they include like Yoast SEO are cool.

Takeaway: Failures are investments in your future. Fall down nine times. Get up ten.

Join my email list with 50K+ people for more helpful insights.

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Two Simple LinkedIn Techniques to Quickly Drive More Shares of Your Posts and Make Money

Tim Denning LinkedIn Advice

Photo by Dessidre Fleming on Unsplash

LinkedIn doesn’t pay content creators.

There are rumors floating around online that LinkedIn is about to pay content creators for their blood, sweat, and tears. We can only hope they see value in their user’s content and open their enormous Microsoft wallet.

As a long-time user of LinkedIn for the past seven years, one can only dream.

Right now, though, I want to introduce you to two techniques to help you get a lot more shares on your LinkedIn content. Once people engage with your content, then the money can flow behind closed doors. Let me show you.

Technique 1: Cliffhanger

When you post on LinkedIn only some of the words you write are shown to the user.

On a text-only post five sentences get shown in the LinkedIn newsfeed. On a video, poll, or picture post only three sentences of text are shown. To make text easy to read on a phone you normally leave every second sentence blank. So this leaves a text-only post with three sentences of content and every other post with only two sentences.

The goal is to get a user to click the “see more button” on your post. When they do, this signals to the LinkedIn algorithm that your post is higher quality and better than posts where a user doesn’t click see more (examples below).

Screenshots taken by author

On the left example above you can see my post with five clear sentences displayed. On the right example above you can see that Ahmad Iman has used an emoji of a finger pointing down to illustrate there is more content below if the user clicks see more.

Sentence one of my post is the headline. Sentence three of my post is a subtitle. Sentence five of my post is known as the cliffhanger. The cliffhanger acts as the first sentence of a blog post. It’s designed to give the user a taste of what is about to come, so they’ll be curious to keep reading and click see more.

Learn to intentionally end the fifth sentence of your LinkedIn posts with cliffhangers that spark curiosity. When you do, the number of people who see your work will increase by a lot.

Technique 2: Dwell time

I learned this second technique from LinkedIn expert Justin Welsh. In the screenshot below, if you watch carefully, you’ll see I am intentionally hovering my mouse over the sentences of a post by Nick Jenkin. About halfway through you will see three speech bubbles pop up. (The first speech bubble starts with “can I send you…”)

The speech bubbles that pop up indicate that LinkedIn’s algorithm has activated the dwell time metric. All this means is LinkedIn is now aware that a user is interested in this post because they’ve stopped their doom scroll to read it.

The more people who activate the dwell time, the more likely your post will be recommended to users.

If you have friends, family, or superfans who read all of your content, then you can ask them to activate the dwell time on your post by scrolling their mouse over each sentence until the speech bubbles pop up. If they’re reading your stuff anyway, it’s not a huge ask. This technique is another way to increase shares of your content.

How to Make Money from LinkedIn with These Techniques

Now you have two new techniques to help your content be seen and shared by more LinkedIn users. Both are dead simple to implement.

Where does the money come from? Well, when your posts get seen by LinkedIn users in their newsfeeds, about 20% of them will click your photo or name to see your LinkedIn profile. Once they’re on your LinkedIn profile there is a featured section. This is where you place your call-to-action or a link to a landing page.

Once a LinkedIn user is on your email list then the rest is up to you. Over time you can gently offer a paid eBook, or coaching, or a course, or information about your business, and that’s how you make money from LinkedIn. One day LinkedIn may even decide to pay content creators. Then you’ll have multiple ways to earn an income from LinkedIn.


It’s a shame we have to play these circus games with LinkedIn, but that’s the nature of social media apps. It took me seven years to learn these two secret LinkedIn techniques that you can’t google.

Practice writing cliffhangers on the final sentence before the see more button on every one of your LinkedIn posts. Get your fans to activate LinkedIn’s dwell time. Now you can have your content be shared by more people and make money online.

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The Retweet Technique Used by the Biggest Twitter Personalities to Grow Their Audience

Make Money On Twitter

Photo by Kir Simakov on Unsplash

Twitter is complicated AF.

I’ve been on the platform since 2009. A while back, I decided to make a conscious effort to try harder on Twitter because I love short-form content as it saves huge amounts of time. To drop wisdom in as few words as possible is like solving a Rubik’s cube. It feels strangely fulfilling.

I purchased a course from a well-known Twitter personality to open my mind to what’s possible. The course contained a book and about ten videos. The book was amazing. The videos were terrible and contained non-stop water chugging, long pauses, zero preparation, rants, repetitive ideas, and no face of the teacher to make the information personal.

So, I became a cranky old 35-year-old a-hole and left a one-star review of the course. He sent me an email and asked for my feedback. The course owner is clearly smart.

I gave him the brutal truth. Then he suggested we jump on a Zoom call. On the call he explained that he runs one of the largest groups for Twitter personalities where they share pro tips, ideas, and give each other feedback.

Here’s what I learned about Twitter that you can’t google, and will help you build an audience to promote your content and monetize if you choose.

The best times to post on Twitter

The time you post affects whether people will read your tweets. The same trick applies to all social media platforms.

9 am to 10 am New York time is the best part of the day to publish tweets. The second best time to post is 5 pm to 7 pm (aim for 6 pm). This aligns perfectly with my experience of publishing on LinkedIn for seven years. I asked a few content creators from other platforms and they agreed with these times.

A killer tweet schedule you can copy

The first tip I got is to *not* use a scheduling tool like Buffer to post tweets.


Twitter’s algorithm doesn’t want to promote automated tweets, over tweets published by real humans who are posting in real-time, and therefore, responding to their tweets in real-time. It makes sense. Follow this schedule to grow massively on Twitter.

  1. Post a tweet that is a question at 6 am New York time. Questions on Twitter generate lots of comments and help the algorithm give you a boost.
  2. Between 8 am to 9 am post your best tweet for the day which is usually a tweet thread (a series of numbered tweets that read like a blog post). The previous question you posted will help warm up the algorithm for this tweet thread.
  3. 2–3 hours later retweet (re-share) your morning tweet.
  4. Again, 2–3 hours later, retweet the same tweet.
  5. Remove the retweets at the end of the day.

The first hour of a tweet has the highest impact. The life of a tweet is 24 hours. Retweeting your morning tweet two more times in a day helps it reach its maximum potential. Without retweets a tweet simply fizzles off and dies much quicker. (I had no idea this is the case.)

This big-name Twitter personality also taught me that 3–4 tweets per day is the maximum you should post, with 2–3 hours between each tweet.

The hidden economy of retweets

Retweets are a hidden economy — it certainly fooled me. You can buy retweets from big accounts to build your audience faster.

You can also join Twitter groups and retweet each other’s tweets. If you do, the advice I was given is to do those retweets late at night. Then remove the retweets the next day. You can trade tweets in offline marketplaces. You can get people or businesses to pay you to retweet their content.

The cliche saying “we rise by lifting others” applies to Twitter. It’s faster to grow an audience on Twitter when you join with like-minded people.

The idea this Twitter personality gave me is to look at someone’s newsfeed as a business. Every tweet that’s not created by them is likely a business opportunity they got paid for. That explains why so many Twitter timelines are full of promotional junk. The temptation to receive money for a tweet/retweet is far too great for many people to resist.

My advice: don’t get paid money for tweets. Monetize your Twitter following offline with honest digital products that help people.

“Their Twitter timeline is their business. “

Final Thought

Now you know the exact tweet schedule some of the biggest accounts on Twitter with more than 100,000 followers use to build their audience.

Remember: retweeting your own tweets two more times extends their life so they can gain maximum exposure before they die. When a tweet dies you can revive it by replying to it with a follow-up tweet. Replying to your old tweets brings them back to the top of your timeline.

Share your wisdom on Twitter to build an audience. An audience is a community of people that can help you achieve your goals in life.

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I Have Just Gone All in on Twitter in a Bizarre Way

Hacks for Twitter by Tim Denning

Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash

Twitter is fun. You can say whatever you want.

I’m about 14 years too late to the party. Better late than never. Twitter isn’t what it used to be. What’s changed?

Twitter is now for long-form bloggers.

To write blog posts on Twitter is unconventional. It will also change your content creation strategy which is cool.

The Biggest Twitter Hack You’ve Never Heard Of

Twitter used to be a way to share no more than 280 characters. If you wanted to say something longer, you couldn’t — a nightmare for traditional bloggers.

Sharing links to your blog posts on Twitter doesn’t work well because it’s bad for Twitter. When you post a link that takes people off Twitter, well, Twitter loses that person’s attention. That’s bad for their business. LinkedIn and Facebook have the same policy for the same reason.

External links on social media get seen by nobody.

Native content is the answer. Native content is content that is published within the social media platform so the reader doesn’t have to leave the app. The feature all bloggers need to understand on Twitter is “threads.”

Twitter threads allow a writer to post up to 25 tweets of 280 characters each. A Twitter thread is essentially a blog post but with a huge twist: You have to be incredibly succinct or you won’t fit within the 280 character limit.

How to do it:

  1. Take a blog post you wrote on any platform.
  2. Scan the comments section or Twitter for the top highlights from your blog post.
  3. Rewrite the blog post using a Twitter thread. The first tweet is the headline and subtitle. The last sentence of the first tweet needs to say “A Thread.”
  4. Mark each tweet of the thread as you go with a number and a backslash — like this 1/ 2/ etc.
  5. Once you’ve written the first tweet, click the plus sign next to the tweet button to add the next tweet in the thread.
  6. The second tweet in the thread is your intro. Look at the original blog post and pick your favorite 1–2 sentences. Or look at the most highlighted sentences — they’re the sentences to include in your tweet. You need all killer no filler. In other words, only the best sentences should make the cut.
  7. The third tweet is your first subheading/point. Select the best sentences for your tweet.
  8. Keep writing your Twitter thread by taking parts from your original blog post. You don’t have to include every point. Each tweet should be valuable enough that when read in isolation, it sounds helpful by itself.
  9. Once you get to the end you can use your last tweet to link back to your original blog post or feature a call to action. I recommend waiting to see if your thread gains traction before adding any external links.

An unconventional approach to Twitter Threads

Here comes the hack you’ve never heard of. What if your Twitter thread wasn’t finished? What if you kept adding to a Twitter thread over time?

Let me give you an example. You write a Twitter thread containing four tweets. It performs well and people enjoy it. You let the thread die down.

Three months later you go back to the Twitter thread and add another tweet. Now your Twitter thread gets new life and features in people’s Twitter newsfeeds again.

It’s the blog post that never ends.

A Way to Test Which Blog Posts You Finish

What you can do is start several Twitter threads at the same time.

The threads that gain traction are ones you can keep writing on. The threads that don’t, you can discard. Now you know without investing huge amounts of time which blog posts are worth writing.

Space out Your Tweets

You can start your Twitter Thread and space out each tweet to keep your audience guessing. Rather than writing 1/14, you can just put 1/ so the audience has no idea how many tweets there is going to be.

Publish your first two tweets in a thread and then come back to add more, or schedule extra tweets using third-party tools.

Curiosity brings audiences back to your work for more.

Reverse Engineer Your Content Creation Process

If you want fresh content, change the process you use to create content.

Rather than write your entire blog post the way you normally do, try writing your blog post as a Twitter thread first.

A Twitter thread is your highly succinct, straight-to-the-point rough draft.

Concise writing starts with a Twitter thread instead of a blog post. The character limit forces you to say less, allowing you to actually say more. With only 25 tweets allowed in a thread, you can’t mention every point. So you end up only writing your best points.

Once you write your Twitter thread, then use it as the outline for your full-length blog post that you publish elsewhere, like on your WordPress blog.

Twitter threads act like a mind map. The thread allows readers to validate your blog post in real-time, instead of waiting until after you publish it to realize if you went off on a tangent and put your reader to sleep.

The Reality of Twitter

Twitter won’t give you overnight success as a content creator. No platform will. Your content still has to be good, and most of all, helpful.

Twitter is just another tool. It’s a fantastic tool that doesn’t require a huge investment of time to utilize.

The Simple Twitter Strategy You Can Steal

For every Twitter Thread you publish, publish three standard 280 character single tweets. Post a couple of Twitter threads a week. Let your Twitter threads be a stream of consciousness.

The best bit about Twitter: you can’t go back and edit your published tweets with a Twitter thread later. This stops you from overthinking your content. Overthinking kills so many creatives’ dreams.

The best content is published content, not drafts.

Final Thought

I’m going all in on Twitter. I’m not going to waste my time posting external links to my blog posts. I am going to publish native content to Twitter and build an audience slowly.

I am going to use 280 character tweets to test headlines and subtitles. Most of all, I am going to have fun in the process and fall in love with short content that requires me to curate and cut down my sentences as I write them.

You can do the same. Publishing blog posts as Twitter threads is an untapped feature many writers are yet to discover. Adding tweets to your most popular Twitter threads, to bring them back to life, is a mind-blowing feature I haven’t seen on any other social media platform.

Your blog posts are better when you experiment, use social proof to measure helpfulness, and are forced to say less so you can communicate more.

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9 Skills You Can Get from Extraordinary Learners

Photo by Luke Jones on Unsplash

Learn the extra skills you need to thrive in life from these 5 people.

People who think they know everything rarely succeed in life. The life of a know-it-all tends to be a couch potato.

That’s why you want to become obsessed with learning. Learning is everything. To learn is a gift.

Remember what it was like to go to school for the first time. Learning was fun. There were sandpits, books about made-up worlds, and other kids to experiment with. Then university came along and made learning ugly. Learning became for many of us, a means for survival and a future strategy to put food on the table. Then life knocks you in the face.

You do a few job interviews and realize that unless you’re a doctor or a lawyer, nobody asks you about what university you went to or what grades you got. Who gives a shit.

Falling in love with learning all over again will improve your life.

These are a few extraordinary learners you can study:

  • Tim Ferriss — podcaster, author
  • Benjamin Hardy — blogger/writer
  • Danny Forrest — Founder, SkillUp Academy
  • Derek Sivers — Entrepreneurial worker bee in residence
  • Oprah — (you know the one)

Each of them has mastered the art of learning. They stack skills on top of each other to produce bizarre results.

Scott Adams, founder of the cartoon Dilbert, talks about skill stacking a lot. The idea is you can take two completely unrelated skills you’ve learned and produce unlikely results. That’s what Scott did when he fused drawing, writing and comedy together.

Here’s what extraordinary learners do from my study of them over the last six years.

1. Learners see skills as a way to make art.

How you see learning is crucial. Think of learning as a game. When you play the game of acquiring skills you can use them to make art. You don’t want to paint or draw or write. Okay that’s cool. Running is art. Podcasting is art.

Anything done well and with passion is art.

I have fused the skills of writing, imagery, social media and business. You can do the same. It’s straightforward.

Take 2–3 skills and stack them together = ART.

2. Learners write for clarity.

Writing reinforces an idea. It helps you put an idea into your own words.

When you take an idea and put it into your own words, you create clarity in your mind. There are many key lessons to be learned with any skill and practicing the habit of writing about them will fast-track your success rate.

If you really want to get crystal clear thoughts you can touch, have a warm shower. Your mind will be relaxed and your thoughts will be so clear you’ll want to write them down.

Use liquid chalk and write your thoughts on the shower wall.

3. Learners read.

The best way to learn is through other people’s experiences. Blog posts are nice, but books are far more in-depth. Reading about someone’s life in a book takes the information and fuses it with stories.

Stories make the learning stick.

No one will be able to stop you in life if you make the crazy decision to read a book a week.

Each extraordinary learner I have studied for the last six years is obsessed with books. I’d go as far as saying they’d rather starve than give up reading books.

Books are a purchase they view as an investment, not an expense on their balance sheet of life.

4. Learners are stupidly consistent.

You won’t find them learning for one hour a year. Or writing their learning goal down on their new year’s’ resolutions list.

Learners consistently learn because they’ve made learning a habit.

The decision to learn has been automated by their consistency. When you’re consistent, you build a pattern. You apply that pattern to your process and away you go.

I learned the skill of writing by starting out publishing four full-length blog posts a week. I was a really shit writer to begin with but it didn’t matter. I learned to write by being consistent.

Whatever skill you want to develop, find a way to be consistent. Schedule skill acquisition, as a meeting with yourself in your calendar, if you have to.

5. Learners make time to think.

Learners are thinkers first and foremost. They weren’t born thinkers. They made time to think.

Sitting at home and looking out the window in complete silence is drastically underrated. Sitting still and thinking about a problem is powerful. Daydreaming is even more powerful.

Daydreaming is where you unlock your imagination and use it to serve you. Your imagination can come up with wild ideas that lead to the best learning of your life.

Dare to dream. Stop letting society kick the learning out of you by listening to the negativity and letting it block your imagination.

6. Learners make problems their WHY.

Having a reason to learn matters. Learns use problems as their why. A problem fascinates them and they choose to learn about it.

That decision to learn leads them down a rabbit hole. Finding a solution becomes a game. And when you gamify learning, it’s really enjoyable.

Gamified learning is addictive.

7. Learners create more than they consume.

Overconsumption kills a learner’s dreams.

The point of learning is to create and apply what you’ve learned. Excessive streaming and consumption of social media takes you away from the time you need to learn. Sure, enjoy a bit of TV, but do you really need to consume the whole series?

Roughly calculate how much time you spend each week consuming vs creating. Shift the percentage split slightly in the favor of creating and you’ll see huge changes in your life.

8. Learners do this: Practice.

Without practice, all learning becomes is mental foreplay.

The whole point is to practice what you’ve learned. You’ll probably stuff up a lot or look stupid in front of a group of online strangers. Who cares Bob.

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice leads to more learning. Practice is the fun part. It’s where you get to explore what you’ve learned. Practice leads to action and later that could lead you to change your entire career.

What you’ve learned and then practiced could become the work you do which helps you earn a living. You may even label it as work you love.

9. Learners never stop learning.

That’s what is extraordinary about Mr Ferriss, Ben, Danny, Derek, and Lady Op’s (Oprah). They never stop learning. Learning is a game that never ends.

They keep on learning and then spread the art of learning to others. They preach learning because learning is what defined everything they achieved.

Those who never stop learning have come to terms with one truth about life: we know nothing. You will never know much about anything and that’s the paradoxical brilliance of learning.

Final Thought

Become an extraordinary learner. Follow this process:

  • Learn
  • Question what you’ve learned
  • Unlearn some of what you’ve learned

When your focus is to learn, your goals in life are achieved 10X faster.

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