STEP2017

The largest interactive gathering in MENA
April 5, 6, & 7 | Dubai International Marine Club

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STEP Conference

The largest interactive gathering in MENA bringing thousands of entrepreneurs, investors and tech & media enthusiasts together with the best of technology, digital and entertainment industries in a 2-day event loaded with talks, exhibitions and signature happenings.

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About

STEP Music

STEP Music in partnership with Anghami is bringing together music leaders, record labels, producers and artists together under one roof to explore the latest trends, challenges and the future of the regional music industry – all combined with live performances from some of the region’s top independent artists!

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More Speakers to Be Announced Soon

Speakers

du

Osman Sultan

Osman Sultan is the founding CEO of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC-du. Having joined the company in January 2006. Today, in less than a decade of operations, du has reported annual revenues exceeding USD 3.4 billion and a market share of 47% under his guidance and leadership.

Sultan has enjoyed a successful career for over 30 years spanning Europe, North America and the MENA region. Prior to joining du, Sultan was the founding CEO of another successful Middle Eastern operator – Mobinil in Egypt he set up in 1998. During his tenure, he achieved his vision of putting ‘a mobile in the hands of everyone.’

A notable public speaker, Sultan often shares his knowledge and experience at industry lectures on the subjects of the digital society, the Internet, telecommunications and information technology. He has also mentored a generation of key telecom sector players, who have gone on to occupy leadership roles, many of them as CEOs across the world.

As one of the most influential figures in the region in the telecommunications field, Sultan’s drive and acute business acumen has earned him several industry accolades, including being selected as one of the most 100 powerful executives in the telecoms industry in the world on GTB Power 100 List in 2010 and 2011. In his free time, Osman Sultan spends quality time with his family – his wife, five children and his parents.

Hyperloop One

Colin Rhys

Colin Rhys’s desire to explore the human experience in relation to environment and creativity launched in 2004, with his role as owner/executive director of the RHYS art gallery. Simultaneously at RHYS’s founding, Colin began his education at Tufts University later earning degrees in Fine Arts and Entrepreneurial Leadership. Nine years, stunning international exhibitions in six different continents & over thirty-two countries later, RHYS was a globally-recognized brand. Ignited by his unequivocal success in fine arts, Colin was driven to the intersections of design and architecture in 2010.

He began building and designing bespoke residences in the greater Los Angeles area for the Xanadu Group, with the purpose to enrich human experience in physical spaces. His Xanadu spaces were more than just homes, with work spanning commercial projects and high profile landscapes. Colin became a master craftsmen of entire environments, capable of creating aesthetic worlds for his clients that held not only innovation, but purpose.

Inspired to adventure not only in his design, Colin founded the Xanadu Explorers Society in 2012. Guided by the pursuit of knowledge and interpersonal connection through the outdoors, the Explorer’s Society knows no bounds. With expedition goals to see all natural seven wonders of the world in seven years — Paricutin volcano, the Aurora Borealis and the Grand Canyon already visited — the journey remains to unfold.

By 2016, after recognized successes on multimillion dollar projects—several of which earned international acclaim, awards and critical acknowledgement, including multiple features on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing – Colin was ready for his next creative evolution. Hyperloop became that visionary opportunity where Colin’s passion of the experiential and his expertise in design intersects with a company whose mission will rewrite our ideas of transportation.

Dentsu Inc.

Kei Shimada

Kei Shimada is a Japanese American entrepreneur from New York. After working for global companies big and small, he successfully established and ran Infinita, one of Japan’s first multinational mobile strategy firms.

Today Kei is Global Director of Innovation and Business Development of Dentsu Inc., Japan’s largest agency. He is responsible for leading a group wide innovation initiative while supporting the growth around 10 core areas of innovative technologies including artificial intelligence, biometrics, drones, fintech, IoT, locational big data, robots, space, VR/AR and wearables.

Kei also works with government ministries and municipal governments on crisis management infrastructures, going beyond the traditional advertising business to cultivate new and sustainable business opportunities. He leads a project team that created Japan's first smart device based evacuation management platform and evacuation shelter database and holds several related patents. The team is the only team in Japan that has won three government awards (each by a different ministry) in this category. He is also the Chief Lab Officer of dmLab, Dentsu’s media innovation lab in South East Asia.

Kei is one of the world’s most prominent speakers. He has delivered keynote presentations and moderated panels on future tech in more than 20 countries around the globe.

Wamda Capital

Fadi Ghandour

Fadi Ghandour is Chairman and Managing Partner at Wamda Capital. Founder and Vice Chairman of Aramex, Fadi is also Co-Founder of Mena Venture Investments, the leading seed stage tech investment company, and is a founding investor in Maktoob.com, and sits on the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, and the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab, and the Board of Abraaj Group. Fadi is passionate about social entrepreneurship where he founded and chairs, Ruwwad for Development, and entrepreneurs-led youth empowerment organization.

Jabbar Internet Group

Samih Toukan

In the year 2000 Samih founded and became the CEO of Maktoob.com the world’s first Arabic email and largest Arab Online community. In 2005 Samih cofounded Souq.com, the Arab Worlds largest ecommerce site. In 2009 Maktoob was acquired by Yahoo! and in 2017 Souq.com was acquired by Amazon in the largest technology acquisition deals in the history of the region.

Samih is currently the Chairman of Jabbar Internet Group (Jabbar.com). Jabbar today is one of the leading investors in Internet and technology companies in the region.

Samih holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of London and a Masters in Management and International Business from HEC University in France.

On 9/9/2009 Samih received Al Hussein Medal for Distinguished Performance of the First Order from His Majesty King Abdullah II in recognition of his contribution to the IT and Telecommunications sector in Jordan and the region.

On 15/12/2016 Samih received the Social Media Entrepreneurship Award for the private sector from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed al Maktoom in Dubai.

In 2011 and in 2012 Samih was named by ArabianBusiness magazine as one of the most 500 influential Arabs in the world. In 2014 Samih received the Takreem award for Outstanding Corporate Leadership in the Arab World.

Samih serves on several boards of companies and organizations and this year he was appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation of His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Jordan. Between 2003 and 2005 , Samih was appointed by the Jordanian government as a member of the board of the Social Security Investment Fund (a fund of several billion Dollars).

Today Samih is an active investor, investing in many startups in the region and around the world. He also acts as a mentor to many entrepreneurs. Samih is also a founding investor in Oasis500, Jordan’s leading startup incubator.

Furthermore Samih is the Chairman of the board of UnderMyOliveTree, a non profit organization focusing on educational support for the unprivileged, and an investor and member of the board of Ruwwad Micro Venture Fund, which provides grants for entrepreneurs in marginalized communities in Jordan. He is also a cofounder of the RBK bootcamp in Jordan to train and graduate Jordanian and refugee computer programmers.

Souq.com

Ronaldo Mouchawar

Ronaldo Mouchawar holds a Master's degree in Digital Communications and a Bachelor degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

He has accumulative 15 years of experience in technology, and business management. He served as a technical and systems consultant with EDS in the US. In 2000, he spearheaded a consulting company that managed numerous, web and e-commerce projects in the Arab world. In 2005, he launched souq.com the first auction site for the Arab world.

Today Ronaldo is the co-founder and CEO of souq.com (www.souq.com) which has grown to be the largest online shopping mall in the Arab world.

Souq.com provides buyers and sellers with a convenient, competitive and safe shopping experience - with the widest selection of brands and products - anywhere in the region.

IBM

Maged Wassim

Maged Wassim is the Vice President for the IBM Cloud Business Unit across Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, including Pakistan and Turkey. His responsibilities include coverage for Cloud Software, Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS), Cloud Services and Advisory. His mission is driven by Innovation with Cloud which is leveraged through a growing ecosystem of enterprise customers, business partners, entrepreneurs, ISV’s and academia.

Maged joined IBM in 1999. He worked in the Consulting Services business as an Account Manager and acted as the Public Sector leader for Middle East and Africa. In 2010, he became the Integrated Technology Services Executive covering MEA region. In 2012, Maged led the building of IBM’s Business Partner network in GeoExpansion territories including Latin America, Africa, Central Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia Pacific, India, China and Australia.

In 2014, Maged became Vice President, Industry and Value Creation for IBM Middle East & Africa. As such, he was responsible for the strategy and execution of Cloud, Big Data & Analytics, Social and Mobile portfolios as well as other key growth initiatives for IBM globally across the Communication, Financial and Public sectors.

Entrepreneur & Venture Investor

Christopher Schroeder

Christopher M. Schroeder is an American entrepreneur, advisor and investor in interactive technologies and social communications.

He is author of the recent best seller, and first book on startups in the Arab World, Startup Rising -- The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East.

Schroeder was the CEO and Publisher of washingtonpost.newsweek interactive and co-founder of the Silicon Valley venture capital backed startupHealthCentral.com.

Schroeder serves on the board of advisers of the American University of Cairo School of Business, American University School of International Service, and the boards of directors of the American University of Beirut, The German Marshall Fund and the American Council on Germany.

He is on the Investment Committee of The Wamda Fund, one of the largest venture capital funds in the Middle East. He has co-led the Economic Recovery and Revitalization working group of the Atlantic Council's Middle East Strategy Task Force.

He was named one of LinkedIn's first 50 Influencers. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Business School.

Careem

Christian Eid

Resident crazy, Christian heads up our marketing and finds it difficult to do things by the book. A true people person, he leads a team of equally innovative thinkers and strives to make sure Careem provides the vehicle to take colleagues, captains and customers further than they ever thought possible. Committed to the region, Christian drives our mission to build an institution that harnesses the trailblazing potential of the MENAP region as well as amplify the boldness of our ambitions.

Anghami

Eddy Maroun

Eddy is the co-founder of Anghami – the leading music streaming service in the Middle East. In late 2012, seizing the opportunity of a lack of proper digital music service, Eddy and his partner Elie Habib launched Anghami (meaning My Tunes in Arabic). Since then, Anghami has reached over 33 million users, streams close to 20 million licensed Arabic & English tracks and is integrated with 20 mobile operators. Anghami successfully raised VC money from MEVP and recently from Samena Capital, it also has 2 telcos on board Mobily-KSA and du-UAE - it partnered with MBC the largest media group in the region.

Cadillac

Nadim Ghrayeb

Nadim Ghrayeb, Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for Cadillac Middle East, is responsible for driving all strategies relating to sales operations across the region and the communication of the brand.

His previous position as the Regional Brand Manager for Cadillac Middle East saw him focusing exclusively on achieving long-term marketing objectives and delivering sustainable brand growth solutions.

His previous position as the Regional Brand Manager for Cadillac Middle East saw him focusing exclusively on achieving long-term marketing objectives and delivering sustainable brand growth solutions.

Ghrayeb first joined GM as a Marketing Manager for Cadillac Middle East, a title that saw him spearhead cross-media communications initiatives for the luxury auto brand – spanning myriad product launches – across key markets.

Ghrayeb holds a Bachelor of Science from Beirut’s Lebanese American University.

UAE’s Ambassador to Russia

Omar Ghobash

Omar Saif Ghobash is the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Russian Federation. He is also the author of the recently published book Letters to a Young Muslim, which is written as a series of personal letters to his older son and offers a bold and intimate exploration of what it means to be Muslim in the twenty-first century.

Ghobash began his career with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomat at the UAE Mission to the United Nations. Prior to his appointment to Moscow in 2008, Ghobash founded the Third Line, Dubai’s first international contemporary art gallery showcasing artists from the Middle East. He is also a founding trustee of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction, which runs with the support of the Booker Prize Foundation in London; sponsors the Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation in memory of his father, Saif Ghobash, who was the UAE’s first minister of state for foreign affairs; and serves on the acquisition committee of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the advisory body of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, and the board of trustees of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy in Abu Dhabi.

Ghobash was born in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah in 1971 and is of Arab and Russian descent. He studied law at Balliol College, Oxford University, and mathematics at the University of London.

Facebook

Jonathan Labin

Jonathan is an experienced and hands on tech and media leader that is passionate about building high performance teams and growing businesses internationally.

He is the head of the Middle East, North Africa & Pakistan at Facebook and leads the regional office in Dubai. As Facebook’s first employee in the Middle East & North Africa, he built the MENA team and business from the ground up and is responsible for growing revenues across Facebook’s family of brands. In September 2016, Jonathan was named media and marketing business leader of the year by Gulf Business.

Prior to Facebook, Jonathan was VP, Head of Ad Sales, Emerging Markets at MTV Networks and tasked with maximizing advertising revenues for brands like MTV, VIVA, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central across all media channels. During his tenure at MTV Networks, he also held the position of Strategy & Business Development Director for Viacom International, and played a key role in strengthening the company’s position across multiple lines of business and regions.

His passion for the technology and startup ecosystem combined with the corporate finance experience he gained as a consultant at Stern Stewart & Co also led him to become an investor and active advisor to a variety of startups in the Middle East.

Jonathan holds an MBA with highest distinction from Columbia Business School in New York and bachelor degrees in International Business from Universidad Pontificia Commillas in Madrid and the European School of Business in Reutlingen.

He speaks 3 languages fluently and has lived in Germany, Spain, Argentina, the US, the UK and the UAE.

Google

Matt Brittin

Matt heads up Google’s business and operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa - helping consumers and businesses make the most of the digital opportunity.

Joining Google in 2007 to help build its business in the UK, he became MD of Google UK two years later. In 2011, he was promoted to VP of Northern and Central Europe, before taking over as President of Business and Operations in EMEA in 2014.

Matt is a non-executive director of Sainsbury’s, and a Trustee of charity The Media Trust. Matt has had a long career in media and marketing, joining Google from the newspaper industry, where he led commercial and digital operations at the biggest UK publisher. He previously worked at management consultancy McKinsey.

He has an MBA from London Business School, an MA from Cambridge and won silver medals for Cambridge in several Boat Races. He was also a member of the British rowing team and has won medals in eights and fours at the World Rowing Championships and represented Great Britain at the Olympics. In 2014, he was appointed a Steward of Henley Royal Regatta and he still rows regularly, though more slowly.

Matt lives in London, near the Thames, with his wife, teenage sons and small dog.

Uber

Anthony Le Roux

Anthony joined Uber in December 2013 as General Manager of Cape Town. A year and a half later, he moved to Poland to manage and expand Uber’s Eastern Europe - covering Poland, the Baltics, the Balkans as well as the CIS markets. In mid 2016, he moved back to Cape Town, now overseeing the whole of Uber’s Middle East, Africa and Pakistan (MEA) rides business. In this role, Anthony covers market strategy and operations in the MEA region, and works with expansion teams to identify and manage new market entries.

Having grown up in South Africa, Anthony began his career in investment banking at Standard Bank, providing mergers and acquisitions advice to a broad range of companies in the SSA market. He holds an MBA from INSEAD, an undergraduate degree in Actuarial Science from the University of Cape Town, a Higher Diploma in Taxation Law from the University of the Witwatersrand, and is a CFA Charterholder. Anthony has a passion for technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Musician/Composer

Oussama Rahbani

Producer and composer Oussama Rahbani was born in Lebanon in 1965. As the son of the legendary composer and poet Mansour Rahbani, Oussama grew up in a family where music was a huge influence, which allowed him to acquire a rich background and experience. Along with his studies at Berklee College of Music, that experience helped him create a genre of his own. He has contributed to many of his father’s works, as composer, orchestrator and artistic consultant. But Oussama has also created, produced, composed and orchestrated several musical plays of his own. He is one of the most respected producers and composers in the Middle East. Along with many successful songs, albums, music videos and concerts, Oussama has mentored and introduced to the music scene many famous singer, including Hiba Tawaji, Carole Samaha, Rudy Dagher, Wadih Abi Raad, Youssef el Khal, Lorette Helou, and many more.

Musician

Ramy Essam

Ramy Essam became an overnight sensation during the Egyptian revolution, when the songs he performed in Tahrir Square became the anthems of a whole generation of young Egyptians struggling for a better future. International media attention quickly followed, and before long Ramy’s name was known far beyond Egypt. His song “Irhal” (“Leave”) was ranked Number Three in Time Out London’s ‘100 Songs That Changed History’.

In October 2014, Ramy was offered safe city residence in Malmö, Sweden, where he has been working on new material, creating an album where heavy rock riffs join forces with infectious Oriental beats and political street poetry demanding social justice, gender equality and human rights.

Ramy is an artist of, and for, the people. Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello, who signed Ramy to his Firebrand Records label, has described Ramy as the “hard-rock Bob Dylan of the Middle East”.

Mashrou' Leila

Hamed Sinno

Hamed Sinno is the frontman of acclaimed Lebanese alternative rock band Mashrou’ Leila, who have established themselves as the world’s biggest Arabic-language band over the past decade. Sinno and his bandmates have consistently fought to prove there is an audience for Arabic music that doesn’t fit the established commercial template – their sound is sensual and rich, celebratory and melancholy. Sinno’s distinctive vocals, his smart, evocative lyrics, and his charismatic stage presence have all been major factors in Mashrou’ Leila’s continuing success.

Anghami

Eddy Maroun

Eddy is the co-founder of Anghami – the leading music streaming service in the Middle East. In late 2012, seizing the opportunity of a lack of proper digital music service, Eddy and his partner Elie Habib launched Anghami (meaning My Tunes in Arabic). Since then, Anghami has reached over 33 million users, streams close to 20 million licensed Arabic & English tracks and is integrated with 20 mobile operators. Anghami successfully raised VC money from MEVP and recently from Samena Capital, it also has 2 telcos on board Mobily-KSA and du-UAE - it partnered with MBC the largest media group in the region.

Universal Music MENA

Patrick Boulos

Patrick Boulos is Universal Music's CEO for the Middle East and North Africa. In this capacity, he is in charge of the Group's strategy and growth in this region, which holds great promise for the development of cultural exchanges. He builds strategic partnerships and develops innovative services and tools to promote the diverse musical offering of Universal's labels. He also works to expand this catalogue by discovering local talent. Patrick’s connection with music started at a very early age; since his childhood he was surrounded by a strong musical influence and environment as his mother was a piano instructor, and he enrolled in music classes himself. A lot of his leisure time was spent listening to records, and reading about new musical trends and developments and the music makers on the scene. Attending live shows was always his passion, and his first was at the age of 11. His journey with Universal Music Group started in 2001 in Paris, France, after multiple years of advertising experience with multinational ad agencies. He moved to the Middle East in 2010 to establish the operation of the company in Dubai and to found Universal Music MENA to look after the multiple markets of this region.

JMR Productions

Jean-Marie Riachi

Jean-Marie Riachi is a multi-award-winning Lebanese arranger, composer and record producer. The first record he produced was Elissa’s Baddi Doub, which catapulted them both to stardom. In 2001, he founded the acclaimed JMR Studios in Rabieh. In 2002, he created his own label, Oriental Music Publishing.

Jean-Marie has produced songs for numerous advertisements and films throughout his career, including “Nour El Shams”, the theme tune for the 2001 movie Spy Game, starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt.

In 2006, he arranged and mixed "Light the Way", performed by José Carreras and Majida El Roumi at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. He also composed “La Ma Kholssit Lehkayi”, the all-star tribute to ex-Lebanese prime minister Rafik El Hariri, which has since become a local political anthem. In 2009, Jean-Marie teamed up with several prominent Lebanese pop singers, including Ramy Ayach and Yara, to produce the multilingual Belaaks, which presented a unique fusion between ethnic oriental instruments and an acoustic jazz band. The platinum-certified album was followed by an equally successful sequel, Belaaks 2, in 2015, which showcased unique collaborations with John Legend and Julio Iglesias.

He is currently the musical director and producer of the Arabic edition of The Voice, rated the most popular TV show in the Arab world. Jean-Marie continues to produce dozens of best-selling albums and countless hits for the biggest Arabic pop singers. He has also branched out into more alternative music genres, developing grassroots musical concepts such as "Laylet Tarab" with a selection of The Voice finalists, and producing Lebanese indie band Adonis’s latest album.

Glava Holdings

Ghassan Chartouni

Ghassan Chartouni, is a strategic planner and a key social contact to reach all individuals in the entertainment business. During his 25-years career in the music industry, Ghassan has implemented and managed media stations, organized music production, advocated management in the entertainment field and handled music publishing. He started his career as the General Manager of Ciel Fm/Sawt al Ghad, expanding its reach from Lebanon-only to Pan-Arab. Later on, Ghassan headed Music Master International, the appointed licensee company for Warner Music, Universal Music and many other labels in the Middle East. He is currently the CEO of Glava Holding, which includes artist management company Music Is My Life, music marketing enterprise Deepiu, digital labels Watary and Ghannili, production house Flava Production, and publishing company Middle East Copyrights. Ghassan has accumulated extensive knowledge – and built a solid reputation – in creative strategy¸ marketing and brand building.

The Wanton Bishops

Nader Mansour

Nader Mansour is the man behind Lebanese rock & roll outfit The Wanton Bishops. Born and raised somewhere between the Lebanese mountains and Beirut, Nader left his country in 2005 to pursue financial engineering studies in Paris, France. It wasn't long before music hijacked his soul, making everything else seem like a faint hint of life.

Nader first started playing harmonica in Parisian Jazz and Blues clubs, but it was his love of rock & roll, classical oriental music, and Beirut that sent him straight back home to form what has become the adventure of his life, The Wanton Bishops. A self-released debut EP, Bad Rhyme, in 2013, followed by a highly acclaimed full length album Sleep With The Lights On, established The Wanton Bishops as a leading force in Lebanon and the Middle East and opened the doors wide for the band to start touring.

A couple of years later, having toured from Europe to the US, Africa to India, headlining festivals, supporting prestigious names (The Who, Guns N' Roses, Lana Del Rey, Sting), Nader and his band have performed at Glastonbury, SXSW, Montreal International Jazz Festival, Rocking The Daisies and more, establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the global musical spectrum. In 2016, the band released their second EP, Nowhere Everywhere, making a shift from raw blues rock to a mix of ethnic-electronic psychedelic rock & roll that Nader calls “Lebanese Rock & Roll”. Nader arrives in Dubai on a short detour from the band’s current intensive European tour.

Musician

Hamza Hawsawi

Hamza Hawsawi, also known as Ayzee, is a prolific singer-songwriter hailing from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is best known for winning The X Factor Arabia in 2015. Hamza’s work is inspired by R&B, soul and pop music. Hamza is currently working on his debut album – recorded and produced in London, Dubai and Los Angeles – and says he can't wait to share it all with his loving and supportive fans. Although he was signed to Sony Music after winning The X Factor Arabia, he is releasing his album independently. The first single from the album, “Love A Little”, was released in January.

Sony Music Entertainment

Arun Sajjan

Arun heads the Digital Business and Marketing for Sony Music Entertainment in the Middle East region. Arun has more than 14 years experience in the music and entertainment business. He joined Sony Music in 2011 and has since been part of the ever-growing business of digital music. Since moving to Dubai with Sony Music, Arun has seen digital music develop rapidly in the region with the launch of services like Anghami, Apple Music and Deezer. Arun has worked extensively in the Indian subcontinent and Middle East region, and being part of a global company like Sony Music he gets to experience learnings from all over the world. Apart from heading the Digital Business arm, Arun has also been active in A&R, having signed Dubai-based acts including Clarita De Quiroz and Two Tone, as well as Bollywood projects, to Sony Music’s local roster. Prior to working with Sony Music, Arun worked at two of the biggest mobile Value Added Services platform companies – OnMobile and Buongiorno – working on the entertainment side of the business. Arun holds a Management degree in International Business and Marketing.

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