Pixels, Politics and P2P – Internet Days Stockholm 2016

Internet Days Logo

I just got back from the Internet Days conference in Stockholm, Sweden. I was flattered when I was asked to speak at this prestigious event, but I had no idea until I arrived just how much fun it would be.


I loved the branding of he conference as it was all about pixels and love. Things we now need more of – the latter more than the former. As a presenter, I felt incredibly pampered. I had a driver pick me up at the airport (which I didn’t know, so I took the train) and I was put up in the pretty amazing Waterfront hotel connected to the convention centre of the conference.

chris loves internet

This was the first time I heard about the internet days and for those who haven’t either, I can only recommend it. Imagine a mixture of a deep technical conference on all matters internet – connectivity, technologies and programming – mixed with a TED event on current political matters.

The technology setup was breathtaking. The stage tech was flawless and all the talks were streamed and live edited (mixed with slides). Thus they became available on YouTube about an hour after you delivered them. Wonderful work, and very rewarding as a presenter.

I talked in detail about my keynote in another post, so here are the others I enjoyed:

Juliana Rotich of BRCK and Ushahidi fame talked about connectivity for the world and how this is far from being a normal thing.

Erika Baker gave a heartfelt talk about how she doesn’t feel safe about anything that is happening in the web world right now and how we need to stop seeing each other as accounts but care more about us as people.

Incidentally, this reminded me a lot of my TEDx talk in Linz about making social media more social again:

The big bang to end the first day of the conference was of course the live skype interview with Edward Snowden. In the one hour interview he covered a lot of truths about security, privacy and surveillance and he had many calls to action anyone of us can do now.

What I liked most about him was how humble he was. His whole presentation was about how it doesn’t matter what will happen to him, how it is important to remember the others that went down with him, and how he wishes for us to use the information we have now to make sure our future is not one of silence and fear.

In addition to my keynote I also took part in a panel discussion on how to inspire creativity.

The whole conference was about activism of sorts. I had lots of conversations with privacy experts of all levels: developers, network engineers, journalists and lawyers. The only thing that is a bit of an issue is that most talks outside the keynotes were in Swedish, but having lots of people to chat with about important issues made up for this.

The speaker present was a certificate that all the CO2 our travel created was off-set by the conference and an Arduino-powered robot used to teach kids. In general, the conference was about preservation and donating to good courses. There was a place where you can touch your conference pass and coins will fall into a hat describing that your check-in just meant that the organisers donated a Euro to doctors without frontiers.


The catering was stunning and with the omission of meat CO2 friendly. Instead of giving out water bottles the drinks were glasses of water, which in Stockholm is in some cases better quality than bottled water.

I am humbled and happy that I could play my part in this great event. It gave me hope that the web isn’t just run over by trolls, privileged complainers and people who don’t care if this great gift of information exchange is being taken from us bit by bit.

Make sure to check out all the talks, it is really worth your time. Thank you to everyone involved in this wonderful event!

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Future Decoded 2016 – My talk on Machine Learning, Terminators and Star Trek

Yesterday I went to the Excel in London for Future Decoded to learn a lot about the future of technology, finally see the DeLorian from Back to the Future and give a talk. I covered Machine Learning, its ethics, its effects on the job market and what we as developers need to do to make Artificial Intelligence work for rather than against humans.

DeLorian from Back to the Future

Apparently it was more relaxing that the Great British Bake Off:

Sadly, there was no video recording, but I recorded my own screencast again. The video is on YouTube

The slides are available on SlideShare.

I will repeat this talk slightly amended and more about the ethics and ideas as the Friday Keynote of the upcoming Øredev Conference in Malmø so see you there?

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View Source Conference Berlin 2016

An overview

View Source is an intimate, single-track conference for web developers, now in its second year.

View Source 2016 takes place in Berlin, Germany, September 12-14, beginning with Ignite lightning talks on Monday evening, followed by two full days of great presenters, curated conversations, and sociable evenings. Tickets are still on sale.

Here’s a quick look at our lineup of main stage speakers — 16 great reasons to go! Discounted tickets are still available if you register now. (Note: this link applies the MOZHACKS discount. Bring a friend!). We’d love to meet you there.


View Source Conference at the Gerding Theater in Portland, OR 2015. (© Photo by Jakub Mosur Photography)

Sixteen speakers, and much, much more

Belén Albeza – engineer and game developer on the Mozilla Developer Relations Team.”Coding like a girl since 1996.”

Rachel Andrew – web developer, speaker and author. Co-founder of the really little CMS Perch.

Hadley Beeman – Open data, open standards & technology policy. “Mission: Using open data, open standards and online collaboration to improve government and daily life.

  • View Source keynote: State of the Web

View Source Conference is the inaugural Mozilla hosted web developer conference held at the Gerding Theater in Portland, OR from November 2-4, 2015. (© Photo by Jakub Mosur Photography)

Myles Borins“musician, artist, developer and inventor. He works for IBM spending most of his time contributing to the node.js ecosystem.”

Ola Gasidlo“JavaScript && daughter driven development. Lead developer.”

Dominique Hazael-Massieux“W3C Staff, working on next generation of Web technologies (incl JS APIs and WebRTC), with specific mobile focus.”

Helen Holmes – coder, author, and all round client-side wonk. “@firefoxdevtools @mozilla?? design, type, IoT, feminist, swift, javascript, español, white ally

Jeremy Keith“An Irish web developer working with @Clearleft curating @dConstruct, and more.”

Robert Nyman – “Global Lead for Developer Feedback & Communities, Web Platform, at Google. Helps developers in creating great things!

  • View Source keynote: The Future of the Web – Progressive Web Apps and Beyond
  • Website: Robert Nyman

Tracy Osborn – “Author of @HelloWebApp and creator of @WeddingLovely. Designer-developer-entreprenerd who loves being outside and climbing mountains.

Lena Reinhard“Team Lead @TravisCI, Speaker, Photographer, Feminist Killjoy.”

Dan Shappir – “My job is to make 85 million websites… load and execute faster #perfmatters

Jen Simmons – “Designer Advocate at Mozilla. Host & executive producer of The Web Ahead podcast. Excited about new CSS for web page layout & revolutionizing editorial design.

Mike Taylor – “Web Compat at Mozilla. I mostly tweet about crappy code.

Estelle Weyl – “0.10X Engineer. Snuggler of dogs. Trainer of slugs. Never has an opinion. Always has many.

Chris Wilson“World Wide Web Shaman. Freethinker.”

It’s a brilliant lineup.

And that’s just a rundown of the main stage speakers for Tuesday and Wednesday. The View Source experience begins Monday evening with a collection of Ignite talks, and the schedule continues with workshops, demos, discussion areas, and evening social events through Wednesday. Join us!


View Source Conference at the Gerding Theater in Portland, OR 2015. (© Photo by Jakub Mosur Photography)

If you can’t be in Berlin next month…

Rest assured that all the View Source speaker talks will be recorded and made available after the event. We will let you know where to find them as they are released. Want to have a look at last year’s conference talks? Check out the View Source 2015 channel on Air Mozilla, Mozilla’s video platform. Got questions, comments, concerns? Please tweet to @viewsourceconf and we will respond.

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My closing keynote at Awwwards NYC 2016: A New Hope – the web strikes back

Last week I was lucky enough to give the closing keynote at the Awwwards Conference in New York.

serviceworker beats appcache

Following my current fascination, I wanted to cover the topic of Progressive Web Apps for an audience that is not too technical, and also very focused on delivering high-fidelity, exciting and bleeding edge experiences on the web.

Getting slightly too excited about my Star Wars based title, I got a bit overboard with bastardising Star Wars quotes in the slides, but I managed to cover a lot of the why of progressive web apps and how it is a great opportunity right now.

I covered:

  • The web as an idea and its inception: independent, distributed and based on open protocols
  • The power of links
  • The horrible environment that was the first browser wars
  • The rise of standards as a means to build predictable, future-proof products
  • How we became too dogmatic about standards
  • How this lead to rebelling developer using JavaScript to build everything
  • Why this is a brittle environment and a massive bet on things working flawlessly on our users’ computers
  • How we never experience this as our environments are high-end and we’re well connected
  • How we defined best practices for JavaScript, like Unobtrusive JavaScript and defensive coding
  • How libraries and frameworks promise to fix all our issues and we’ve become dependent on them
  • How a whole new generation of developers learned development by copying and pasting library-dependent code on Stackoverflow
  • How this, among other factors, lead to a terribly bloated web full of multi-megabyte web sites littered with third party JavaScript and library code
  • How to rise of mobile and its limitations is very much a terrible environment for those to run in
  • How native apps were heralded as the solution to that
  • How we retaliated by constantly repeating that the web will win out in the end
  • How we failed to retaliate by building web-standard based apps that played by the rules of native – an environment where the deck was stacked against browsers
  • How right now our predictions partly came true – the native environments and closed marketplaces are failing to deliver right now. Users on mobile use 5 apps and download on average not a single new one per month
  • How users are sick of having to jump through hoops to try out some new app and having to lock themselves in a certain environment
  • How the current state of supporting mobile hardware access in browsers is a great opportunity to build immersive experiences with web technology
  • How ServiceWorker is a great opportunity to offer offline capable solutions and have notifications to re-engage users and allow solutions to hibernate
  • How Progressive Web Apps are a massive opportunity to show native how software distribution should happen in 2016

Yes, I got all that in. See for yourself :).

The slides are available on SlideShare

You can watch the screencast of the video on YouTube.

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[German] Basta 2016 Keynote: Fahrvergnügen ohne Handbremse – IE ist tot, lang lebe das Web

Webdesign nach Edge magazin

Die letzten drei Tage war ich in Darmstadt auf der BASTA Konferenz, um mich mit Leuten über den Tod von IE, dem Selbstverständnis eines immergrünen Browsers in Windows, des Open Source releases von Chakra und Machine Learning mit Project Oxford zu unterhalten. Neben eines Interviews mit Entwickler TV und kiloweise tollem Essens habe ich dann auch die Keynote gehalten.

Publikum in meinem Vortrag
Die Slides zum runterladen gibt es auf Slideshare.

Den Screencast gibt es wie immer auf YouTube.

In den etwa 20 minuten habe ich die Basta Seite auseinandergenommen und einige Mythen der Webentwicklung zerlegt. Ausserdem gehts um Rolltreppen und japanische Toiletten.

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Web Professional Trends 2016 – Web Security

2016 – The more things change, the more they remain the same. Web security is and will continue to make the news in 2016 (and that is not a good thing). Yes, we will continue to see social engineering (never under-estimate the social engineering power of a clipboard; never forget some people will reveal their password for a pen). We will continue to see phishing (and other forms of malicious email). Malware will continue to be an issue (along with ransomware and other trends). All this has been news for the past decade. And it will not go away in 2016.

My intent is to focus on what is new, why this topic is vitally important to Web professionals, what you need to know to protect yourself and others including your clients and how our community could improve the future of Web security and the sustainability of our profession.

What’s new in Web security issues

  • What is new in 2016 is greater reliance on the Internet of Things (IoT). Personally, I have more and more devices connected to my home network. I am not alone. I know these devices rely on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I also know that security seems to be an afterthought on many of these devices.
  • Wearable technology is another area which is growing (and which often relies on the same web technologies – HTML, CSS, JS). We should have security concerns about these devices as well. Specifically, they often touch other devices (such as our smartphones with a wealth of data). Security breaches can go well beyond a watch or fitness device.

What does this mean for the Web professional?

We tend to rely more and more on the cloud for all sorts of activities. Personally, I have spent a fair amount of time investigating technologies like Docker Containers. What I struggle with is how secure many of these repositories are (we have to depend on others as we do not see the underlying infrastructure). We also have to make the assumption that the items we use from repositories are free of malware.

What you need to know:

  • As web professionals, we need to remain vigilant and monitor our applications for breaches and any unusual events.
  • We also need to stay on top of emerging technologies. When we work with vendors and implement solutions, we need to question how much attention has been given to security.
  • We need to keep up to date on latest trends and always make our code as secure as possible. For example, I stress to my students they should always trust visitors to their websites, but never trust their input. We should already be in the habit of sanitizing any data provided by a web site visitor. Yes, we still read about SQL injection attacks and Cross Site Scripting. We have known how to defend against these sorts of attacks for many years. Yet, the attacks still happen.
  • We need to audit our existing code to confirm that we do defend against these sorts of attack vectors.
  • Always make an effort to confirm what you are installing is secure (and free of malicious code).
  • New attack vectors emerge all the time. We need to understand these threats and the implications on our existing code.
  • We need to be ready, remain vigilant, and keep up to date on emerging threats.
  • When you install any new device, make certain you have an idea of how vulnerable it is to attack (and where the attacks are likely to come from).
  • Continue to educate your clients on the dangers of these sorts of attacks.

We’re hopeful that you find our resources helpful. By aligning with a professional association we aim to support you in staying current with trends and to bring you the informational resources to succeed. As a professional organization, we also help educate. We can help you network with others. 2016 will be a combination of old attacks and new ones. We help each other through our network. Check out the other Web professional trends and if you’re not already a subscriber sign up. Future posts will include more on sustainability, what this means for the future of web professional, web-centric education and more in depth tutorials on web design, web development (including web security) and web business trends.

Best always,
Mark DuBois, Community Evangelist and Director of Education

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Web Professionals trends – 2016 -Web Marketing

We just experienced a major marketing event in the U.S. Some call it the Super Bowl. We all have favorite commercials; these days, there were a number of ads with an associated web link or a social media hashtag. This is not news. What is news and important to know for Web professionals is:

  • the growing trend and the  increased reliance on social media; pre- and post- game
  • and the rise of metrics measuring many aspects of these interactions
  • and the added value of storytelling that sells

Why is this important for Web Professionals?

Perhaps the clearest indicator of anticipated trends was the Wix.com commercial. In addition to spoofing a number of older Super Bowl commercials, there was a clear partnership with the forthcoming Kung Fu Panda movie. In addition to this partnership, there were clear identifiers (web site and a social media hashtag #StartStunning). There was also a clear storyline running throughout the commercial.

Key takeaways

  • One of the ways we can differentiate ourselves (as Web Professionals) with web marketing is to tell compelling stories.
  • These stories need to be visual, short, memorable, and have a call to action.
  • Equally important, most businesses expect a stronger return on investment (ROI).

What you need to know: Partnerships are important

Partnering is also a growing trend. For example, if we are not up to the task alone, collaborate with those who can tell a compelling story. Think in terms of the Wix.com ad mentioned above. This may involve working with communication professionals (if you or your group lacks the requisite skills). That will likely be a key differentiator in how content is perceived. It should also help engage site visitors and encourage them to promote these stories via social media.

For example:

  • In many ways, it really is about alignment with the right individuals (and companies).
  • Whether we need help with analytics on the data being collected or creating more engaging mobile experiences (particularly location based mobile experiences), we need to identify and align with those who do this well.
  • In 2016, it is nearly impossible to be “all things to all people all the time.” Therefore, we need a network to collaborate with when needed. Consider this simple example – personally, I am “graphically challenged.” I know my limitations in that area and never attempt to provide graphic content (whether logo design or color schemes) to a client.  I do know a number of good graphic artists and I work with them to meet the client’s needs.
  • This year is shaping up to be a year of significant change as many technologies mature and gain much wider acceptance (for example wearable devices).
  • We need to position ourselves to take advantage of these opportunities. Knowing the trends is a start; identifying who to partner with is critical to your success as changes happen rapidly this year.

Additional Web marketing trends

I expect that the following trends will accelerate in 2016:

  • mobile (including wearable) devices will continue to be used more in marketing efforts. Many viewing the Super Bowl use their smartphones to communicate their thoughts to friends and family.
  • social marketing is expected to continue significant growth. Think of the number of tweets and Facebook posts about the Super Bowl.
  • we will continue to rely more on analytics (and associated “big data”) to drive many of our web marketing decisions. Many times we see a commercial which points to a specific page (www.example.com/superbowl) which is only shown during a given commercial. This is one of many approaches to identify which traffic to a web page is coming as a direct result of an advertising campaign.
  • we will rely more on automation of many marketing efforts (to reach the broadest audiences quickly and efficiently).
  • content marketing will also be a major effort.

Closing thoughts:

Speaking of partnerships, one of our goals moving forward is to align our goals with yours. In other words, as a professional association for aspiring and practicing Web professionals. we’re hopeful that you find our resources helpful. By aligning with a professional association we aim to support you in staying current with trends and to bring you the informational resources to succeed. Check out the other Web professional trends and if you’re not already a subscriber sign up here. Future post will include Web security trends, sustainability, what this means for the future of web centric education and more in depth tutorials on web design, web development and Web business trends.

Best always,
Mark DuBois, Community Evangelist and Director of Education

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Web Professionals trends – 2016 – eCommerce

Opportunities abound for the Web professionals for 2016. The percentage of online sales and eCommerce continues to grow (at the expense of brick and mortar). This trend is expected to increase in 2016. The increased growth comes from use of mobile devices (particularly smartphones). In fact, some have predicted revenue from sales via smartphones may exceed sales from desktop devices in 2016.


Why is this important for Web Professionals?


We anticipate that consumers will also want their experiences to richer in content. Just having a static photo of a product may have worked in the past; but today’s consumers want much more. This will likely include video and increased use of social media in marketing channels. We expect greater reliance on the entire customer experience. Yes, user experience matters.


What you need to know:


  • Confirm your website is mobile friendly. Sadly, many in early 2016 still are not.
  • Make certain the technologies you employ on your website are able to take advantage of approaches (such as location-based marketing).
  • Confirm your infrastructure will handle richer customer experiences. Although it is 2016, many sites still struggle with video and related experiences.


Now is the time to understand these rapid changes happening in eCommerce and make certain you are working on projects to support customers now and in the future.


Fast Facts



Jonathan Lacoste recently discussed 3 marketing trends for eCommerce in 2016 via Inc.that warrant a closer look:

  • micro-moment marketing – those moments when a consumer grabs their smartphone to look something up. Retailers will do their best to become part of that micro-moment.
  • location-based marketing – the use of beacons is expected to grow significantly in 2016. This allows retailers to know precisely where their customer is located (and respond with appropriate messages – perhaps coupons for a percentage off – if you act now).
  • onsite personalization – think in terms of a digital shopping assistant.


Check out WebProfessionals.org ShoolofWeb.org education portal for additional educational and training resources. For additional information on previously posted Web Professional Trends visit our blog.


Best always,

Mark DuBois, Community Evangelist and Director of Education

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Web Professional trends – 2016 – web development

In many ways, 2016 is shaping up to be an incredible year for changes in web development. Of course, that statement also applied to 2015, 2014; the more things change, the more they remain the same. That being said, here are some trends we see that we believe Web Professionals (particularly web developers and project managers) need to know about this year. These seem to be gaining momentum (and are the most obvious as we write this).


NoSSQL databases will be used more and more. Massive amounts of data (and associated analytics) are being used in applications and these applications (and analytics) are more real time than ever before. This is why we see trends like the InnoDB engine being added to MySQL. Availability and speed seem to be the focus today. For example, applications like Moodle rely more and more on InnoDB.


Animations are making a comeback to draw attention to parts of a page. This can be as simple as parallax scrolling or animations as one hovers over a part of a web page. Yes, CSS can be employed for some of these effects, but many will continue to rely on JS frameworks.


Page load speed is also becoming increasingly important. Most site visitors do not want to wait more than a few moments for a page to load. Keep in mind that we just stated animations are making a comeback (so your animations must load quickly – use CSS-3 where appropriate instead of JavaScript). Take advantage of approaches to reduce page load times (whether using a CDN [Content Delivery Network] or using GZIP to compress images and text).


There remain a number of language choices. For example, JavaScript and Java remain the most popular on GitHub. Make certain you are well versed in more than one (for example, JavaScript, PHP, and Python). Make certain you have examples to show to potential clients. Make certain you understand how to employ secure coding techniques in the languages you use. Details can be found at GitHub.


The use of containers (relying on Docker) will continue to grow. The big advantage to this approach is that one container has the dependencies to run the application. We don’t need to focus so much on the environment where the application will be deployed. This quote (from the Docker website) sums up this approach:


“Docker containers wrap up a piece of software in a complete filesystem that contains everything it needs to run: code, runtime, system tools, system libraries – anything you can install on a server. This guarantees that it will always run the same, regardless of the environment it is running in.”


Ok, what does this mean for web professionals? We already know that page load times matter. So does responsive design. We need to continue to reinforce that message to clients (and potential clients). Have a set of specific reasons why these items matter. Prepare and present your arguments using the lens of business. For example, if a page takes too long to load, it is likely our customer will go to a competitor’s website. Here is how we can reduce the load times…


Are you comfortable talking about NoSQL? Do you have an example of a project where you used NoSQL?  What about containers/ Docker? Can you explain these in terms a business client will understand? If not, spend some time developing basic information to share with clients. Help them understand why these trends are important. Most importantly, time is money. This is why containers are gaining in popularity so quickly. The old approach of creating virtual environments takes a lot of time (and most businesses don’t have that time to spend these days). Similarly, NoSQL is rising because of the amount of data and need to access it quickly. No, these databases may not meet all the ACID requirements. But you still need to know about them as your partners and clients will also be observing these trends (and wanting to use them in new projects this year).


Now is a good time to retool if you are not that familiar with these trends.


As an association for web professionals and those that teach, our goal is to keep you current with these trends. Also, we’re working on developing course structure on our training portal at our schoolofweb.org.


We hope that your new year is off to a great start.

Best always,
Mark DuBois, Community Evangelist and Director of Education

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Web Professional Trends 2016 – Employment

A recent Computerworld forecast reminded us that web development continues to crack the list of the top 10 most in-demand IT skills. Organizations have come to rely on the Web as a key channel for connecting with customers, clients, partners and employees. Most organizations no longer need to establish a web presence; they now need people with the ability to insure their sites are usable, accessible and ready for business.

This is not news to any  practicing Web Professional. We have known this for years. Yes, there are many opportunities (both from a technical and non-technical perspective).  What is new is the rapid proliferation of technology choices when leveraging the Web for business. A decade ago, few gave any thought to a mobile experience. Now we need responsive websites and many clamor for apps. As Web Professionals today, we are confronted with these key issues:

  • What does it mean to have a web presence?
  • What does it mean to be ready and open for business?

It is so easy to create a web presence that many parts of organizations are doing it (whether shadow projects or sponsored). Yet, many of the individuals involved are not Web professionals. They do not think in terms of user experience, accessibility, search engine rank and many of the other aspects we consider when developing and expanding sites. Yes, it will be up to us and others to help educate others that there is more to a web presence than just code and basic content. Otherwise, we will eventually be handed a “steaming pile” created by someone else and have to clean it up. We can no longer work in silos, nor can we ignore the work of those using these tools which make it easy to develop a web presence. We recognize this is an uphill battle.

We also need to help others understand what it means to be open for business. There are many things to consider (such as how you collect payments, what customer information to retain, what metrics to track, how to measure the success of various initiatives and campaigns and more). Web professionals who have a solid understanding of business and marketing (hybrid individuals who understand both the technology and the business) will be the ones most in demand. It is no longer up to small groups or individuals with a narrow focus. We also need to be very aware of security issues and how to defend against many attack vectors as well as how to respond if a site or app is compromised.

Here at WebProfessionals.org, our intent is to help you identify opportunities to prosper in today’s challenging times. There are many different aspects which one can pursue (many with technical skills and many without). Social media, content management, user experience are some of many opportunities which have arisen in the past few years.

As a not for profit organization supporting aspiring and practicing web professionals, we intend to help you navigate through the noise.

  • First, focus on what you like to do as a web professional. There is likely a job associated. Make certain you are able to communicate the value you bring to the business (and do so on a regular basis).
  • Make certain you have the ability to be a team player. Make an effort to share your knowledge, skills, and abilities with others on a regular basis.
  • As importantly, develop a set of talking points to help educate others who may not understand why these issues are important (and why a professional is needed).
  • Lastly, focus on how you can keep your skills in your chosen area current. What have you done to “sharpen the saw” this month?

Best always,
Mark DuBois, Community Evangelist and Director of Education

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