Collaborative Shared Workplace Cafe

In a market where differentiation, specialty coffee and customer service are key, the sub segment known as “Collaborative Workspace” or Workplace Cafe” is a viable option for any young entrepreneur. Since the demise of manufacturing in the eighties (the remnants of which are seen in current media and automotive sectors as well as whole foods) […]

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Wheel of Coffee

Like the spokes of a wheel your coffee (and your life!) will have a bumpy ride if one or more of your spokes are out of line. If your financial world is strong and healthy, yet your family or physical world is out of line you will be unable to enjoy the money! If you have fresh, boutique roasted coffee, […]

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One Little Place

One Little Place is a favourite specialty coffee outfit in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne for me in that the barista Kim Jae Hyun (Harry) is as passionate about coffee as I am. From South Korea Harry celebrates every cup with a philosophy of self improvement. Every time I visited Harry as a wholesale support […]

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Dangers of Entering A Franchise

Australia protects franchisees. I have still seen horror stories. I am not however talking about them. I’ve seen families lose everything. I’ve seen multinational franchisors go bankrupt and fly home shamed. Today I’m talking about simple competitiveness. It is simply impossible to compete in a highly competitive environment when you are in a tightly controlled […]

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Before You Start A Cafe

Read: 1. eMyth by Michael Gerber – Which hat are you wearing? You need all three! 2. Purple Cow by Seth Godin – Market differentiation is the bare minimum. Be remarkable! Decide: 1. What is my core competency – this could be filter coffee or customer service or giant hamburgers. It’s what you do best! […]

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Atmospheric Pressure

As a marketer former business owner and hospitality person who works and supports the best cafes I was often wondering “what exactly makes a cafe work?” Whether its miss Marie or auction rooms or Maling room, or ALi its more than a mix of customer service (often lacking and egotistical), quality coffee, food and location […]

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Barista Occupational Hazards

First of all I want to break down the role of the barista to: 1. Machine Operator 2. Service Operator 3. Customer Service Representative These sections of the baristas role will give us clarity and cohesion as we discuss the hazards and joys (!) of being a baristi. Secondly I would like to say that […]

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Dolce Espresso | The Drum

Positioned at the opening of the Drum – a food court in Westfield Doncaster – Dolce Espresso is clearly an Italian cafe experience: gleaming white LaMarzocco FB80, 4 Mazzer grinders and a dazzling display of colourful cakes all scream “Italy”. However the quality of the espresso is not the old school bitter italian robusta special, […]

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Pallet Espresso

Pallet espresso hidden in the back lanes of Spencer and Little Collins combines authentic Japanese cuisine with world class specialty coffee. A bold and timely move by owner operator, Peter, of wildly successful Purple Peanuts. The wooden theme (hence; pallet) is a beautiful artistic design that compliments the deli cafe feel while combining those aesthetics […]

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Urbanspoon Empowers Cafes

Like any community Urbanspoon is a vibrant dynamic population of self-moderated people with a common interest. The interest with urbanspoon is food and the value of geographical information about eateries. With communities all around the world Urbanspoon is here to stay. They won’t go away. They aren’t a problem. They’re your solution! Studying marketing research […]

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ORA specialty coffee

Like a far away holiday for the soul is Ora Coffee for the specialty coffee pilgrim looking for the comfort of a consistenly good coffee! Furthermore they are open late on Friday and Saturday nights. Sip cold drip, or order a Shiraz and a cheese plate and you’re home! All coffees are roasted in house […]

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10 Cafes Open Melbourne Cup Day

1. St ALi 7am-6pm – Open 365 Days a year 2. Seven Seeds 8am-5pm 3. Tus Coffee (Torquay) 4. Penny House (Richmond) 7am-3pm 5. Reverence Coffee (Ascot Vale) 8-1pm 6. Common Galaxia (Seddon Vic) 7. Dead Man (Southie) 8-3pm 8. Omar Bird (Gardenvale) 9. Mitte Cafe (Fitzroy) 10. Miss Jackson (St Kilda) Bonus! 11. 8 […]

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Miss Marie Rosanna

Miss Marie has been adopted by Rosanna and the surrounding areas as family. Introduced to me by an 86 year old woman from preston who “knows her coffee” I was dubious at first however my family and I have been frequent visitors to this 5 Senses cafe in the north-east for over twelve months now. […]

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Maling Room Roastery

Growing up in Cantebury one can take for granted the beautiful picturesque scenery that makes up the Maling Road Precinct. The high ceilings and prominent location make the old Post Office seem like the gateway to a paradise of the old and the new. Run by Andrew Liew for 10 years Maling Room occupying the […]

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Greatness Comes To All of Us

Sometimes an employee is greater than the business they are employed in. As a teenager the value of cleanliness at McDonalds was greater than the value of cleanliness in my life. As a 14 year old making burgers I had to grow to become as clean as McDonald’s. It is rare however sometimes the value […]

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Gmail is awesome – P.e.r.i.o.d!!

Did you know? Gmail does not consider full stops “.” (periods) to be part of your email address. If your email address is you can tell others to send emails to and they will still come to you! This is handy because you can use your same email address with periods in different […]

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Careers in Coffee

Since working as a barista in some of the best specialty coffee establishments in Melbourne I have taken a side-step into Account Management which affords me the opportunity to train others, use my business and human resource training and my passion in a neatly packed career that pays more than $20 an hour and gives […]

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The Gateway Coffee

Ethiopia is known as the birthplace of Arabica coffee and for a country that consumes much of what it produces it is not surprising that the quality is often there too. The Yirgacheff is often a very floral, fruity and potentially contrasting coffee to the traditional chocolate caramels of Aussie favourites. This is why I […]

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The physics of latte art

I love the physics of coffee. I remember listening to Andreas Illy speaking about the colloidal suspension that is coffee. “Coffee is a suspension of oil and water in an emulsion…”(paraphrased). I’m like ‘whats an emulsion?’. Hey I’m a business graduate not a scientist! But I found myself hungry for knowledge about the science of […]

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Cafe Systems – Mysteries from a Mystery Shopper

While studying Marketing at Swinburn University, I thought it would be interesting to take up a position as a Mystery Shopper. I went to McDonalds and ordered burgers and reported on what experience I had, from the customer perspective. I went to banks and opened accounts and so on. What I learned, among many things, was that the symptomatic facts that I presented in my findings were unable to properly diagnose the true cause of the problem that I encountered. For example: if I went to McDonald’s and reported that my burger was cold… Was my burger cold because A) it was not cooked long enough? B) it sat for 10 minutes on the counter before my number was called? C) or perhaps, the mustard was too cold because it was not defrosted for long enough before it was put as an ingredient in my burger? As you can see the problem or the symptom is not necessarily the cause…

When it comes to a cafe environment, particularly with coffee (!) the customer, let alone the manager (!) rarely see the true cause of outcomes or problems in their business. Was the coffee not strong enough because they change the blend? Does the customer even know what strong means? Is ”strong” a word that means bitter, or is it a word for bold? Does the colour and size and mouth-feel of the crema indicate strength? Often a barist or cafes reputation is based on wrong signals… He’s what you can begin to do to improve the signals that you are giving to your clientele…

<h1>1. Have a clear vision. Know the what why and how of your business</h1>

Many business owners know what they are doing – they are selling coffee or food. They may even know how they are doing it (fresh ingredients from the local community perhaps). But few know, and even fewer communicate WHY they are doing it. Fitzrovia is an example of a business that knows the why. This video communicates it brilliantly! 


<h1>Turn-key your business</h1>

Most cafes have systems, however they are often not written down, not communicated, and break during peak or rush hour. Make systems that work. 

<h1>Train your staff – be people-people</h1>

Very few cafes actually train, induct and manager their staff. Have performance reviews, rewards, KPIs, staff meetings and a warning system. Know your staff and help them know you. ‘Very few cafes I’ve even spoken to have staff meetings. Take your team on a vacation, to the snow, or even play Lazer Tag. You’ll be surprised what synergy comes out of a true TEAM. 


<h1>Work ON your business, not only IN your business</h1>

Many business owners are so tied up in doing the work that they never step outside and see the business from outside eyes. If you really cannot afford to do this, then please hire a consultant or a business coach, or at least get a customer feedback box!




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Rancilio Silvia Walkthrough

Hi there, I have been asked to write an article on the Rancilio Sylvia for another website and so this is a start-up article to that. I love the Rancilio Sylvia. I would place it in the medium range for the home barista. It is more expensive, slightly, than the entry level machines however it […]

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The Maling Room Society

Maling room is an establishment in Melbourne; a coffee society. It’s hard to find a speciality cafe that does not rotate Maling Room Rostery single origins, or a newspaper that has not rave reviewed it or a top 100 that doesn’t include it, however the social army are not coming to the conversation and showing […]

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Filter or espresso?

Australian cafes are experiencing an explosion in the number of brewing methods customers are expecting. But will this last? Australians with that early migration of Italians enjoyed high-pressure extracted coffee since the 1950s and early. However in America with similar migration however filter coffee somehow became the norm. In Melbourne over the last five years […]

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Starting a small business in Victoria – Example Importing Wellness Products

Here are the basics on getting started: 1. Register ABN (free) – Complete online using Tax File Number and Date of Birth Register for GST only with Accountant advice or call 13 72 26 2. Register Business Name ($85) – 3. Information and assistance (help) on starting an Import-Export Business – 4. […]

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Sivers me timbers!

Derek Siver is an entrepreneur who writes a summary of every book he reads and he reads them all. When education can impact what you need to get ahead a summary like this is powerful! I remember at Uni reading the summary of chapters and “getting it”. This website will help you to glean priceless […]

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Coffee quality

Having spent 7 hours in a stopover in Kula Lumpur and having spent 7 days in Asia I have enjoyed spending time contemplating what exactly it is I “love” about coffee and have realized I love coffee quality. Here is a post on what constitutes a high quality espresso coffee. Preparation Method An important introductory […]

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Like Alice in Wonderland I’ve found myself down the rabbit hole that is coffee. A year ago I ventured into returning happily to my roots in customer service after 7 years in self employment. Don’t get me wrong I loved the freedom, the money and the celebrity of owning my own business yet the promise […]

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Coffee facts

Fact#1 Caffeine can be lethal – Extreme overdose can result in death. The median lethal dose of caffeine in humans is dependent on weight and individual sensitivity and estimated to be about 150 to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass, roughly 80 to 100 cups of coffee for an average adult taken within a […]

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What makes a successful cafe

In Melbourne we have a plethora of amazing and terrible cafes. Just read Urbanspoon or Foursquare or Beanhunter and you’ll find cafe’s that work and cafe’s that don’t. Obviously the coffee has to be good, but what other ingredients make a successful cafe? The standards of customer service: offering a great product, with product knowledge […]

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How to do a pour-over

I am not a fan of filter coffee although it does deliver four times the caffeine. Melbourne Australia has been an espresso location for almost 70 years. Our coffee is 85% espresso and 15% filter whereas in America and Europe it’s the other way around. As a coffee lover I want to learn all things […]

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Changing behaviour

One of the things I learned in my waterless car wash business was that changing behavior is a very large barrier to entry when you’re in business. To get people to pay a premium for a car wash that, well, has no wash, was difficult. But I did it even for a corporate market. We […]

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Specialization or mass marketing?

There’s a MAD magazine comic depicting three pizza shops: The first says “Best Pizza in the world”. Inside it had no customers. The second says, “Best Pizza in this city”. Inside there were a few customers. The final cafe says, “Best Pizza in the street”. And it was. And it was packed. This insightful comic […]

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Do the right thing

In business it’s easy to get motivated for profit. To become Machiavellian. However I’ve found that to do the right thing, to be a Macbeth, to be a servant is best. When you are truly focused on the customer, when you truly add value you will rise to the top. Are you paying your insurances? […]

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Building your core

When you’re building your business, your website, your social network, your following, your tribe, your idea, start by creating true value for your followers. It’s the techno-freaks who started to buy the iPod over 10 years ago. It wasn’t the throng who started using Twitter it was those guys who stay indoors on the PCs […]

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Help starting a video blog

A video blog is a blog (regular contributions) online that is made through video.  The great thing about these is that you do not need to create any more content you simply need to train yourself to capture the content you are already creating. I suggest you do this by carrying a video camera with tripod everywhere […]

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The content-time conundrum

We know that time is scarce however that doesn’t have to impede your ability to create amazing content. We know how to build a tribe. That we need to offer true value. That we need to provide a community where there isn’t one currently. In your tribe or following you are wanting to add value. […]

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Core ingredients

The core ingredient or pull of Facebook is that it gives users control of their social experience. The core ingredient or pull of Twitter is information. The core ingredient or pull of YouTube is experience. What is the core ingredient or pull of your business, product, service or idea? People love Facebook because it gives […]

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How do you see your business?

This 4 dimensional image always inspires me. The best way to see your business is core competency. A core competency is a specific factor that a business sees as being central to the way it, or its employees, works. Every business has strengths and weaknesses, competitors, opportunities, threats, products are services. These change. However the […]

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The early days

I remember in 1996 when my high school installed the Internet in the library. I sat down so excited and started surfing the web. Other than setting up one of the first 500,000 Hotmail addresses there was little else to do. I didn’t know what websites were there and search was horrible. Google wouldn’t exist […]

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So what is marketing anyway?

Marketing is a way of thinking; a world view. It is not sales or advertising even though 99% of “marketing” jobs are for sales and advertising. No! Marketing is a way of thinking that maximises all relationships, opportunities while minimising costs and obstacles. Marketing allowed Kodak to stay in the photo business even when film […]

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We are plugged in

We are plugged in to the matrix. The matrix is the old way of doing business; pre-web. There is a brave new world of the Internet and only some have taken the red pill. People like Seth Godin, Jeff Jarvis, Gary V, white rabbits, these are the Morpheus of this new world. They see what […]

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Self Organising Communities

This is my first post on Self Organising Communities. I believe the Internet has caused a power shift from organisations to individuals that has allowed us “the people” to self organise in ways we never had before. What happened in Egypt and Libya was no suprise to me as I observed the walls coming down. […]

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When competition is good

There’s a great little cafe @vyvecafe in Burgundy street. Nicely placed at the top of a hill but on the “wrong side of the road” some may argue. (The local supermarket and train station are on the opposite side, leaving this cafe next to a bank and a chemist – not exactly complimentary!) This groovy […]

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Consumer Confidence

Consumer confidence is down. Cinema’s are not selling nearly as many tickets. Cafe’s and their suppliers are sharing that they are really quiet at the moment. Locally in Melbourne, Australia people have stopped spending as much. It may be the carbon tax, the increase in electricity, the uncertainty about Japan, Libya, wars and rumours of […]

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iPad usefulness

The iPad is a tool. Like any tool you need to learn how to use it. When used right, with the right apps you can boost productivity, but it has serious debilitating limitations imposed by Apple. The iPad is not a phone. It does not allow you to multiple-task in the way a laptop does […]

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The web of intent

Everyone is saying that Mobile is the “next big thing” however we all know that already. The power of increased bandwidth, battery life and touch screens will place power and interconnectivity between humans and objects like never before. Near Field Communications (NFC) and RFID are two more things that can change the way we do […]

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Eric Schmidt CEO of Google on why Mobile is taking off

Everything changes all the time Mobile exceeding all expectations Real-time data is changing things Online Ads to reach $200billion per year Need tablet, desktop and mobile campaigns Stay user focused New model for online advertising is real-time, not static “Information has fundamentally been about elites…does not discrimiate” Between 1-2billion people who have never been connected […]

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How to keep your inbox empty!

If you’re normal you will have 1000s of emails in your inbox. The most productive way to stay productive us to keep your inbox empty. Watch this video on how to control your inbox. This is a video response to the blog post Personal Organisation and inspired by Gina Trapani’s book, “Lifehackers Guide to working […]

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Search relevancy

Preference based search I’d really like a preferences based search interface for iPad iPhone and mac. Im finding google is not relevant these days. Today i was looking for a cafe that was open on a Monday. I couldn’t find it. Doing my phd research would have been easier. Googles results for “cafe near me […]

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Living by design or by default

When you live you have two choices: Live by feelings, or Live by decisions If you live by feelings you will always be tossed around: by those around you, by your circumstances, by your mood or by your diet. If you live by decisions, you take control. You slap the lizard. You become the master […]

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Personal organisation

New: Video tutorial showing how this works! A great marketing strategy without supporting and complimentary systems will fail. (A great website with no one checking the contact form is useless!) So here is a great system to become the KING of your digital world: Control your Outflow Consolidate all of your output; be it work […]

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Gmail redundancy

As much as we love the cloud we need to be honest Gmail may be down one day? Also you may be locked out of Gmail, forget your password or worse get black-listed? So what do you do? Create a redundancy. Create a Hotmail or Yahoo Mail Account Export your Gmail Calendar Export your Gmail […]

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The Walls Are Coming Down

It’s interesting what’s happening at the moment. 3 of my video stores have closed down. Borders books are going under. It’s the Internet. It’s e-books and downloads and iTunes. But it’s the walls that are coming down. So what is the wall? It’s middlemen. It’s inefficiency. It’s greed. Let me give you an example or […]

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Android or iPhone what to choose

Our phones are becoming more and more powerful. I remember asking my “Orange” teclo for a phone that offered email, video and in 2000 they said it didn’t exist. Now it does. I am living in the future I tell myself. I am surfing the web, watching video’s…doing anything I can do on a PC […]

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Search is changing

A work colleague sent me a very informative video explaining how Google SEO worked. However this made me ask the question: how relevant is google’s way of search now anyway? Google’s way of scrubbing the web will always have it’s place. However it is changing very fast and may soon be fiction, or simply a […]

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Facebook deals

Google has laid a platform of search that we can all build on. Now social is built on search. Add mobile to the equation and you get a great user experience. Add location (geo-location) to mobile and you get Foursquare, Facebook Places. Now Facebook is becoming a social platform in the way Google is a […]

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Facebook Platform

An interesting development is that Facebook is becoming a platform. Facebook started as a social network, however now it is being integrated into websites all over the world. Now facebook is becoming more “search” than “social”. This means that when you want to buy a DVD, you now see your friends purchase history and recommendations […]

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Business Bucket List

Not necessarily in order… 1. Register your domain name, twitter and facebook page 2. Write a business plan 3. Decide you want to be in business 4. Crystallise in your mind what your offering is – what PROBLEM are you REALLY solving 5. Get to know your customer. Know their needs/wants better than they do […]

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Cloud computing

If you haven’t heard of cloud computing you’ve probably been using it. According to Wikipedia Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand I love Cloud computing. Cloud computing allows me to sit in a lecture and instantly access my calendar, email and […]

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Google’s Cash Cow

Hey there. Google has this gold-egg laying chicken, it’s called the Indexed-web. They did it. They organised the WWW and made it useful. However this is all changing. Now Facebook is re-indexing the web, vicariously through our social “votes”. Every time you “Like” a page outside Facebook you are voting for the relevance of that […]

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Ad revenue for Google

Google’s core competency is organising information, so: search. They’re revenue comes from paid advertising from those wanting to reach the customers that come to Google for organised information. Facebook’s core competency is organising people; so: social. They’re revenue is coming from paid advertising from those wanting to reach the customers that come to Facebook for […]

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