17 Ways to Learn Lean Startup

We’re living in an information age. There’s so many sites out there promising to turn you into the ultimate productivity hacker, master of this and that, how are you even supposed to know where to begin?

Well, if it’s Lean Startup you’re looking to conquer, we’ve got your back. Here’s my tried-and-tested list of the best ways to learn Lean Startup in addition to Playing Lean (that is live on Kickstarter till Wednesday 2nd of June.)

  1. Bootstart

Bootstart is Ash Maurya’s coaching program that kicks off 4 times a year. Anyone who has read Ash’s Running Lean (if you haven’t, you should do so now) will know that he’s the Real Deal, and this program is a great companion or follow up to the book.

There are two programs, one designed for Entrepreneurs, the other for Mentors looking for training. While the costs can seem pretty steep, you’re getting good bang for your buck with the personalized coaching and 30 day money back guarantee.

Format: Web-based course

The Big Name: Ash Maurya, Author of Running Lean

Price: One-time Payment Plan $1497, Three month Payment Plan $599, Six month Payment Plan $327

  1. Startup Weekend

Startup Weekend are marketed as weekend-long events that unite all the people you need to launch a Startup – developers, designers, marketers, etc. But they go so much further than that – giving you the opportunity to test and launch your idea in 54 hours! Basically, everything you need to learn fast and hard.

Format: Physical Event

The Big Names: Startup Weekend is a scheme run by UP Global, whose board of directors includes Steve Case. Y’know, the guy who co-founded AOL.

Price: Typically cost between $75 and $150, and are held all over the world.

  1. Lean Startup Machine

Lean Startup Machine is similar to Startup Weekend, but with a cheeky catch – you are actively part of the Machine right from the start; they only organize Workshops once your city has collected enough “votes”. Enough votes unlocks your city, and that’s when the real fun begins! The Lean Startup Machine team flies out to you, and gets you out of your building and testing your ideas in real time.

Format: Physical Event

The Big Names: Lean Startup Machine is organized by the team at Javelin, including co-founders Trevor Owens and Grace Ng.

Price: Typically around $299

  1. How to Build a Startup: The Lean Launchpad

How to Build a Startup basically does what it says on the tin: provides you with the key steps needed to build a successful startup. You complete the course at home, in your own time and can preview the syllabus before you decide to throw yourself in feet-first.

Format: Web-based course

The Big Names: Steve Blank, Author of The Four Steps to the Epiphany, and The Startup Owner’s Manual.

Price: FREE!

  1. Strategyzer Academy

Strategyzer Academy’s course will make you a pro in all things Business Model – from conception to validation, and the pitfalls to avoid in between. And, if you’re not quite convinced it’s for you, you can check out the first lesson for free!

Format: Web-based course

The Big Names: Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, co-authors of Business Model Generation.

Price: First lesson FREE. $499.99 for the full course

  1. International Business Model Competition

IBMC is not about writing the perfect business plan, with 5 year projections and all that jazz. It’s a competition where the winner is the one to prove they have learned the most working on their business model. The learning is heavily based on Steve Blank’s customer development and Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas, and you can check out the judge’s criteria to find out more.

Format: Satellite locations (Universities and Brigham Young University, Utah.)

The Big Names: Past judges include Steve Blank, Alex Osterwalder and Nathan Furr, author of Nail It Then Scale It

Price: FREE

  1. Startup Grind

Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. They have chapters all over the world which host monthly events. If you’re into it, you can even start your own chapter in your city!

Format: International Network

The Big Names: Past speakers have included Guy Kawasaki, author of the Art of the Start, and Mark Suster, writer of Both Sides of the Table and VC.

Price: Free to join

  1. The Lean Startup Circle

The Lean Startup Circle is an online network for “peer-to-peer lean Startup knowhow”. Basically, it’s the best place to go to directly interact with other lean startup practitioners all over the world. Their Wiki has an extensive backlog of Lean Startup knowledge, and anything you can’t find there you can ask about directly in the forum.

Format: Web-based Network

The Big Names: Events in different chapters have included names such as Tristan Kromer and Trevor Owens

Price: FREE to join

  1. Y Combinator Library

Ah, Y Combinator, The Golden Goose of accelerator programmes. While you may not be ready to get into one of their batches just yet, they’ve got a pretty extensive Library to help you on your way.

Format: Web-based Library

The Big Names: Y Combinator.

Price: FREE

  1. Running Lean & Lean Stack

Running Lean is the User’s Manual of Lean Startup, guiding you through your Lean Canvas. Lean Stack is the tool to check your progress on that Canvas. Whilst the two can be pretty solitary ventures, they will definitely give you a better grasp on the nitty-gritty of your Startup

Format: Book and web-based tool

The Big Names: Ash Maurya

Price: Lean Stack: $19 – $79/month with the first month free.. Running Lean : Ebook from $21.99

  1. Startup Owner’s Manual & the Founder’s Workbook

The Startup Owner’s Manual is Steve Blank and Bob Dorf’s “how to” reference for any startup founder, investor, entrepreneur or educator. Now, what makes it super special is the new Founder’s Workbook, which will be launching soon. It’s a free “checklist” guide that walks you through the book and what actions you need to take from it.

Format: Book and web-based tool

The Big Names: Steve Blank and Bob Dorf

Price: Book: $40, Workbook: FREE

  1. Nail it then Scale it and Startupcore

Nail it then Scale it is yet another manual, but this time targeted at guiding entrepreneurs through the process of launching a high-growth company.

Co-author Nathan Furr has also recently launched Startupcore, a full course taking you right through the steps from initial idea to successful scale. And, as far as we can see, it’s free!

Format: Book and web-based course

The Big Names: Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom

Price: Book: from $24.95 Course: FREE

  1. The Lean Series

The Lean Series is 7 books in total, curated by Eric Ries, that cover Lean in every aspect of business, from Startup to UX to Branding. What’s good with the Lean Series, is that you’re sure to find the right book for your stage and situation.

Format: Books

The Big Names: Curated by Eric Ries. Authors include: Jez Humble, Barry O’Reilly, Joanne Molesky, Laura Busche, Cindy Alvarez, Jeff Gothelf, Laura Klein, Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz and Ash Maurya.

Price: Each book costs around $21.99 – $29.99

  1. The Essential Guide to Entrepreneurship by Guy Kawasaki

Former Apple Evangelist Guy Kawasaki’s course is a great place to start before getting into the nitty gritty of running a business. All those little meta-things that you haven’t thought of, Guy probably has.

Format: Web-based course

The Big Name: Guy Kawazaki

Price: $199

  1. Running Lean Workshops

If you’ve read Running Lean, and you’re ready to test your skills, a Running Lean Workshop is the perfect follow up. Ash Maurya leads the workshop, and talks you through turning your idea into a repeatable and scalable business.

Format: Physical Event

The Big Name: Ash Maurya

Price: Between $933 and $2598

  1. The Lean Startup Talk at Stanford E-Corner

This free course from Eric Ries is another booster for your first forays into Lean Startup. At only 2 hours long, it’s the perfect warm up before getting out there and tackling the real-world problems you’ll face as an entrepreneur.

Format: Web-based video course

The Big Name: Eric Ries

Price: FREE

  1. Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business

From the University of Maryland, this Specialization really gets into the depths of Business model generation and how to use your business model to achieve funding.

Format: Web-based course

The Big Names: James Green, Michael Pratt and Thomas Mierzwa

Price: $196 for all the course, $49 each

With all this behind you, you’ll be out and conquering the business world in no time. Remember, the more you fail, the better you’ll become.

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Winning over the millennials by playing the Lean Startup methodology

Some say that the millennials (researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s) – Generation Y in hip speak – are spoiled, entitled, unfocused, digitally dement, internet and game addicted and have an inflated sense of self. All that may be true, but they are also entering the workforce en masse, and not all businesses have prepared for that. According to a survey by Censuswide, only about half (52 percent) of millennials report that their employers fully utilize their skills and talents.

At the same time, they are remarkably ambitious and entrepreneurial. A whopping 68% of them want to run their own business, according to research by consulting firm EY. Seed accelerator Y Combinator has made it their business to harness this entrepreneurial spirit and encourage the millennials to start as early as possible.

Others argue that the millennials are just plain unrealistic. They have too high expectations and are setting themselves up for epic failure, leaving them burnt out, miserable and unproductive. Guelph researcher Sean Lyons says we should guide them into lowering their expectations rather than pamper their inflated egos.

So what should established businesses do? They need new talents and to renew their workforce. They may feel ambiguous about the millennials and not know what to do, but those are the cards that have been dealt. Businesses need to handle the millennials, one way or another.

So should they cold shower them and bring them down to earth, or pamper their quirks and encourage their entrepreneurial spirit? Some think they should do both. In recent years, a new style of business and product development known as Lean Startup has become immensely popular, and appears to be almost tailor made for Generation Y.

The author of The Lean Startup, Eric Ries, started out with the realization that the traditional business plan almost always fails and must be completely revised in a matter of months in face of reality. Rather than waste a lot of precious time on making the perfect business plan that needs to be discarded anyway, Ries envisioned starting up with a far leaner business plan – the skeleton of a plan, and a method for revising it. Things that work well are scaled up, whereas products or services that fail or are less successful are scaled down.

So what does this have to do with Generation Y? It incorporates a method for expecting and dealing with failure as part of a learning process. In one sense it allows the entrepreneurial process to mimic the structure of a game, and millennials love games. This allows millennials to take advantage of their high level of ambition while at the same time giving them a tool to handle failure.

In the board game Playing Lean my business partner and I have literally turned the process of teaching the Lean Startup method into a game in a corporate environment, thereby further entrenching the game metaphor for entrepreneurship. Field tests show that the millennials love this approach, and could be a viable strategy for large businesses to incorporate the entrepreneurial spirit of the younger generations.

Millennials Playing Lean at Startup Weekend in Oslo.

Millennials Playing Lean at Startup Weekend in Oslo.

Critics however point out that Lean Startup is largely a repackaging of existing ideas, and that the method automatically renders any startup impossible to fund. The whole point of a business plan is to secure funding by proving to venture capitalists that they are competent and know what they are doing. Defenders reply that repackaging and rebranding is good if it increases the appeal to the intended audience – in this case, Generation Y – and that Lean Startup may be best suited for entrepreneurship and product development within existing large corporations.

It is unclear at this moment which approach of utilizing the abilities of the millennials will win out and prove to be the better one, but – in the spirit of Lean Startup – it also means that there is still room for experimentation. Let the game commence.

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Playing Lean – A fun way to learn Lean Startup

Tore Rasmussen:

Augusto Evangelisti played the game yesterday, this is his thoughts about it. Thanks for sharing Augusto!

Originally posted on mysoftwarequality:

Playing LeanYesterday, I was lucky to be in a group of people playing a great new educational game, Playing Lean.

Helped by Raomal and Tore we engaged in a fun and exciting strategy game to sell our product to more and more customers, starting with innovators, moving to early adopters and eventually conquering the masses.

To do that we had to run experiments and build features. While doing that we talked about validating problems, customers interviews, A/B testing and other very interesting Lean Startup topics. Our experiments were run in a Build Measure Learn cycle and customers feedback was used to build our features.

One other thing I liked was that the game rewarded the player that chose a lean approach to build his product, by delivering only the features necessary and in some cases less features meant more customers!

I can see a bright future for the game as a training platform for the Lean…

View original 52 more words

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Playing Lean lives on!

This blog post was originally posted on The Playing Lean Blog

Unless a miracle occurs in the next few hours, the Playing Lean Kickstarter campaign has failed.

We’re disappointed, but not discouraged! Playing Lean will reboot, and it will be back on Kickstarter. We just need to plan out the best way to move forward.

The campaign didn’t reach its goal, but it sure got a lot of attention and many great backers. We’re very grateful, and we want to give you something back.

That’s why we’re happy to launch the free Print & Play version of Playing Lean! To check out the Print & Play, follow the instructions here.

You probably noticed the new domain: http://community.playinglean.com/ It’s our brand new community site. Go there, give us your questions, your comments and your feedback. Join the party – we’re already there!

Once again, thank you to all our great backers and everyone who has supported the project! We’ve learnt a lot and had a lot of fun, and we hope you have too.

Live lean and prosper,

We will be back

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How Friendster got to dominate social media

It’s 2015, and Friendster is king among social media sites.

How could this have happened?

To understand, we need to go back to this week’s playtesting in Oslo. I got to lead 10 competent players who had to take on the heavy responsibility of leading Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Friendster in their fights for market domination.


Intense discussions at Myspace HQ. What strategy will lead to world domination?

Early Leader

Twitter got off to an early lead – with a bit of luck. A blogger revealed his preferences for everyone to see, and Twitter was positioned to build a product that suited his needs perfectly. While they were busy building their product, the other teams had to struggle through experiment after experiment to learn enough about their customers.


Early traction for Twitter. With this speed, victory seems secure.

The other teams despaired. Twitter had more customers and more features. Certainly, the outcome of this fight was already determined?

Blinding Success

As history would have it, Twitter took the wrong lessons from their early success. Suffering from feature creep, the speed of development slowed to a near halt. Their competitors, with leaner products and more insight about the market, soon caught up.


Competition has caught up and everything is up in the air. Twitter’s victory is no longer a foregone conclusion.

Friendster wins the day

While trailing behind for most of the day, Friendster built up great speed towards the end of the game. In the last round, Twitter suffered that final calamity: Confirmation Bias. Spending a full round confirming knowledge they already had, they made no progress.

Friendster could cross the finish line first and win the market!

After action review

Both winners and losers enjoyed a quick retrospective when the battle was over. Insights and lessons learned were shared across the table. Suggestion for improvement of Playing Lean were noted and will be incorporated.

Team Friendster had to face the hard reality that their global domination was only in a game, but took comfort in the fact that their learning was real.

This post first appeared on Playing Lean ́s Kickstarter page.

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Playing Lean Update

Since I announced the “Open invitation to Playing Lean November 17, 2014” a lot has happened.

First of all we have actually launched a Kickstarter campaign and that is extremely exciting.

My business partner, Simen Fure Jørgensen got a guest post published at Ash Maurya´s Practice Trumps Theory And I gave my first radio interview to Michele Price at BREAKTHROUGH radio.

As part of the Kickstarter, I’m traveling the USA giving free workshops with the game all over the place. Seriously, 16 cities from Texas, the West coast and the East coast. You can see the entire list at our Eventbrite page.


You can read more about the road trip at The Playing Lean Blog. The Lean Startup community has be fantastic in helping us, making introduction, helping us find venues and promoting the play sessions.

A big thanks to Platform Houston for hosting the Launch Lunch in Houston, Ash Maurya and Emiliano Villarreal for making the play session in Austin a success, Steve Rogers for making the breakfast meeting come alive in Las Cruces, Amber Brandner for guiding me around in beautiful sunny San Diego and for making the play session at 3RD SPACE happen,  Tristan Kromer, Alan Young, Matt Walters, David Bland, Stacey Louie and Gro Eirin Dyrnes for making the time in the valley so meaningful. And last but not least, John Sechrest for suggesting I should visit Seattle and making the trip totally worthwhile.

So, that the update for now, make sure that you have signed up for our newsletter on the Playing Lean webpage for the latest news and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Open invitation to Playing Lean

If you are as passionate about Lean Startup as me, this is your opportunity!

Some friends and I are working on a physical board game where you teach the Lean Startup methodology while playing. By popular demand we are now opening up for online collaboration.

When I first wrote about Playing Lean, we already had this in mind: “We want to make this game the best it can be by tapping into the shared knowledge of the Lean startup Movement, and continuing to iterate the game through customer co-creation”.

Since we first started, we have played the game face to face with startup enthusiasts at different events and forums in Houston, San Francisco and Oslo. This has allowed us to iterate and evolve fast. Now we are ready for open online collaboration!

If you want to be part of this:

  • Follow us on Twitter (@playinglean) to find out when and where we will be playing the game.
  • Check out the Google Docs folder Playing Lean: Open Innovation where you can find all about the game. Here you will find the following categories under “Version 2.0”:
    • Rulebook
    • Logbook
    • Facilitator Playbook
    • Industry cards
    • Event cards
    • Resource Cards
    • Tiles
    • Scoreboard
    • Innovation Accounting form
    • Co-founder Cards

→ If you have suggestions or feedback please make a copy of the document you want to comment on and rename it with [your name] + [document title]


Introducing the team

Simen Fure Jørgensen

Jørgensen has extensive experience with start-up and development of IT companies in Norway. He was co-founder of IT company Iterate AS, which since its inception in 2007 has grown to be a solid work space for 40 employees.

He will use his professional expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship for the development of the game concept. Furthermore, Jørgensens education degree in computer science and experience in a wide range of development projects to be crucial for the construction of the digital edition.

Catherine Kahn

Catherine Kahn is engaged as experience designer. Kahn has a double master’s degree with honors, respectively in Experience Design and Performance Design from Central St. Martins College of Art & Design in England.

Kahn will be engaged to assist the company to build the bridge between the physical game and the online version. Kahn will use her expertise in transmedia storytelling techniques and communicate the learning from the game through multiple platforms and formats.

Robert Gustafsson

Newly examined bachelor student in Marketing and Sales Management, Robert has high expectations on himself and the things he does. He loves to try new challenges and get out of his comfort zone. Positive, caring and humorous he has respect for fellow human beings and it is important for him to have a cooperation that will work for both parties and to be able to give and take what could be shared.

Patricia Almeida

Patricia Almeida is a Business Psychologist passionate about technology and innovation. She has several years of experience in the design and development of computerized assessment environments as well as in statistical data analysis. She has conducted research internationally in the areas of intelligence, personality, group psychology, entrepreneurship and vocational interests. She wrote her master thesis in entrepreneurship and she is committed to identifying, developing and supporting entrepreneurial potential.

Sebastian Hemgren

Sebastian is an experienced graphic designer. He has worked and collaborated in several startups and he is an active member of the startup community in Oslo.

Tore Rasmussen

I (Tore Rasmussen) is a graduate student at Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) and writes my thesis on the learning outcomes of the game in my thesis in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

I have extensive expertise in social media and marketing and will use this knowledge to lead the  launch of the game on Kickstarter.


I would like to use this opportunity to thank all those how have help develop the game so far.  A special thanks go to those that participated at Startup Weekend Houston Maker Edition: David Torreggiani, Jesus Hinojosa, Kit Leung, Thuy Vu, and Reginald Garrett II

Startup Weekend Oslo: Tom Haugeplass, Sebastian Hemgren, Brage Olsen Mathias. Oldani og Marcus Morken.

Also a special thanks to Allan Lund Hansen for all the work he put in during the Lean Startup Machine in San Francisco.

The Lean Startup is a trademark and service mark owned by Eric Ries and has no affiliation to this project.

The game is consider the intellectual property of Lean Friends AS.

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Du er påmeldt!

Gratulere med å ha sikret deg plass som 1 av 16 til å spille Playing Lean på StartupCamp i Forskingsparken i dag!

Spillet testes på meetupen i Parken Bakeri fra kl. 16.00




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Introducing The Entrepreneurship Game

The Entrepreneurship Game (working title) is a tabletop game about launching a service or a product. The goal of the game is two folded, a) that the players will learn the key essentials about the Lean Startup Methodology and b) that the game itself is highly playable.

We want to make this game the best it can be by tapping into the shared knowledge in the Lean startup Movement, and continuing to iterate the game though customer co-creation.

This means that we are seeking feedback from both Lean Startup practitioners and those who are interested in learning about the methodology.

That being said the game will not be published under a Creative Commons license so the content described regarding this game is consider the intellectual property of me (Tore Rasmussen) and Simen Fure Jørgensen.

Playtesting sneak and peek


Photo: Tristan Kromer, Simen Fure Jørgensen and Tore Rasmussen playtesting the game in March. Location: Mesh, Norway.



Photo: Nicholas Mercer provides great feedback on the playability of the game. April. Location: RED Labs, University of Houston.

Stay in the loop

For those who are in Houston, I will participate at Startup Weekend Maker Edition there in April the 25th – 27th. Reach out to me it you want to playtest the game.

Not in Houston? Don’t despair, If you are in Oslo Simen would love to talk to you.

Not in Houston or in Oslo? We are on Skype. :-)


The Lean Startup is a trademark and service mark owned by Eric Ries and has no affiliation to this project.



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Walking on Water, being Crazy and doing things bigger and better: Three Key Takeaways From Interviewing Rovio CMO Peter Vesterbacka at Slush 2013

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to go to the Slush startup conference in Finland, which according to its founder, CMO and Mighty Eagle at Rovio (Angry Birds) Peter Vesterbacka, has become: “the best startup event on the planet organized completely by the community, by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.”

I have not been at many startup conferences to be the judge of that, however it was good enough to convince me I to definitely come back next year and I encourage you to do the same.

The conference was organized by Startup Sauna, an accelerator based in Aalto University’s campus in Espoo, a suburb of Helsinki. This year was the sixth annual conference with 6,000 attendees, representing nearly 1,200 companies. One fun fact is that Slush is the biggest gathering of Swedish startups on the planet.

With a press accreditation I was allowed to a 21 minute long interview with Peter Vesterbacka. He was honest and spoke his mind. Beware; when the title on your Business card is Mighty Eagle, sky is the limit. 


1. To walk on water is easy, and a must for survival

A small gaming company has made 51 games and is one the brink of bankruptcy. What do they do? They make one more.

People ask me how did you make Angry Birds successful, how did that happen, and I say actually it is very easy, at Rovio we have 800 people that can walk on water, so it is very easy, and they say what do you mean walk on water? I say we have 800 people that believe; they know that they can walk on water because no one have showed them otherwise. Of course they can walk on water, of course we can have a hundred million downloads. Not to become too biblical because in Finland it is easy to walk on water, because it is frozen.

What was different with Angry Birds compared to the 51 games before?  

I think it is more attention to details, one big thing; it is not so much about the game than that the distribution changed. Before Angry Birds no IPhone, no appstore, the IPhone and the appstore changed everything. We could start distributing directly to our fans. I think that was the biggest change and of course Angry Birds is a great game, I mean it is a evergreen, powerful characters, very accessible, addictive and very rewarding, so it is a combination of many things, but mostly it is about walking on water. 


2. Have crazy ambitious goals

I have been involved with startups for a long time, almost 20 years. What drives me and what drives entrepreneurs is that we are crazy people; we want to change the world. If you look at this Slush event I told everybody in 2008 that this would be the best startup event on the planet Today it is the best startup event on the planet organized completely by the community, by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.

Doing crazy thinks like that, going for a hundred million downloads for Angry Birds, people at Rovio and outside of Rovio everybody thought that I was crazy, and I probably am, hopefully in a good way. I have super ambitious targets for everything. 

How does your high ambitions impact the daily decision-making?

If you look at Rovio and if you look at Slush the ambition and passion is very contagious, you start to have people that believe that they can do anything. I think it really comes back to the attitude, you have to have courage you can’t be afraid to try crazy new things, crazy is good.


3. Try to do things bigger and better every day

We don’t talk about innovation at Rovio at all because everything we do is innovative.

I think a lot of companies that are talking about innovation are talking about something that they don’t have. At Rovio we don’t worry about innovation because we do new innovating things every day. We did Angry Birds Space, we launched in space, huge innovation but we don’t call it innovation, we just did it.

We try to do things differently every day, we try to do things bigger and better every day and that is way you will always hear me say “yea fine, we have two billions downloads that is a good start.” Because our ambition is much much bigger.We are never happy, we are never content, we are super hungry.


Have something to add to this story? Share in the comments.

Images: Christer Hansen Eriksen

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