Konvergence—Decentralized Cloud Storage with Coffee Shop Vibes
Konvergence is the small-but-mighty team that’s bringing decentralized data storage and Web3 solutions to the masses, one internet user at a time.
The TL;DR on Konvergence
Do you care about which technology is used to store your data? Perhaps not very much. Do you care that your data is stored securely and can be easily accessed at any time? The answer is probably yes!
Konvergence is a Web3 software development company that’s bringing decentralized data storage and protection solutions to every internet user. Konvergence knows that convenience and ease of use are the most important factors driving technology adoption rates, and realizes that a product’s underlying tech isn’t relevant to every user. Crypto Perk is a company closely affiliated with Konvergence that is dedicated to Web3 data storage using the Filecoin network.
Keep reading to get your head around Konvergence and Crypto Perk. Find out how Konvergence is making the transition to Web3 happen by creating consumer experiences that feel a lot like the Web2 internet today.
What is Konvergence?
Konvergence is a developer of Web3 software solutions and Crypto Perk is a cross-owned affiliate company of Konvergence. Crypto Perk uses the Filecoin network to provide Web3 data storage services.
Assets. Konvergence and Crypto Perk operate as an asset-lite organization. The Konvergence team rents office space in downtown Austin to support its research and development activities, and pays for mining-as-a-service (MaaS) to facilitate its Filecoin data storage operations.
Geographies. Konvergence works with hosts at many different data centers to operate cloud servers all over the world. While the technology that Konvergence develops is designed to be globally accessible, the Web3 developer is initially targeting U.S. customers. Crypto Perk, in alignment with Konvergence, is also initially focused on the U.S. market.
Konvergence and Crypto Perk are formally headquartered in Dripping Springs, Texas, near the Austin R&D office. Crypto Perk’s data storage operation, which is hosted by another Filecoin storage provider, is located in California. The Konvergence and Crypto Perk team is based in locations around the U.S. and in Budapest, Hungary.
Storage capacity. Crypto Perk currently has storage capacity for 1.8 pebibytes (PiBs) of data. The storage provider plans to onboard at least another pebibyte of data in the first half of 2023.
Funding. Konvergence and Crypto Perk are funded by multiple sources. The funding and revenue received by Konvergence indirectly benefits Crypto Perk, as Crypto Perk is a cross-owned affiliate of Konvergence. The team’s funding sources include—
- Seed funding: Konvergence initially raised capital by issuing convertible debt to a select group of friends and family.
- Strategic licensing agreement: Konvergence also received funding from a strategic sale of software licenses to a U.S. telecommunications company.
- Software revenue: Konvergence earns income by selling a range of software solutions.
- Bitcoin gains: Crypto Perk was initially bootstrapped with Bitcoin, which was traded for Filecoin at Crypto Perk’s inception.
- Filecoin data storage: Crypto Perk is partially funded by the revenue it receives from storing data on the Filecoin network. Konvergence is among Crypto Perk’s data storage clients.
- Consulting revenue: Crypto Perk is contracted with Konvergence to provide advisory services on decentralized data storage. Crypto Perk also provides Konvergence with the ability to conduct beta testing on decentralized data storage technologies.
Certifications and patents. The Crypto Perk team participated in the second cohort of the Enterprise Storage Provider Accelerator (ESPA) program to jumpstart its Filecoin data storage business. In 2021, the predecessor to Konvergence was awarded a U.S. patent, for developing an algorithm that uses distributed social trust for content discovery. The patent was awarded because the algorithm’s user interface was the first to enable users to control their own content discovery settings.
Community participation. Konvergence and Crypto Perk are active in the Filecoin community. Under the Konvergence banner, the team participated in the second cohort of the Orbit Community Program—a Filecoin initiative that enables members of the Filecoin ecosystem to host their own community events. Konvergence in August 2022 hosted its first Orbit event, in Budapest, and remains active with the Orbit program. Most recently, in November 2022, Konvergence brought together many members of the Filecoin ecosystem in Austin for an Orbit event that featured speakers, hands-on demonstrations, and networking. Both Konvergence and Crypto Perk regularly contribute to Filecoin’s Lotus software.
Why does Konvergence exist?
Konvergence is on a mission to “make sure data owners and users are in the driver’s seat for their online journey.” The Konvergence team believes that sovereignty—over data and the algorithms that control data—is essential for every internet user.
Konvergence is using Web3 technology to accomplish its mission of giving control back to consumers. The Konvergence team views the current data storage landscape as being extremely fragmented, pointing out that users’ data is stored not just on Dropbox or Google Drive, but rather is scattered and vulnerable across the web. Konvergence is using Web3 technology, including Filecoin data storage, to enable individuals to be the gatekeepers of their own data.
Konvergence says that the transition to Web3 is “right around the corner”—but will only occur at scale when consumer-friendly applications become available. Dante Cullari, a Konvergence and Crypto Perk co-founder, explains that “consumer-grade applications [are] being built that allow consumers to still interact with Web2, but also allow them to import their data from Web2 to Web3 applications. With Web3, [consumers] have better tools to manage and control [their data], especially related to access permissions, security, and backup.”
Konvergence chose to start Crypto Perk, its Filecoin data storage business, because the team understands that “everything on the web is a file.” Konvergence team members had been excited since 2016 about IPFS, the protocol that powers the Filecoin network, and viewed Filecoin as a token with true utility. “With the latest updates from Filecoin Green to the Filecoin Virtual Machine, we’re more excited than ever to be in the [Filecoin community] working with this cutting-edge technology,” says Dante.
Konvergence’s products & services
Konvergence and Crypto Perk are teamed together to enable users to own and control their data on Web3 systems. But what are the specific services and products that Konvergence and Crypto Perk provide today? Let’s take a look—
- Decentralized data storage: Crypto Perk uses the Filecoin network to store cloud data for its users. Crypto Perk also stores replicas of data for other Filecoin storage providers.
- Web3 software solutions: Konvergence provides enterprise clients with customized Web3 software solutions. Konvergence bundles decentralized data storage from Crypto Perk with a Web3 browser, operating system, and content delivery network. The developer also integrates other Web3 software into its custom packages based on client requests.
- Consulting services: Crypto Perk and Konvergence consult on software integrations for other Filecoin storage providers. Crypto Perk also provides onboarding support for enterprises and individuals wishing to join the Filecoin network as new storage providers.
Konvergence is continuing to develop its consumer-focused product called Cloud Forest Storage—software that enables individual users to fully control their data via the Filecoin network. Cloud Forest Storage makes data onboarding a user-friendly experience, plus enables users to choose among different Filecoin storage providers. Users can replicate and sync data, and retrieve their data at any time. Konvergence expects to release Cloud Forest Storage in the first quarter of 2023.
How Konvergence empowers consumer data storage
Let’s dig into exactly how Konvergence and Crypto Perk enable users to store, manage, and retrieve data using the Filecoin network. Here’s how the Konvergence software works—
- Customer purchases software: Consumers buy Konvergence software by selecting a subscription tier. Konvergence conducts the required Know Your Customer verification and collects payment information during this initial set-up process.
- Customer chooses Filecoin storage providers: With access to the user interface, the customer selects one or more Filecoin storage providers to store their data. Crypto Perk is among the user’s options but not the only option. Users can also default to storage providers chosen by Konvergence.
- Konvergence establishes secure cloud clusters: Based on a customer’s selection of storage providers, the software uses APIs to establish Kubernetes cloud nodes—”containerized” digital nodes that correspond to the selected storage providers. The software groups the nodes together, forming clusters on the IPFS network that are autonomous, private, and secure.
- Cloud cluster control is transferred to customer: With the cloud cluster established, the Konvergence software immediately transfers complete control of the cluster to the user. The user is notified that the cluster is live.
- Customer uploads data: The next step is for the user to upload their data via the software’s user-friendly interface. Users can upload files directly, and may also sync data from various third-party applications including Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, YouTube, and Spotify.
- Data is onboarded to Filecoin network: Crypto Perk uses Filecoin’s Boost software to connect with the Filecoin network. Customers can view the statuses of their uploaded data once the data onboarding process is complete.
- Data is synced: Onboarded data is immediately synced to every node in the cloud cluster in accordance with the customer’s preferences. The syncing process ensures both the redundancy of the data and that the cloud cluster is load balanced and self healing.
- Customer manages data: Customers can navigate the Konvergence software to specify which data should be available for fast retrieval and which data is better suited for cold storage. Users can change privacy settings on their data to grant access to select groups of users or the entire IPFS network. The Konvergence software supports third-party applications and user interfaces—in an app-store format—giving users many options for how they interact with their data.
- Customer retrieves data: Customers control their data and can choose to retrieve it from the Filecoin network at any time.
The Konvergence software is supported by a Filecoin wallet that is integrated with the product. The software converts a portion of a customer’s subscription payment into FIL, to automatically complete any Filecoin transactions that may be required of the customer.
Let’s take a peek at some of the hardware and software that Konvergence and Crypto Perk use:
- Intel XEON Platinum 24-core central processing units—externally hosted hardware that Crypto Perk uses for data onboarding and proving
- Nvidia RTX A5000 graphics processing units—externally hosted hardware that Crypto Perk uses for data onboarding and complying with Filecoin consensus protocols
- Lotus—the Filecoin reference implementation software
- Boost—Filecoin software that supports data onboarding and retrieval
- Ubuntu—Linux-based operating system that supports the Konvergence software
- Docker—infrastructure management software that enables containerization
- Kubernetes—software to deploy, scale, and manage containerized nodes
A brief history of Konvergence
The founding story for Konvergence and Crypto Perk begins way back in 2007, when Dante Cullari started a software development company called Beat-Play. Later renamed ZYX Integrated Technologies in 2015, the company operated as an R&D lab that created software tools for independent content creators.
A major milestone occurred for ZYX Integrated Technologies in 2021, when the company was granted a patent for a content discovery algorithm that’s based on distributed social trust. Zoltan Papp, a formal advisor to ZYX since 2011, co-founded Konvergence in April 2021 to develop proofs of concept for the patented technology. Konvergence and ZYX Integrated Technologies merged under the Konvergence banner in November 2021, at which time Dante was named as the organization’s CEO.
Crypto Perk was formed as an independent subsidiary of Konvergence in August 2021. Dante naturally took the helm, having long been interested in IPFS and the Filecoin network. The Crypto Perk founder first discovered Filecoin in 2017, with the release of its whitepaper and success of its initial coin offering, and became a Filecoin tokenholder in 2020 after the main network’s launch.
Now let’s have a glance at the major milestones that have occurred in the history of Konvergence and Crypto Perk:
- Awarded U.S. patent: Konvergence’s predecessor ZYX Integrated Technologies in March 2021 was granted a patent (U.S. Patent Number 10,958,688) for content delivery based on distributed social trust. This achievement set the stage for Konvergence to develop software solutions based on the decentralized technology.
- Konvergence formally launched: Konvergence was established in April 2021, with a merger between ZYX and Konvergence becoming final in November of the same year. The merger transferred ownership of all of ZYX’s assets, including its intellectual property, to Konvergence.
- Crypto Perk formally launched: Crypto Perk was established in August 2021, nearly a year after the Filecoin mainnet launch in 2020. The Konvergence team chose to establish a Filecoin storage business only after taking time to observe the true functionality of the Filecoin network and utility of the Filecoin token.
- Completed ESPA training: Crypto Perk in April 2022 participated in the second cohort of the Enterprise Storage Provider Accelerator program. The training commenced in April 2022 and concluded in October of the same year.
- Joined Filecoin Orbit Community Program: Konvergence commenced its participation in the Filecoin Orbit Community Program in July 2022, as part of the program’s second cohort. Konvergence has organized Orbit-sponsored events in both Budapest, Hungary, and Austin, Texas—in August 2022 and November 2022, respectively.
Who is the Konvergence team?
The Konvergence and Crypto Perk team is spread across various locations, with some team members based in the Austin office and others working remotely. Let’s meet the principal team members from Konvergence and Crypto Perk—
Dante Cullari, President of Crypto Perk & CEO of Konvergence
Dante Cullari is a veteran of the tech industry who began focusing on internet technologies for content creators in 2007, when he founded the music auction website Beat-Play. Dante expanded his professional focus to include technology research and development, and in 2014 rebranded Beat-Play as ZYX Integrated Technologies. Dante was instrumental in the formation of both Konvergence and Crypto Perk, and holds leadership roles with both entities.
Zoltan Papp, Partner & Managing Director for Konvergence
Zoltan Papp is a Partner and the Managing Director of Konvergence. Zoltan has professional experience as a venture capital investor, having co-founded Falkon Ventures in 2015. He is a named inventor on 11 patents and has deep expertise in law and intellectual property. Zoltan is also a serial entrepreneur who founded and successfully exited from several tech companies. Zoltan earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the Michigan State University College of Law, and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.
Chris Hoar, Sales Director for Crypto Perk
Chris Hoar is leading the sales effort for Crypto Perk. His professional experience includes developing marketing and brand strategies for many companies across sectors. Chris has specialized expertise in technology, having founded a satellite communications company called Galileyo. Chris also previously led a turnaround effort for a financial software company. He is a seasoned investor who graduated from St George’s College in England.
Sean Graham, Sales Associate for Crypto Perk
Sean Graham is charged with executing Crypto Perk’s sales strategy. Sean is closely connected with individual content creators, having held many roles in creative industries. Sean previously served as the Marketplace Director for CreatorUp, a digital platform that offers live-action, animation, and virtual reality products. He serves on the Executive Board of EarthLight Foundation, a nonprofit organization that’s dedicated to space exploration, settlement, and engineering. Sean holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Rice University.
The Konvergence company culture is based on the principles of Koherence—empathy, service, and flow. Konvergence culture is rooted in the team’s appreciation for diversity and its efforts to “develop and strengthen the Koherence OS of authenticity, integrity, grace, and purpose, which we believe is at the heart of Web3,” Zoltan explains. The Konvergence team is dedicated to empowering individuals, with a great respect for health in mind, body, and soul.
The Konvergence team strongly values research and development as a means to drive technological progress for humanity. “The R&D lab is where all the threads (k)onverge,” according to Dante.
Who uses Konvergence?
You may be curious to learn about the clients of Konvergence and Crypto Perk. Konvergence is particularly interested in serving independent content creators and other consumers with high needs for reliable, affordable data storage. Crypto Perk is also primarily focused on serving consumers, including everyone who currently uses Google Drive or Dropbox. Crypto Perk and Konvergence are initially focused on the Web3-native audience because those users are already familiar with cryptography.
Crypto Perk stores data for a small number of commercial-grade entities. Let’s take a peek at a couple of the enterprises that Crypto Perk and Konvergence count as clients—
- Nappy Roots: Hip hop fans may have heard of Nappy Roots, the quartet of Southern rap artists. Crypto Perk serves Nappy Roots by storing their catalog of independent music in addition to data for the group’s website and mailing list. Konvergence and Crypto Perk are collaborating with Nappy Roots to port the group’s digital presence to Web3 infrastructure that’s fully self sovereign.
- Al Warren Oil Company: Crypto Perk stores data for Al Warren Oil Company, which sells petroleum products and related services. Konvergence developed a proprietary payments platform for the petroleum company, and Crypto Perk stores the company’s vast archive of invoice documents. Al Warren Oil Company is collaborating with Konvergence and Crypto Perk on a pilot test to streamline the data storage process for legacy companies with vast troves of paper and digital archives.
How Konvergence approaches marketing & sales
The Konvergence and Crypto Perk team knows how to hustle, but still take a thoughtful approach to marketing and sales. Marketing for the Crypto Perk brand starts with the name, meant to evoke a casual, friendly atmosphere with coffee shop vibes. Recall the fictional “Central Perk'' from the tv show Friends for a creative expression of the Crypto Perk brand.
Crypto Perk and Konvergence are focused on education and engagement to drive the organizations’ marketing and sales efforts. The team is aiming to raise awareness by hosting community events and reaching out directly to independent content creators. With Web3 technology in its nascency, Konvergence and Crypto Perk understand the need to educate many potential users about the applications and benefits of Web3 tech, including Filecoin data storage.
Crypto Perk approaches the sales process by staying focused on its target customers and emphasizing the benefits of Web3 data storage and security. “Companies already interested in Web3 storage [and] stakeholders who hold data sovereignty in high regard” are the primary focus of Crypto Perk’s sales efforts. The Filecoin storage provider highlights the cost benefits, benefits of data redundancy, and key security features of decentralized storage.
Crypto Perk also works directly with Konvergence as its business development partner. Konvergence boosts demand for Crypto Perk by supporting data onboarding and retrieval processes that are consumer friendly. Crypto Perk boosts its sales by bundling Filecoin data storage with other software products that Konvergence provides.
Crypto Perk frequently conducts live demonstrations as another sales tactic. Live demos focus on how Filecoin data storage works, the benefits of the technology, and the pricing options. Crypto Perk can provide proofs of concept to new customers by initially storing only small, duplicate data sets.
What Crypto Perk and Konvergence don't typically do during the sales process is “get too much into the weeds on tech.” The team has learned that attempting to explain exactly how Filecoin protocols work can derail the sales process. The sales team also avoids “traditional Web2 tactics” such as using online forms that attempt to gather customer leads. “We’re exploring how to develop [sales] funnels and incentives more appropriately for the Web3 community,” according to the Konvergence and Crypto Perk teams.
Operations at Konvergence
Curious about how operations are organized at Konvergence and Crypto Perk? Let’s take a look at some of the team’s core business functions, and how these responsibilities are divvied up—
- Filecoin data storage: Crypto Perk is responsible for operating the organization’s Filecoin data storage business. Crypto Perk works with its mining-as-a-service partner to ensure continuous synchronicity with the Filecoin network.
- Software development: The main focus of Konvergence is research and development of Web3-based software. Konvergence holds primary responsibility for this activity.
- Business development: Crypto Perk and Konvergence are each tasked with executing marketing and sales efforts. Konvergence provides business development support to Crypto Perk by packaging Filecoin data storage in its software bundles.
- Customer service: Konvergence oversees customer support for its software, while Crypto Perk works directly with data storage clients to meet their needs.
What’s a typical day like at Konvergence and Crypto Perk? With the team spread across in-person and remote locations on multiple continents, the sun (almost) nevers sets on these two tech companies. Dante, who is based near Austin, has primary responsibility for Crypto Perk, while Zoltan oversees Konvergence from Budapest, Hungary.
Dante manages all aspects of Crypto Perk, ranging from general operations to payroll to fund raising. Dante is also the lead consultant for Crypto Perk’s advisory business. Crypto Perk stays lean, with dedicated support from only a small sales and customer service team.
Zoltan, leading Konvergence, receives project management and leadership support from Dante. Zoltan’s primary focus with Konvergence is research and development for software and programming. Many members of the Konvergence team work remotely in Hungary, while others are based in the organization’s downtown Austin office. Konvergence and Crypto Perk conduct weekly meetings to ensure that the teams stay aligned on shared initiatives.
Challenges for Konvergence
Konvergence and Crypto Perk are a powerful duo, but these organizations still face some major challenges. Let’s dig into the three biggest obstacles for Konvergence and Crypto Perk.
Challenge #1—Funding and resource constraints
Konvergence and Crypto Perk are chasing some giant opportunities in the tech space but, just like any start-up company, have limited resources. The team is relatively small, and its funding is (of course!) finite. The team is addressing this challenge using several different tactics—
- Ruthlessly prioritizing the highest-impact projects and tasks
- Aggressively fund raising, including for Filecoin collateral requirements
- Keeping the hiring pipeline full to maximize the team’s agility
- Boosting compensation when possible to attract and retain top talent
Challenge #2—Rapidly evolving technology
Crypto Perk is challenged by working in a landscape with rapidly changing technology. Filecoin libraries of code can and do evolve significantly, and the diversity of use cases for some Web3 technologies means that significant customization may be required. Crypto Perk must also ensure that its data storage systems are compatible with the Konvergence software.
Crypto Perk is responding to these challenges in a few different ways—
- Aiming to contribute to original, open-source products rather than forking the software to create proprietary, modified tools
- Working with Konvergence to establish a technology baseline by planning the production tech stack for the next 18 months
- Supporting the team to engage in online, self-guided learning about new technologies and coding languages
- Actively engaging with the Filecoin community to stay abreast of new technology developments
The Crypto Perk and Konvergence team concedes that rapidly evolving technology “makes our jobs more difficult” but also says that technological change “inevitably contributes to better products.” The team perceives this inherent trade-off, and chooses to take a can-do approach to
staying current on the latest technological developments.
Challenge #3—Macroeconomic conditions
Konvergence and Crypto Perk are not immune to the effects of macroeconomic conditions, namely economic volatility and inflation. The tech entities are paying 20%-25% more for contracts with developers, and are experiencing increased prices for other services and software applications.
How are Konvergence and Crypto Perk coping with these macroeconomic conditions? By using these key strategies and tactics—
- Raising consulting fees by 30% to keep pace with increased expenses
- Streamlining application roadmaps to launch software products faster
- Optimizing team structures to maximize revenue generation and productivity
The Konvergence and Crypto Perk team is ultra talented, so it’s not shocking that they already boast many successes. Keep reading to find out about three major accomplishments to date for Konvergence and Crypto Perk.
Success #1—Onboarded 800 TiBs to the Filecoin network
Crypto Perk in 2021 became operational as a Filecoin storage provider and successfully onboarded 800 TiBs of data to the Filecoin network. Crypto Perk and Konvergence both count this as a win because operating a successful Filecoin data storage business is a core component of the team’s business strategy.
Crypto Perk is building on this success by seeking to add more data to the Filecoin network. The team is replicating and scaling its most effective marketing and sales strategies, and plans to invest in further growing its salesforce. The Crypto Perk team is continuing to work closely with Konvergence to maximize data storage opportunities generated by the Konvergence software.
Success #2—Completed ESPA training
The Crypto Perk team participated in the Enterprise Storage Provider Accelerator program—another important accomplishment for the team. The ESPA program provided Crypto Perk with technical training on decentralized data storage, sales and marketing guidance, mentorship, and other crucial support for the beginning of its Filecoin journey. Crypto Perk participated in the second cohort of ESPA that began in April 2022.
Crypto Perk is building on this accomplishment by staying engaged with the other participants in its ESPA cohort and with the broader Filecoin community. Crypto Perk, as an ESPA grad, is well positioned to both contribute knowledge and receive technical support from the Filecoin ecosystem.
Success #3—Established strategic partnership
The formation of a strategic partnership in 2021 between Crypto Perk and Konvergence was another major win for both entities. Konvergence significantly enhances its Web3 software products by integrating with Crypto Perk’s decentralized data storage, while Crypto Perk benefits from the opportunity to bundle Filecoin data storage into Konvergence software. Konvergence’s focus on consumer-friendly user interfaces further boosts demand for Crypto Perk’s storage capacity.
Konvergence and Crypto Perk are further building on this strategic partnership by actively developing the relationship. Konvergence proactively conveys to Crypto Perk what is required to be compatible with the Konvergence software, while Crypto Perk advises Konvergence on software best practices for Web3 data storage. The team at Konvergence and Crypto Perk understand that great communication is crucial to the long-term success of this partnership.
What’s ahead for Konvergence?
“We’re really only just getting started.”
That’s the attitude that Konvergence and Crypto Perk have about the future of their business. Let’s break it down by examining what the team plans to accomplish in the months and years ahead—
- In 2023: Crypto Perk aims to onboard 1 PiB of data to the Filecoin network in the first half of the year. By year-end 2023, the cloud storage provider aims to utilize 100% of its current storage capacity of 1.8 PiBs. Konvergence in the first quarter of 2023 expects to formally launch its Cloud Forest Storage software.
- In two years: Crypto Perk in the next two years plans to significantly expand its Filecoin data storage business, while Konvergence aims to scale to more than 100,000 licensed subscribers. The storage provider intends to transition away from its mining-as-a-service partnership to establish its own data center operations. Crypto Perk and Konvergence plan to jointly implement an educational campaign to raise awareness about Web3 products and the many consumer benefits.
- In five years: Crypto Perk over time is aiming to develop and manage a franchise network of Web3 data centers. Crypto Perk expects to continue collaborating with Konvergence to bring decentralized data storage to consumers, in addition to storing data for an increasing number of enterprise clients. Konvergence and Crypto Perk plan to continue building on their educational efforts to establish Web3 hubs in local communities.
Konvergence and Crypto Perk are teamed together in a productive partnership to bring Web3 data solutions to the masses. Crypto Perk focuses just on Filecoin data storage, while Konvergence provides a crucial layer of software that makes the Filecoin network much easier to use. Creating a viable Web3 alternative to Dropbox and Google Drive is no easy task, but luckily Konvergence and Crypto Perk are up for the challenge. Keep your eyes on Konvergence and Crypto Perk in the months and years ahead—they are making the transition to Web3 happen, one internet user at a time.