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drupal icon, svg versionI have always attended business networking events as an essential part of my Small Business growth strategy. They are a marvelous source of innovation, inspiration and comraderie.

There are also, of course, the occasional cash-paying business prospect. But much of the value is, well… free, but it’s also priceless. Recently, I’ve learned from these meetings that barter is an effective method of exchange, given the right partner in the trade.

One of the members of a Small Business networking group I attend monthly has an online magazine that’s going from quarterly to monthly. She wants a new website built, using the Open Source web building app Drupal. I’ve worked with Drupal, and certainly appreciate the challenges and benefits of working with this platform.

So she will get a cutting-edge website, and I will get the experience of building one, and a reference site for future paying clients. Of course, while she is leveraging my expertise, I am basically providing professional services for FREE. Even if we accept that the skills developed in real-world conditions will eventually have commercial value, how can I afford to do the actual work, while also having to service my paying clients?

Compact Flash to IDE Converter.That’s where the value of Open Source technology proves itself. From the start, I have saved literally hundreds of hours by downloading a pre-built Linux server running a Drupal website from Bitnami, and run it in my free virtual computer environment provided by VMware.

No additional hardware cost. In addition, I’ve leveraged the efforts of installation and configuration experts, for FREE! And all this is just the start of how free technology makes this barter more than a fair trade for me.

In upcoming posts, I will journal my efforts from prototype to live website. I will explore the actual software and technology used in my Open-Windows blog.

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