Tuesday, 3 February 2009

DREAM (Double Renewable Energy in AMerica in 3 years) (Bo 5769)

This week's parashah (section of the Bible Jews read this week) continues with the plagues and miracles. G-d tells Moses to Go and tell Pharaoh to "let my people go", i.e. FREE my people. But Pharaoh is enjoying the slavery of the people and incredibly so are the people! It takes the death of the firstborn of Egypt (Mitzrayim - the "dark" place where one finds oneself before one emerges into the light (enlightenment)) to make the Israelites (children of Israel (Jacob)) and Pharaoh realise that real change is afoot. Last week I dealt with this slavery, the miracles that are happening daily in my life and the plagues that we are currently faced on our fragile planet, which we call Earth.

I am going to America. Here is my story of why I am going, what I will do and what you can expect from me when I get back.

I will be away for 3 weeks from 9th February 2009 until 1st March 2009 and will be traveling firstly to Phoenix, Arizona for 2 weeks; and then to Las Vegas, Nevada for 1 week. I would like to thank my software development clients who have given me three months of unpaid leave (January to March), except for emergency or urgent items, so that I can pursue my dream (no pun intended: see DREAM).

My summarised itinerary is as follows:
5 days Beginners Grid-Tie PV Training (PV Stands for Photo-Voltaic; A Grid-Tie system is one that is connected to the grid and might or might not have a battery backup as well. Without a battery backup it is relatively simple to get up and running. If you need more information about how to do this, please email me)
4 days AEE Solar Conference
3 days ACORE Retech2009 Conference

Note that one type of photo-voltaic (PV) cell is essentially a crystal that makes an electrical current when sunlight shines on it. Another is a "thin-film" which is a light sensitive material which makes electricity when sunlight shines on it.

Here follows a more detailed background and analysis of why I am spending R60,000 on going to the USA in February, the benefits it will have for me and then for the people with whom I come into contact.

You may not know it, but Barack Obama has decided to double the manufacturing capacity of Renewable Energy products within the USA within 3 years and to have 25% of the USA off the electrical grid by 2025. A conference is being held in Las Vegas and its theme is this expansion. I am going to the conference - on my behalf and on yours. If you have questions or observations or information about something, let me know and I'll see what I can find out for you. I am also going as 1) I am an altruistic person who loves helping people and the environment; 2) I would like to fix the world, i.e. I would like to fix the part of the world over which I have some influence, i.e. I would like to fix my world. My world starts with my life, my immediate family (my wife and I), and my environment. My environment starts with my house and then includes the people with whom I come into contact.

When I get back from the conference, I want to implement my knowledge to help all my friends and clients with their renewable plans, be they wanting to invest R0.00 and save; or R3000, or R10,000 or bigger numbers. There are things we can do to save this planet and we need to start now. Some of them are expensive. Some of them are free. In the long run, they are all free. Read on to find out why.

Obama has said:
"We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories ... Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage. ... What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them ... that the arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. ... For the world has changed, and we must change with it ... What is required now from us is a new era of responsibility ... This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that G-d calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny ... Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter, and with eyes fixed on the horizon and and G-d's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

The bold words above show that President Obama understands that critical change is upon us. I call this a "Rome Burning" scenario. First there is a recession; then a depression; then a "Rome Burning" where after "Rome has burnt" (figuratively/mentally/emotionally/spiritually; and hopefully not physically) everything is different. At the moment we havecentralised systems where a few incredibly wealthy families get rich at the expense of everyone else; where we are told that there has to be a "cost of living" and where we have to "save for retirement." Where we have to be dependent on centralised grocery stores when for example, in my garden, I have guavas, parsley, rosemary and lavender (and when we had a vegetable garden we had lettuce, rocket, tomatoes, etc (much more than we needed)) and my neighbours have lemons, apricots, potatoes, etc. Why not barter with them? This is great for the economy and the environment, after all consider how much electricity is wasted on keeping perishable foods cool! Consider how much electricity is wasted on allowing us to eat strawberries all year round, when we should only eat them in spring and early summer! Consider how much oil (diesel), tyres, time, etc, is spent getting all the products from the centralised farms to the centralised warehouses to the centralised shopping centres to the centralised food stores. And the same goes for all the other things we buy. Consider how many trained sowers are out of work in South Africa, where one can still buy South African or Angolan cottonand one can still make yarn the old fashioned way with a spinning wheel that doesn't need electricity and make clothes the old way that doesn't need electricity. And where these clothes last forever! Because they are made with love by the people or close to the people who are going to wear them.

Most of us are slaves in a system that tells us we are free (read http://repairyourworld.blogspot.com/2009/01/exhodus-after-flood-miracles-and.html if you don't understand what I mean). Most of us don't need to work in centralised offices. We could work from home. In Ireland, whole call centres operate where people work from home. This is great from a demand planning point of view because people come on and off line as and when they are needed and when they are available. These people don't sit in traffic jams. They are fresh and ready to work. Pollution is minimised. For myself, I walk out of my bedroom at home and turn left and I am in my office. A very short commute :) And zero pollution and zero stress. I did have to reorganise my life when I moved in here, but that is a subject of a different story.

Obama says that the world has changed. If you think that he and I are nuts, then watch all the videos athttp://www.chrismartenson.com/. Click on the Take the Crash Course button on the top left hand side of the home page. The videos (basically slide show presentations) are low bandwidth and are easy to watch. I haven't watched them all yet, but I have spent 2 hours per day for the past 4 years (20 months!) trying to understand what's going on in this world and why change is so rapidly upon us. If you have watched The Mayan Calendar DVD, you will know that they said the world will end on 24th December 2011. What they meant is what Obama has said and what he has the vision and courage to say:"The world as we know it is going to end." Those who are ready for the change will not only survive, but prosper and have more fulfilling and rewarding lives than ever before - even in a recession or depression! There are amazing opportunities in a recession and depression and I am discussing with various companies how we can take advantage of this using ideas like "Inventory, Operating Costs and Throughput" from "The Goal" and "Interdependency" from "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." If you haven't read these books, you need to. They are easy reads, written as novels which teach very important concepts that the future will rely on. And The Goal was written over 20 years ago.

If money is your most important measure of success you will find ways to make it your least important measure of success! You see if you have your own electricity (see attachment) and your own water and your own gas and your own food and your own "other stuff" listed at my Mind Map at http://www.mindmeister.com/14204830 you won't need money.

Chris Martenson in his presentations shows how and why the world is changing. Watch the videos when you can.

Attached is a photo of the roof of my house. Look how beautiful it is. Plus at 7:10pm on Tuesday 27th January 2009, when the wind speed was 25km/hour, I would have been getting about 350 Watts out of my turbine once it is erected.

Uni-solar PVL128s and US64s on David's Roof

The government, press and general public believe that the worldwide recession will bypass South Africa, but I believe that South Africa is in a much more precarious state than people think. Whilst I am an optimist and believe that we can change and adapt and survive the future, I believe that a lot of companies will go to the wall. However, I will do my utmost to ensure that my clients survive! It is in my interest to help my clients to survive. Just like it is in your interests to make your client (the company you work for) survive. I have discovered over the past 6 months that the average South African thinks there is a recession, so is behaving as if there is one. Be careful of this trap. If you read the Miracles and Plagues essay on my Blog you will discover how my thinking has changed over the past year from creating a company with a R5 million turnover to creating a company with a R250 million + turnover (in the first year!).

Read the essays at my blog. Some of them are long and may take you a few days to read, but I have tried to summarise 20 continuous months of my learning (4 ½ years of actual time). See http://repairyourworld.blogspot.com/ If you want regular updates as to what I am doing, then click on the subscribe button on my blog and you will get updates, usually weekly, but sometimes twice a week.

If you read Saving the South African Economy essay which is a letter I wrote to the Cape Times this morning (27 Jan 2009), you will find that the SARB (reserve bank) can reduce interest rates by a 1/3rd (from 15% to 10%) without driving up inflation.

If you read Ask the South African Reserve Bank for Bailout Money you will see why it is essential that companies inform the reserve bank what their financial position is and how it has changed. This will force the SARB to dramatically reduce interest rates at the beginning of next month paving the way for South Africa to become one of the strongest economies in the world - instead of hobbling and crippling it which might happen if they aren't bold.

Barack Obama has created a three year plan to double the USA's Renewable Energy (RE) manufacturing capacity and to increase RE to at least 25% of the USA's energy supply by 2025. If they give the same kinds of incentives to RE as they give to Nuclear, I believe they could be at 25% within 5 years. The Retech 2009 conference has the theme of DREAM: Doubling Renewable Energy in AMerica in the next three years. I am going to be at the conference. :) See http://www.retech2009.com/

I am spending my own money on doing what I think is necessary to prepare myself and my world (my particular part of the big world) for the future - because the alternative is waiting for the government to take my money and tell me what to do - which aint going to happen. My world includes you. Join me in thinking and expanding your minds in this moment. Everything that has happened to you in the past has prepared you for this moment. All the positives and negatives have prepared you for this moment. Seize it. Do what you have always wanted to do. Believe that you can because the leader of the free world says "Yes we can."
If you read "David's analysis of 2008 and how we can prepare for 2009", you will see what I think we can all do (mostly in the way we think) to prepare ourselves (our selfs) for the year ahead.

As I'm sure you are all aware by now, I have started a Renewable Energy Business called Orbital Renewable Energy (ORE or Orbital RE).

In the past year I have invested over 750 hours of time in learning as much as I can about how to generate electricity and along the way, I have also discovered that we should be learning to live without a number of other grids, eg water, sewerage, gas (cooking), food, and eventually money. When someone says they are "living off grid" or trying to live off grid, they are usually referring to the electricity grid. But one can look at all the other grids as well and find ways to live without them too. See my "Renewables and Sustainability" and "Living Without Grids" mindmaps by clicking on the links. These will help you get some understanding of where I am going with my thinking and help you to visualise a future world independent of central "grids."

As part of my research I decided to travel to two conferences in the USA. The first is with a wholesaler / distributor who keeps many suppliers stock items (a Master Distributor) and who then supplies this stock mostly in the USA, but also around the world. I filled in the application form and have been accepted as a dealer. Subsequent to that and in consultation with my friends who are working with me in ORE, I have decided to also attend a Beginners Grid-Tie PV Training Course. I am also fortunate in a way because my work pipeline is currently less than two weeks whereas at this time last year it was three months and there would have been no way I could get away. This two weeks could be a cause for worry, but I am working to mitigate any loss of earnings by starting ORE. Together with another friend, I have also started Free Life On Earth (FLOE), a not-for-profit organisation (charity) that specialises in fund raising to then build eco-villages, do training, etc.

The reason for attending the conferences is to be able to personally see the equipment that will form part of my business and to form customer-supplier relationships with those suppliers. Much of the equipment is not available in South Africa so being able to go to two venues where I will be able to see almost every line of equipment in my industry in one place will save me time and money in the long run; and it will shorten my learning time. Internet reading can only take one so far. At some point one has to actually start buying things, experimenting and building. At the moment, my house is a big science experiment and my wife, Mirjana, and I feel wonderful for it. Our TV room is already off grid and we have had (almost) free electricity there for four months. My high school science teacher would be proud of me. :)

I will also be attending some other events and writing an exam, ie:
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV Entry Level Certification Test
The APS STAR (Solar Test and Research Centre) Tour and Hiking Excursion
And I will be sitting in on two 3 hour ACORE (which I have joined) committee meetings

I would love drive from Phoenix (PHX) to Las Vegas via Sedona and the Grand Canyon, but won't have the time. You can read about the route here.

Here are some details of the area from a friend in the USA:
"Additionally, whilst in PHX, you should make plans to see some of the local sites. It's a very interesting area, energetically. It would be a shame to come this distance and not see Sedona, Flagstaff (Route 66 goes right through it, if that means anything to you), and even Tucson (pronounced '2-sohn') since they have the Environmental Science Center. The Biosphere project was in AZ too and Arcosanti is along the route heading north to Sedona. Taliesin West - Frank Lloyd Wright's second studio is there, Scottsdale has lots of art and, from time to time, the Barrett-Jackson (car +) auction. Plus there are interesting little towns which might be ghost towns and/or old mining towns. The dowsing community is fairly strong there as well. The Desert Botanical Garden is good too. PHX is really easy to get around. It's a great system. Oh, and the Heard Museum should be a destination."

As a Reiki Master who uses universal energy, aromatherapy, crystals and a pendulum as tools to heal people, being able to see these places would be incredible. But I am on a timetable and I need to leave this for later. Note that my timetable has an immovable date by which certain things must happen. An immovable date is called a milestone. My milestone is 24th December 2011, the date the Mayan's give for "the end of the world", the date the calendar as we know it stops, and we move into a new age - which we must all be ready for if we are to survive.

The ACORE conference core theme is Barack Obama's new three year plan to double the USA's Renewable Energy productive capacity. Obama is also calling for 25% of the USA's electricity to be green by 2025. This is more ambitious than South Africa's goals by far. For example, last week the wind was blowing at 35km per hour at my house which would generate 600 Watts of power once my 1KW wind turbine is up; enough to run almost my entire office.

Now for what you can do right now, today, this minute, this moment: Stop thinking that you need help from anyone; Decide that you want to make a change that will prepare you for a future with lower costs and zero need for retirement funding.

We need to change the two paradigms that we live with every day on which we have to become dependent. The first paradigm is dependency on centralisation; on a central government for our needs, or a central food retailer, or whatever, and move towards self sufficiency. (This centralisation of everything is a Communist Marxist Policy, so one can deduce that we live in a communist world, even though we are told it is a capitalist world.) Grow your own vegetables. Plant fruit trees. Talk to your neighbours. You might have an apricot tree and lettuce and tomatos. They might have guavas, potatoes and other foods. A lot of food is wasted, but if you barter you can save a lot of the Earth's resources. The current / old paradigm is "successful people have fancy cars, fancy watches, fancy holiday houses, fancy this and that." The first new paradigm should / could be (with your help): "successful people live without grids." Read that mind map above for some help or email me.

I'd like to thank Oscar for the following response to my earlier email:

"Did you know that within the first 5yrs of Cuba being sanctioned, their oil supply was reduced by 80% and food imports were more than halved??? The government then issued an instruction to EVERY Cuban who has a piece of arable land, to grow vegetables and fruit. Whether you grew them in your front/backyard or on your porch in a 'farming tray'. Eventually what happened is that Cuba had grown SO MANY fruit and vegetables, they could export to other countries (who were still willing to do business with them) in exchange for imports of other 'raw materials' that they needed.

"Funnily enough, the wave of sanctions that hit Cuba, was the best thing that could have happened to them, as their people started eating healthier (decreasing rates of various deseases), exports grew, more people were put to work (through the farming initiative) and pollution was DRASTICALLY REDUCED because of the huge decrease in motor vehicles on the road and also people were generally alot healthier since a larger amount of the population started using bicycles as a medium of transport to and from work.

Please check out http://www.thevenusproject.com/ - and see what a proposed Resource Based Economy will look like."

The second paradigm we live with is the "cost of living" paradigm. Who says there has to be a "cost" of living? Perhaps there will be one when you leave school, but every school leaver's ambition is that by 30 they will be self-sufficient. When 99.99% of them don't make it by 30, they change it to by 40, etc. By 65, when they want to retire after putting huge amounts of money into retirement schemes, they find that they don't have enough money to retire on, eg because there happens to be a downturn at that time.

Simply put everyone should be in control of their own money. Pensions are meant to help you save. But wouldn't it be better to invest your hard earned cash in taking a room of the grid (R20,000 for my TV room) or buying a kit that has three lights and a cigarette lighter charger (R3000, although I am investing heavily to bring the price down to R1000) so that you can read at night without electricity and charge your cell phone at zero cost?

Perhaps it sounds like its going to be a lot of money or take a lot of time, but you can start very simply, for example by turning off your TV and hi-fi system at the plug instead of leaving them on standby (R140 saving per annum in our case).

Or perhaps we could all get together and not run our heavy appliances at the same time, e.g. run the following items at different times: stove/oven; washing machine; lawnmower; hair drier; vacuum cleaner; kettle (this is not an exhaustive list). One cold fit a "load shed relay" (approx R1000 fitted) that turns the geyser off when you turn the stove/oven on. Although you won't save money, you will save the planet, i.e. you will make the environment cleaner. You see, power stations need to run at full capacity almost all the time, so that just in case you turn on the light, or you turn on the vacuum cleaner, the power is there. That is why a 15% "reserve margin" is required. This is spare capacity because power stations need to be taken off-line for maintenance and worse than this, a base load power station goes down 8% of the time without a reason. At least with wind energy, predictions can be made about strength and capacity up to a week in advance - meaning that in the ideal world we could plan our heavy appliance energy (power) usage.

And if there are 300 (distributed) 6MW (1 Megawatt = 1,000 Kilowatts = 1,000,000 Watts) wind turbines instead of one (centralised) Koeberg Nuclear Power Station and if one wind turbine goes down, only 6MW is lost instead of 900MW if one of Koeberg's two 900MW steam turbines fails (as we know this happens all too regularly in Cape Town). With wind predictions, one could turn on the TV and see what wind surplus power (energy) there is and therefore know when you can turn on your washing machine. Note that with wind energy a 20% reserve margin is recommended which is not much more than the current 15% reserve margin. It is recommended (in the Lovins Report) that excess wind energy be used in pumped water systems where water is pumped back up into dams from low lying areas. When the wind drops the water can be allowed to run downhill creating electricity. Excess coal based electricity is currently used in Cape Town at the Steenbrass and Drakensberg Pumped Water power systems which have been in existence for decades!

Imagine if you wanted to make a braai (BBQ) for your buddies at 6pm. Usually you would light the fire at 5pm and start cooking at 6pm and perhaps eat at 7pm. But Eskom turn on the fire at 5am because they don't know when you will turn on your oven during the day. This creates a massive amount of waste and pollution and the only people who benefit from this are the directors and shareholders of Eskom, and the coal miners and the pharmaceutical companies (due to poor health due to pollution).

If you want to find out what your appliances are using give me a call. I can sell you a voltage and current metre for R500 plus post and packing in South Africa which will tell you what watts you are drawing from each appliance, even when they are on standby! Even when you think they are off, but still plugged into the wall, for example a small UPS which perhaps you switch off at the UPS, but leave plugged into a the wall. It could be drawing 50 Watts at any moment.

Now you are probably thinking R500 is a lot of money, but suppose as a result of spending this you discovered that by turning your TV system off instead of leaving it on standby, you might save R140 per year. The product becomes cheaper. Also if you place an order and give me two months to deliver it, instead of 2 weeks, then I don't have to hold any stock. I can then amalgamate a bunch of orders and get them for you at R400 each or perhaps even cheaper! But because we want things now, we pay way over the odds for them, instead of being prepared to wait a little while and get things cheaper. Email me if you are interested.

Paying dramatically less could apply to supermarkets as well. With computer systems as they are by now, one should be able to use the internet to capture one's menu for the month. The supermarket would then only need to have the products that we are fetching that day or for that week. The products would be packed and ready for collection. The supermarket would be a quarter of its size; its costs would be reduced; it would make more money; you would save a lot of money; and food waste would be eliminated.

Before I sign off, people are asking me where I find the time to do all this and am I not perhaps working to hard?

Let's look where I save time:
1) Very little TV (50 minutes so far this year - in January 2009; and only because two people phoned me and told me I "had" to watch something - I'm glad I did :) ). I get my news from the Cape Times in the morning and from organisations on the internet that send headlines every day, for example using IT-Online, Google Alerts, Engineering News, Honest Reporting, and other online news organisations that send me headlines every day. This gives me a way of knowing what's going on without having to watch the news on TV which is repetitive, time wasteful and often more full of propaganda than other forms of communication;
2) I don't watch sport, for example at Newlands. I might go to an international once a year, but usually prefer to watch it on TV as the fridge and toilets are closer and I can sit here naked if I wish;
3) I don't play time consuming sports like golf;
4) About 5 days of the week, I do an hour to an hour and a half of stretching, meditation, energy (kundalini) yoga, chi kung, reiki, on myself. The other two days perhaps I go for a walk at dawn or dusk or on Table Mountain. This allows me to clear the cobwebs without adding new cobwebs, for example my bad golf score, or how badly the sharks did against the bulls (I don't even know who the sharks and bulls are; I just wish there were called Western Province or Boland like they used to be);
5) I don't buy cars that I "can afford," but rather what I need and what is fuel and maintenance efficient. If I bought a car I "could afford" I would be working all the time and wouldn't have any "free time." I would be using this "free time" to pay for my expensive car. So my free time would actually be called "Mercedes time" or "BMW time." What's wrong with a Renault Clio that allows you to work 4 days a week intead of 5 days a week?
6) I work from home. As soon as ADSL arrived, I went to my clients and asked them if I could work from home. They said yes. I am 30% more productive at home than I was when I worked on site. I still need to visit my clients approximately once every two weeks. If you are thinking, "I'm a full time employee, I can't work from home," or the kids will annoy me at home, or I need to get out of the house, then you are dead wrong. It might be that for the first week or month, the kids won't leave you alone, but they will learn. Or you might find that you raid the fridge every day like I did for the first few weeks and you start putting on weight, so you go back to the office, but you can solve that problem, simply by making sandwiches just like you used to when you went to work. Mirjana did this for me for about a month and then I said she could stop. I didn't raid the chocolate or sweet drawer or the fridge. I became used to working from home. If you are thinking: I have a full time job; my boss will never let me work from home, then you should ask yourself: "Do I sit at a desk all day or am I on the road all day?" If you sit at a desk all day you can work from home. Documents can be scanned and mailed to you or put onto the intranet document server. You will save so much money on petrol and car maintenance that you might pay to upgrade the work computer which you took home so that you can do more things on it. You can call people using Skype. You can video conference using Skype;
7) I don't play computer games. I do play games like scrabble or tumble-down or card games with my friends. It's called socialising. Today we call it social-networking - and its not real!
8) I limit my online social networking to 15 minutes per day and try to keep it less than this, perhaps logging into Facebook every three days. I don't join any of the Facebook "clubs." They just waste more time;
9) I keep detailed timesheets which I update when I start and stop each task. I go through 100 pages of "timesheet notes" a month. I mark my time in 15 minute chunks so that I know at the end of the day what I've done, who I've spoken to, what new things I need so do (that aren't in email or my calendar). I've got several lever arch files going back 14 years. I keep them just in case I get asked to do something that I've done before again. I'm not a hoarder. But I keep my logs. My logs save me time;
10) I have filing cabinets that are carefully organised and maintained by Mirjana, so that if I need to find something, I can find it quickly. I get upset quickly if I can't find something. From stock control, one learns that it doesn't matter how long (minutes) it take to file something, it matters how long (seconds) it takes to find it;
11) I write down everything I need to do as I think about it, either on paper or in my calendar on my phone or in my Notes folder on my phone or in an online Mind Mapping program that I can use from any computer in the world (http://www.mindmeister.com/). Once I've written it down, I can forget about it. If it's in my calendar I'll find it when it needs to happen. If it's in a Notes folder, I make a point of checking through the notes file names every day just to see if I need to do anything. If its written down I don't need to clog my brain with remembering it and I can do new things or if I feel like meditating and doing nothing (ie being "in the moment"), I can do that;
12) I use an Apple computer which has a feature called "stickies." They are yellow post it notes that live on the Desktop (screen) similar to how we used to put them on our Desks. I can open them all with a click and close them with a click. I keep my to do lists in them. I keep history I might forget in them, eg pains or problems or things I need to do around the house or personal things;
13) I use an Apply computer because its completely quiet. When one works from home, one wants quiet. The quietist computer is an Apple. The only time I hear it is sometimes when the hard drive spins or if the fan comes on, but that happens seldom;
14) I try to find ways every day to make myself redundant. It sounds odd. After all, shouldn't I make my boss completely dependent on me so that if I leave there will be a void? Why would I want to be redundant? That means I don't have work. That's 100% true. I don't have the work I had yesterday. I've solved a problem and moved on. I always try to help my clients (bosses) understand how to do things for themselves. They might not be computer programmers or renewables experts, but they use the programs and equipment I sell. I want to make darn sure that they know how to use them, so that I don't get unnecessary maintenance calls and so that the equipment or software doesn't break. I can teach them without it being a degree. Usually its 5 minutes at a time. If I get a change request, I try to find ways not to do it. i.e. has it been done before? is there another way? can it be done cheaper by someone else?

You see this way, I am constantly saving my clients money and am therefore making myself indispensible because if they want to save money they can give me a call. I believe that bug free software is possible and although there are sometimes bugs in my programs, I start from the premise that there don't need to be. I compare myself with a bridge builder;

15) I don't gossip. If someone gossips to me, I ask them to stop. If they don't I disconnect myself from them. Gossip is negative. It drags one down. It is unnecessary. If someone gossips to me about something someone has told them about someone else, I ask that person to ask the person who told them to go directly to the person concerned and tell them. That is not gossip. In this situation, there are only three people involved, not 100's. Furthermore I spend time learning the truth, not the half truths I heard in gossip or hearsay (hearing something some else said third hand, ie not from the original person). I don't have to work out if something is real or not. It is real. It might be untrue or it might be wrong, but I can investigate it with the instigator and find out for myself what I want to believe or not to believe;
16) I stay away from negative energy. Sometimes if I have to lose something or give something away to get rid of the negative energy, I do it;
17) If I hear someone say, I had a bad day, I ask them which 2 minutes in their day was bad. They tell me it was a particular call, or a particular person, or a particular problem. I tell them to say "I had a great day except for those 2 minutes." This is putting positive energy into the universe. Just as importantly it is allowing one to say that only 2 minute out of my 480 minute working day was bad. And because of this, I can concentrate on making sure that those 2 minutes don't happen again, or preparing myself so that when those 2 minutes happen again, they don't change my mood. If you've watched The Secret, then you will know that the secret is simply about getting rid of negative energy;
18) I read self help books; eg: The Power of Intention (and I intend my future - I make it happen with G-d and the universe's help);
eg The Power of Now; eg Rich Dad, Poor Dad; eg The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People; eg Think and Grow Rich; eg Chicken Soup for the Soul; eg: The Goal; eg The Committed Life. I use these books for advice. I don't necessary take the advice. I see what I can learn from others;
19) If I learn an affirmation I say it every day, for example:
a) there are 5 Reiki affirmations:
i) Today I won't get angry
ii) Today I won't worry
iii) Today I'll be kind to every living creature including myself
iv) Today I'll do my work honestly and with integrity
v) Today I'll count my many blessings;
b) There are other affirmations which can be said without becoming arrogant, by understanding the power of the universe:
i) "I am more than I appear to be. All the world's strengh and power rests inside me." This one is from the book "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari";
20) I write what I think. I'm not scared to tell people the world as I see it. I'm not scared to go to the top guy if I've been to everyone else in between or if I feel that the top guy who is usually the visionary will see things others won't see. The people lower down might be "hurt" or feel that I have gone outside the chain of command, but I have only been given one written warning in my life and it was in London when I went to the Senior Partner of the Chartered Accounting firm I worked for to advice him (with a marketing plan) that he could quadruple the size of a particular part of his business and by doing very little work. As a result of this, my boss and his boss, who I had both advised about the plan were aggrieved, and gave me a written warning. Nothing was done with the product and it was allowed to rot after I left the firm. Within 5 years the seven clients were all using other software.

Time is your most valuable asset. Use it wisely. Waste it and its gone forever.