What do you do w/$12,000?

Well, let’s see… how to put this question to the TM…

OK, so we’re a small business - most of the money we make we take out right away. But we are trying to build the business base to justify acquiring another license to the software on which we depend. We’re in the rare situation of having acquired enough cash, above and beyond what my partner and I need to live, to acquire this additional software license. But we don’t want to spend the dough until we know we’ve got the business to justify (pay for) it.

So, as soon as we order the software, we’ll have 30 days to pay for it. Until then, what should we do with the money?


…or the stock market. Similar odds, esp. with technology stocks. Vegas is more fun.

30 days? Just stick it under your matress.

I have to ask: what software could possibly be worth $12,000, especially for a small business?

I work at a manufacturer that employs 500 people, and our system is on Windows NT, 98, Office 97, and Backoffice 4.5. The biggest cost is the multiple licences. A single copy of each of the above would total only about $12,000.

Part of the reason I’m skeptical is that we bought a $5000 piece of software that’s functionally equivalent to WS-FTP, a shareware program. There’s a lot of crap business software that costs a lot and is bought by those who don’t know better.


The software we use sells for a minimum module installation of $8000 and a max of ~$28000; this beats the UNIX versions by about $80,000. Just so you know.

Yeah, hansel, but on the other hand I contract for an engineering firm who pays $28,000 for one license of design/automation software.

Beatle: Papbear’s right, 30 days isn’t long enough to do anything serious. On the other hand, you could use some of it to update other equipment or give yourselves a bonus, assuming you can rebuild the pot quickly enough. You sure don’t want a wad of cash sitting around at the end of your fiscal year, lest Uncle Sam gets his hands on it.

A place to park money for 30 days? A money market account.
Don’t even think of the stock market until your time frame hits a minimum–a bare minimum–of 5 years.

Doug Bowe is correct. And even though I’m in the securities industry, I’d have to elaborate and suggest a bank money market account.

Why? A mutual fund (or even brokerage account) money market account is almost exactly as safe as a bank money market, and usually pays more interest. But if you’re running a growing business, the time to start sucking up to your bank is now, not when you need capital.

In fact, excess cash is a great excuse to re-evaluate your banking relationships. How much do the weasels charge you to process checks, etc. If you do a good job, the minuscule amount interest that you lose by being at a bank rather than a mutual fund will be made back many times.

Or send it to Nickrz.

Good luck with your new 3-D seismic analyzer.

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

Also, hansel, if you have a small business where you do mechanical engineering consulting, you can expect to fork out about $30,000 for some good finite element analysis software.

Man, I really need to quit this business programming and start selling software.

Strainger: What solver/mesher are you using? We currently use Optris/DeltaMesh but I am contemplating looking at something else. DeltaMesh is weak and Optris is geared toward stamping engineering. Not that that’s a bad thing, but we have considered doing some crash test simulation and Optris doesn’t seem completely capable IMO.

12,000 bucks isn’t a whole lot of money in today’s business environment. I don’t think any short-term investment is going to yield enough return to justify the risk. You’d sure hate to have to turn down prospective business by losing money in a risky venture. My advice, hang on to that cash; even if you don’t get the prospective job, you’ll still have the money to use in the future. That’s always a nice position to be in.

As far as expensive software goes, read below.

We just bought a copy of CADDSTAR for our company. It’s a piece of software that sits on top of AutoCAD Map. We paid almost $23,000 for one seat; at least it includes one year of tech support.

It’s used to design outdoor plant for the telecom industry. We have a long-term contract with a local cable operator for design/engineering of an upgrade to their current system. We’re rebuilding the entire Toledo area with a hybrid fiber/coax system. A nice 4 or 5 year long project.

In addition to our engineering functions, we have a media group that makes sales and training videos. These guys have a non-linear digital video-editing suite that must have cost a mint. It’s on a brand new Intergraph machine with dual 500MHz P-III processors, one gig of RAM and an additional SCSI drive array.

Keep in mind we are only a 25 man firm and have been in business for just less than a year now. So, business equipment and software can be extremely expensive for some very specialized fields.

Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure.
- Ambrose Bierce

sly, I’m only versed in ANSYS and COSMOS/M. I don’t know that either of these two would be that good for crash testing; you may want to look into Mechanica or IDEAS for that. As far comparing those 2 FEMers, ANSYS is a alot better than COSMOS/M. The main advantage ANSYS has is that it’s “smarter.”


  1. ANSYS keeps a command active until you’re done using it and tell it so. With COSMOS/M you have to keep re-enterig the command. This is a pain if you’re creating lines, areas, etc.
  2. In ANSYS, you can make an area using as many keypoints as you want. In COSMOS/M, you’re limited to 3 or 4 keypoints, after which you have to use regions. Not nearly as straight forward as areas.
  3. In ANSYS, if 2 areas share a line and one area is already meshed, then ANSYS “knows” that line will have the same number of divisions when the other area is meshed. In COSMOS/M, if that line has, say, 3 nodes when the one area is meshed, I still have to specify that number when I mesh the next on or I could end up with a mismatch.
  4. ANSYS automatically merges concident nodes that are on the same line. You have to tell COSMOS/M to merge nodes. This has resulted in numerous solution crashes for me.

SolidWorks has an add-in called COSMOS/Works which has some pretty awesome preprocessing capabilities. You specify static, frequency, buckling, or thermal analysis. You then define material properties by each component in the assembly. You define boundary conditions by surfaces and then mesh the whole thing at once, specifying contact (instead of welded) interfaces if necessary. This system is essentially paving the way toward “virtual prototyping” and is geared for use by analysts and designers.

COSMOS/Works is limited to just tets and shell elements, and if you want to get into the real nitty-gritty, you may have to export the model to COSMOS/M. You can’t really simplify (e.g. beams or trusses, axisymetric models, etc.) but COSMOS now employs a solver called Fast Finite Element (FFE). I frequently run 50,000 node models without major penalties to my solution time or disk space. They have made a lot of improvements in the latest version, but I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to explore yet.

You may want to check out the following links: www.ansys.com www.cosmosm.com

Maybe Nickrz should retitle this thread “Techno-geeks on Parade” ;)!

I wouldn’t know a SCSI drive array if it bit me in the ass! I’m still appauled that I had to spend $200 on screenwriting software.

It’s easy, Papabear! Say a drive array bites you in the ass. If you get a nasty infection, it was probably SCSI. :wink:

Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

$200 for software? What the hell is software?

Doug and manhattan:

That’s pretty much what I was thinking. I didn’t express myself well enough to get it across that we’re really looking at about 60-90 days. We do have some (small) stock holdings, but those are put the money in and forget about it things - I wouldn’t even want to bet the money on the 2-3 month fluctuations of any one stock in the market. I appreciate the insight as to my banking relationships, manhattan. Whatever we do we’ll do Tuesday, including possibly the decision to just sit on it.


Appreciate the thought; equipment upgrades are part of are normal expense profile - we know the hot machine in the office is getting a demotion to #2 12 mos. into it’s career here. We tend to look at hardware as a semi-consumable. Bonuses? Hmmm… If we haven’t spent it by Xmas…


Not a bad thought, but some background. The company that produces the software to which I refer placed their 1000th license in March of this year and started operations in 1989. They’re a company w/vision and they will reap their reward, but it is definitely not overnight riches.

Oh yeah, manhattan, you’re right - it’s a 3D seismic interpetation/mapping suite.

Thanks all for responding. Don’t let anything SCSI bite you on the ass!

interpretation, interpretation, interpretation…
Jeez, can’t even spell what I do (sigh).