Morning coffeeWe’re trying something new. So much happens during the typical week that, by Friday, we’ve forgotten most of it in a TGIF haze. Come Monday, we need to reboot and wrap our minds around it all again. To help you jumpstart this week, we’re going to recap last week, post links to the best stuff we read and highlight economic news of interest to the PLMish community. Let us know if you find this useful, what you’d like to see included, or if this is just more digital clutter as you’re trying to get your week started.

Department of Corrections and Amplifications

PTC reported an OK FQ1 last week with much of the earnings call spent on the Internet of Things. That’s cool, but I was more interested in what happened in FQ3 and fired off a number of questions to PTC about maintenance, both in dollars and seats. Maintenance revenue was up 3% y/y as reported, less than half of the usual 7%. Why the slowdown? PTC replied, “Maintenance trails license; the expectation is that it will kick in”. We’ll need to keep an eye on that.

The number of seats under maintenance went down 1% from Q4 to Q1. Extended PLM went down by over 10,000 seats, which seems like a lot. PTC said that this is because of specific account renewals, which included at least one for which a site license was granted. The company made clear that “No loss in annual revenue, but seat numbers declined.” We’re going to have to watch this, too. Old history shows that site licenses are tricky — a bit of a slippery slope as vendors try to get compensated for what their customers actually use. [And it appears to render meaningless the seat count data, but we’ll worry about that next earnings release.]

Event of the Week

Without question, the news out of SolidWorks World 2014 was interesting. For the first time in years, I stayed in New England and followed what was happening in San Diego via the blogosphere and Twitter. Depending on what you read, SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual is either brilliant and revolutionary or the end of the world.

Josh Mings at SolidSmack has a good recap of the implications of SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual for users and previews the coming Industrial Conceptual. Josh says that the conceptual products are additions to SolidWorks, not replacements, but that DS’ still needs to better explain its strategy.

Ralph Grabowski at WorldCAD Access captured the Twitter stream as the media tried to figure it all out. It’s an amusing read, if you’ve got a couple of minutes.

PLMish Deals and Earnings

Overshadowing pretty much all other news this week in our little PLM world was the announcement that Dassault Systèmes and Accelrys have agreed to merge. I wrote about it here, but more information is coming out as Accelrys submits filings to the US Securities and Exchange Commission; you can see them at the SEC’s website.

You may recall that Hexagon said it wanted to buy Veripos to build out its offering for oil and gas exploration companies. It’s been a bumpy road, and Hexagon had to sweeten its offer, but the company said late last week said it has bought outright or secured commitments for a total of 95.8% of the outstanding shares. The acceptance period for the offer expires on Friday.

There was some earnings news, too. AspenTech reported total revenue of $99 million for its fiscal Q2, with a 28% increase in subscription and software revenue to $89 million. Services and other revenue was $10 million, up from $8 million a year ago. The company said that energy, chemicals, and engineering and construction represented over 90% of the company’s business in FQ2 and that energy was the largest vertical, followed by engineering and construction, and chemicals. CFO Mark Sullivan said that the strong growth year-to-date, a strong pipeline and the solid odds the company sees on closing a large supply chain deal lead to increasing the revenue guidance for fiscal 2014 from the range of $360 million to $368 million to $372 million to $378 million.

Nemetschek announced preliminary results for 2013 that showed a nice acceleration in revenue growth towards year-end. Q4 revenue was €52 million, up 9% year/year while full-year revenue was up 6% y/y to €186 million. Design segment revenue was up 10% in Q4 and up 6% for the year; Build revenue was up 10% in Q4 and up 7% for the year; Manage was up 10% for the year while Multimedia was up 8%. Look for more details on March 28.

What Else Can We Tie to the Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl is one of the US’ signature sporting events. Super Bowl Sunday means empty shops and movie theaters. On Monday, we debate which advertisement was the best/cutest/most annoying and whether the halftime show lived up to its billing. My favorite ad this year: Every time a VW gets to 100,000 miles, an engineer gets his wings; see it here.

It’s also a reason for all sorts of cross-promotions or tie-ins, even to the PLMish world. Autodesk announced that FOX Sports, US broadcaster of the Super Bowl, would be using Flow Design, formerly known as Project Falcon, to show how wind swirled in the football stadium. The press release said that “FOX WEATHER TRAX … clearly illustrates, for the first time ever on live television, dynamic in-stadium airflow patterns.” The weather at the Super Bowl was actually pretty good, so I don’t think FOX used its new toy during the game but you can see a cool video here. [Update: I originally had Moldflow as the underlying tech; thanks for the catch, David, and the quick correction, Stacy.]

More of a reach, but too good not to mention, is ShipConstructor‘s invitation to build a boat-themed barbecue grill for the big game. They’re talking about college football, not pro, but you could probably use the grill more than once. Get in on the contest here.

Best Story of the Week

Literally hundreds of pieces come across my inbox and browser in a given week. Rarely does one make me smile, get out my credit card and drag in everyone around so that they can see it too. Martyn Day (@martynday) pointed us to this Wired magazine article about a Kickstarter campaign to fund Strawbees, small, plastic connectors that turn drinking straws, cardboard boxes and other household materials into erector sets. Wired quotes one of the inventors as saying “the goal with Strawbees is to see how far an open source hardware toy like this can go.” It’s incredibly creative — and, even better, a little girl is the poster child for the product and campaign. My kit arrives in April and I can’t wait.

So: What do you think? Do this again or make it stop? Put a note in the comment or send an email with your thoughts to monica AT schnitgercorp DOT com.