Sunday, March 29, 2009

Reputation Marketing

I bound my first book Friday night. I used the cardboard from a cereal box for a cover. I cut the pages using a scissors (won't happen again). In my effort to write a book about roped solo climbing I've researched stuff like ISBNs, printing, cover options, book binding at home, selling, amazon, google books, marketing, print on demand, and website development. 

The not as encouraging news:
  • I have quite a bit more work to do on my book before I can sell it confident that I won't be responsible for killing anyone. Both words and illustrations.
  • I will need some major proof reading and editing before I publish.
The good news:
  • It is possible to make money (although not much) starting with no money in my spare time. I found this great ebook about it: Zero Dollars, a Little Talent and Thirty Days. 
  •  It is possible to print one paperback book at a time professionally for less than six dollars a book. For a hundred books the price drops to under 4 dollars per book. This is from I also checked out CafePress but they would charge just under ten dollars per book  for the same service. So not as much profit for me and I would have to charge more than ten dollars in order to make any money. (My goal audience is probably only 300-500 people).
  • Lulu give away ISBNs free if you are willing to name them as the publisher. For $99 you can buy the ISBN and list yourself as the publisher. I'm undecided which way I will go. I would like to be my own publisher but saving $99 would be great.
  • Practically no domains dealing with rope soloing are taken and you can buy them for $5-$10. 
  • I found this great site Do It Yourself Bookbinding. For penny pinchers it shows how to bind books using very cheap materials. While I found this interesting I do not think that I could literally produce 500 of these for the same amount of effort that Lulu does. Maybe I'll save that for a hardcover copy or two...
Why did I title this "Reputation Marketing" you might ask? I feel that my career will be built upon what I have done and what I do, not who I am. I am in the unique position of having experience rope soloing and there is no book out there about how to do it. People have all sorts of questions on,,, et cetera... If I can write a book that can save some one twenty hours of time fooling around with gear setups then it's well worth their ten dollars. Even if I only make one dollar on each book and sell three hundred books and waste the entire profit on 3/4 of a really nice tent I now have a reputation as the guy who wrote the book on rope solo climbing. So when I start a company and sell mountaineering gear people will hopefully say, "this guy knows what he's doing, he wrote the book on roped solo climbing."

Qualifying standards

Yesterday was the Worcester City Track Meet. Both WPI men and women won the meet. They had the unusual event of a 10,000 meter foot race. 25 laps of fun! We were trying to break 34 to qualify for New Englands. We had to average like 81.6 second laps or something to make it. I led us out in 76 then we basically ran 81s for four miles and then some 82 and an 83 or so. With eight laps to go we had to run it in 11:00 and at that point I thought we had it. Four laps to go we had to do 5:30, two laps 2:47 and then I really knew we had it. Duffty and I traded leads the whole race until with about five laps left I took the lead and gapped him by 20 meters but he made it up in the last 400 or 600 and beat me by two seconds. On the last lap people were yelling "you need an 80 second lap!" However, I was pretty coherent and knew I only needed an 84 and I picked it up anyway so there was no need to worry. Final time: 33:55.42.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I can't admit to being the greatest multitasker in the world. I'm probably even below average. However, I had a step forward last night. When I was watching Damages on FX I wanted to do something productive and I know from experience I can't read, do homework, or work on a computer and equally divide my time between the two. It's even worse when I'm talking on the phone. It's either the phone or something else not both. Anyway, last night I thought I should draw a picture for my rope solo climbing book. It worked perfectly! In one hour I drew one picture and watched the whole show. 

For those that don't know I'm writing a book on roped solo climbing because I had a hard time learning how to do it. Right now it's about 30 pages without pictures. Where do I find the time to do this? Well, it's totally on the back burner right now because I started it and did most of it in August when I was soloing a little more. My hope is to finish it before I leave for Pakistan so that I can submit it to Amazon and Google Books before I leave and perhaps make a few dollars while I'm out of the country. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Every time I write an email to a friend or a friend of a friend or some recent acquaintance that deals with start up companies I get a tingling in my spine. It's similar to the feeling at the end of a race when I'm up near the front. It's like the feeling when I'm about to top out on a long climb and I wasn't sure I was going to make it. It's exciting.

Perhaps this whole economy is forcing me to start a company because I can't get a job despite good interviews, a good resume, a provisional patent, US citizenship, work experience, computer simulation experience, and being an Eagle Scout. Perhaps that is a good thing. Perhaps, I'm supposed to start this climbing company. Perhaps all those years of spending more and more money and time climbing are all so that I have the knowledge to know what demands there are in the climbing industry. It really makes perfect sense. I climb. I engineer. I do both fairly well. Perhaps I'm unique. Perhaps I'm the first one to have the ideas I have because I am both an engineer and a climber and I've had quite the diversity of experiences growing up. 

Now where to find $15,000+ to get crakin'...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Recovering to run more

After dealing with Plantar fasciitis for a year I'm happy to have a nice respectable weekend of training again. It went like this:
8:00 AM Wake up and dress
8:15 AM Go three doors down to join about ten from the team to go to Worcester State for the CMS 5k. 
8:25 jog to Worcester State
8:40 arrive at WS after two mile warm up register and stretch
9:00 gun for the 5k goes off and we take off leading the race (tempo for us). I held back and ran with Alex most of the race. We were with Brian for a long time and Pat for a while and caught Sully as he faded back. Alex took off at the end for a 12 second PR and Brian sprinted past me at the finish line. I crossed in 17:38. It was not as easy as I would like 17:38 to feel.
9:25 jog around for 9 minutes before the workout.
9:40 line up with Alex, Todd, and Pete for the long distance workout of 2x 1200 steady (90-100 second laps), 1200 goal 5k (we decided 80s would be good enough). Splits of 5:00, 4:01, 5:00, 3:56. I was 2-5 seconds ahead on the first hard 1200 and Todd beat me by a second on the second hard 1200.
10:15 jog back to WPI to watch the mid distance runners do an 800 time trial. Along the way I decide to join in and try to beat my 2:14 PR. 
10:35 get back to my apartment and take a GU and some water and grab my spikes.
10:58 I ran one 50 meter stride. I was so stiff...
11:00 Keith yells "go" and we're off and I'm at the back of the pack. through the 400 in 65 thinking I have a chance to break 2:10 but I slowed down because I was tired. In the last 200 I managed to catch Greg and Chris who are both better 800 runners than I. I was very pleased with my kick. Final time 2:17.
11:05 run an 8 minute cool down on the turf with the other slower than 2:10 runners. 
11:30 go to RSPT (174 russel) and cook and eat chocolate chip, blueberry, and banana pancakes with eight or nine people on the team
2:50 finally convince myself to take a shower
5:00 buy new shoes and shorts at PR running. (It was tiring to run the 50 feet in the shoes I was trying on). By the way Mizuno made the perfect running shorts a few years ago but mine have holes all over the place now and nobody sells anything like it anymore.

1:10 PM head out on a 17 mile run with Pat
1:42 go through the 4 mile mark in 31:50 feeling like it was 7:20 pace
3:20 finish in 2:06 for a 7:25 average and a 6:40 last mile
3:40 eat mashed potatoes, fried egg sandwich, three orange juices, and frappauccino
4:45 try to work...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Defining Value

I just received a check in the mail for reimbursement of expenses that I had for an interview. When I was filling out the form a month ago I remember thinking at 55.5 cents per mile was a lot of money. Who decides that each mile I drive is worth 55.5 cents? I happen to enjoy long drives. The end result was that I only put down half of my miles traveled and still got four times as much money as the gas cost me. 

This isn't really a unique idea either. When interviewing or looking for jobs in general people try to define their value. I browsed around on The Ladders to try and see what it takes to be a six digit talent. My conclusion:  you have to be older than 22 (or even 23).

Value, in terms of money, is something that is not always easy to quantify. For example, If gas is six dollars a gallon and I need to go to the airport I'll go anyway. Trying to put a value on my career is giving me a little difficulty. I know that someday I'll be a multimillionaire, in part due to inflation, but I am worth something. It is scary to think of starting a company because I know that that means more years of college student living and having zero savings and paying the minimum payments on my student loans. In essence only progressing in experience not financially. At least for awhile. I think my ideas could pay for a Porshe but it may take until my van has 300,000 miles on it. 

On the upside, what better way to be frugal than to not have any money to spend? Also, judging from the number of jobs I've applied for in the last 6 months that require 2-5 years of experience compared to jobs for newbies, it seems that experience is really valued highly by everybody. In the sense of experience getting my masters here at WPI has been great. I honestly feel that I am worth twice as much as I was a year ago. The two years my skills in engineering (and computer science) have multiplied several times. 

In case any high schoolers read this WPI has a great program called the Major Qualifying Project (MQP) where you spend months working on a project from beginning to end in a group setting. It's stressful, but rewarding. Basically it's a culmination of everything you've learned and requires you to learn new skills. It's very related to your major so when you pull all nighters or 16 hour days it is because you are motivated to work that hard to get it right. Future scientists and engineers apply here!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Abaqus, Bodycote, Alpinist, Legalzoom

Today was fairly progressive. I spent most of the day working on an Abaqus problem with the mesh not agreeing with the geometry which is a result of my partitioning and the following meshing. The problem was/is hard enough that the resident post-doc simulation master couldn't solve it, or at least he didn't spend the time to really figure it out. Abaqus: 1284 Isaiah: 63

Tonight at the ASM Worcester meeting Roger Fabian the president of ASM International gave a talk about the future of materials engineering and reasons to join materials societies. He ended up talking at least five minutes about the aerospace industry. Eclipse went out of business and sold itself to EclipseJet. Boeing isn't doing to hot. The jets up in Canada aren't going crazy. The A380 is still being made. The point he made was that he expects the aerospace industry to turn around the end of this year. Business jets on the other hand he expects to not make a full recovery until 2012. (For the few of you that I have spilled my dreams to you know that this is actually good news!)

This afternoon I read a blurb that Alpinist Magazine is coming back with almost the same quality that it used to have before it was canceled in October. So I decided that instead of complain about it's demise I would buy a subscription to do my part to prevent that from happening again. The nice part is that for first time members the price is only 34 per year instead of 46. 

My marketing director for my mountaineering gear company told me about today and I just checked it out for a few minutes. I'm thinking that I will have some free time in May and then I can form a LLC or incorporate. Have a friend build a website this spring or summer while I'm away. Then when I get back in August start selling/building. I've read that often people sell products before it exists (think houses, contractors, fast food, guiding/cruises). So the thing to do would be outsource all of the stuff to be built in May and early June so that it would be on my door step by August and then I could proceed to get UIAA certification and other testing done while someone builds batch two of this and the website starts selling these things. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Abaqus Meshing

So the past week has seen me start from scratch meshing my gear in Abaqus. We decided to cut the tooth in half so that there would be less computing power needed and we could apply a symmetric boundary condition so that we could replicate an entire tooth. So after hours of very annoyingly finding error and more errors in the mesh I finally meshed the whole thing with no errors! I had to use several different techniques such as partitioning the part into five separate cells which was not trivial because if any cell had too obtuse or too acute angles the resulting elements would results in errors. I started by meshing the cell at the root of the tooth. I then had to partition some of the faces around the root of the tooth because trying to mesh that area as a swept hex mesh was giving distorted element shapes but after some simple partitioning the elements came out more uniform. I then meshed the area behind the root of the tooth using a bottom up hex mesh which only today have I mastered. Then I meshed the flank of the tooth using a swept hex mesh. Then I meshed the top land and core of the tooth using bottom up hex meshing again. Finally I meshed the flange of the gear using a swept hex mesh on a single cell so that is why there are some non-uniform shapes but it gave me no error or even warnings so I'm quite content to leave that as it is. 

Here take a look!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Mountain Hardwear just came out with the perfect tent! That was one of the ideas I was going to use in my company. Fortunately I think it is probably the most obvious. Unless I can improve upon their idea I'm down to three useful products.

Weekend Warrior Syndrome

In my preparation for Gasherbrum 2 I put in a lot of physical work this weekend:
Friday: morning and afternoon runs of about 5 miles each. (Simulating effort camp 1-2 and 2-3)
Saturday: after two hours of sleep, 4 hour drive north and 8 hours on Mt. Washington including an hour on the top waiting for my friends to catch up and a 25-30 pound backpack. A 4 hour drive back to Worcester and 4.5 miles of running Saturday night on the track in a attempt to do a scheduled 10k workout. (Simulating summit day)
Sunday: 10.5 hours sleep then a 1:56 run of 16 miles in length simulating the descent on tired legs to BC. 

Now I know that in reality that no 5 mile run in Worcester will compare to hiking between 6400 and 7000 meters on the side of a mountain carrying all the stuff I need to camp and summit day. The same unreality goes for summit day compared to Mt. Washington and a run but I think that it's got to be somewhat close. Maybe 70% of the effort that will be required, of course that doesn't factor in the fact of me sleeping in my own bed at 900 feet above sea level. Or all the work before that point that might wear me down a little.  Am I ready? The only way to know is to try it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I went to the WPI Venture Forum last night. Basically it's a lot of old people with money giving advice and listening to propositions from other people who want money to do something "new". It was intimidating. It was also a very odd situation. I perceive startups as a bunch of 20 somethings with no money trying to get a great product out the door, but most of these people were in their 40s and 50s and even 60s. I'm not sure they qualified as entrepreneurs or venture capitalists or why they were all there. One older guy asked about young people trying to do stuff on their own and failing because of lack of chemistry at their job. Young people are motivated but have so few skills, I guess.

It was also very interesting to see all of the elevator pitches. Every one in my mind had been done or did not interest me. Why would I want a second life in the virtual world. I've read about it in books but this real one is enough for me. I also like the linking advertisers to people who want to be advertised to... doesn't Google already do that based on keywords in the page I'm reading?

So on the one hand it made me feel a little better about my ideas because I think they are really revolutionary. It also made me think that someone not in the mountaineering industry might look at my stuff and see it as the same as everything else. There lies the challenge: finding someone who most likely doesn't understand mountaineering to give me 100,000 dollars to make this stuff. Better yet, finding someone who does know about mountaineering to give me money and come on as CEO or CFO so I can just be CTO.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How low can we go?

The stock market shrinks again and again. When it went below 6500 I was pretty amazed. How does this affect people? Or specific to my situation: how does this affect engineers who are about to graduate from college with 45k in loans? 

Well, first of all, my second interview of the year resulted in an email that said something to the tune of bad economy + short budget + Washington D.C. = me not getting hired. The best part is that I had the interview a scant two weeks ago and they said at the time that the economy had no effect yet on their government contractor business. Well the Dow's down another 1000 points since then so I guess that we've crossed some sort of magical barrier where the government doesn't hire people. It was expected many of the companies that I have been looking at for months or years have put holds on hiring. Others have laid off people. Although many of the super companies like Boeing, lay off thousands and in the same day keep hiring. I know because I still probably get one new job notification every other day from them. 

The benefits: 
  1. It's a great time to be in school for a few years. As long as you have some signed scholarship or stipend or something you are doing well.  
  2. Gas is cheap. Even I can pay 1.87 a gallon. 
  3. It forces people to think differently. We can't sit back and relax and get by. For example I was getting nowhere in my job search for a few months then I read an article on how to market your resume so that it was different. I went and changed my "Objective" line to "Me in One Sentence" then I wrote a sentence about me. Within two weeks I had a call from a guy who had found my resume in the company database and he called me even though I had not applied to work in NY state or for his division. 
  4. It's a great time to start a company. Those AIG commercials about starting in 1931 go to show that huge things come out of bad times. Ford started the Model T in 1907-1908 which wasn't exactly a great time. Before then I believe he tried to make expensive cars. If you can find the money to get started and last two years things will probably be a lot better so you can sell out and make lots of money. Plus there are all sorts of unemployed workers and equipment from the car companies if you want to manufacture anything. So it is a cheap time to get started.
  5. It's a great time to buy stock. "Buy low, sell high" Well that entails buying when everyone else is selling and selling when everyone else is buying. I think that if the dow goes below 5000 I'm going to start investing money I really shouldn't invest because when it goes up to 15,000 in three years I'll make a killing. Well I guess that tripling 1000 dollars isn't really a killing...
  6. It's a good time to be a bum. Gas is cheap. You don't have to worry about the mortgage market. 
  7. It's a good time to travel. I can't say that plane tickets are cheaper or food and lodging will be cheaper but people that work at tourist attractions are going to be more excited to see you this summer rather than previous years because so many people are not going to vacation this year. You will probably get to have tourist attractions to yourself.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Human Powered Awesomeness!

I did a human powered training workout today for Pakistan. The idea has been floating around my apartment for a month or so of cycling to Mt. Wachusett and hiking up then taking a ski run and riding back to Worcester. Last night Russ and I were sitting around watching a movie talking about the 55 degree day ahead. Since I had lent my van out to the outing club officers to take a first aid course in New Hampshire I was car-less and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to cycle, hike, ski, cycle. After strapping my skis, boots, and poles to my pack last night I got dressed in Pearl Izumi triathlon shorts and Patagonia supershirt and had Russ video me a little and off I went. It was not comfortable because my 60L CiloGear work sack's stay is bent to be comfortable when I'm hiking not bent over my handle bars so it rested a little uncomfortably in the middle of my spine. I also had so many people stare at me. It was great because if there was more than like 2 seconds of eye contact I waved. Nobody waves out here in New England usually but I got so many waves. It was great everyone I talked to was really supportive of my human powered trip. After the short half mile hike I skied down the blue on the right as you ski down the mountain. When I got to the road I went off piste down the snow covered road a little bit more and hiked a little uphill to my bike. The ride back was a little tough. My engine was pretty much running on empty after only a powerbar gel and starbucks frappachino in the last 7 hours and my biking shorts didn't have enough padding and the spot on my back the backpack rested was not feeling great. So I didn't do the workout for track we were supposed to do today. I think I'll do it tomorrow and then a really long cool down and get the benefits of workout and long run. 

I want to be the strongest member of the team on G2 this summer, at least physically. My big mountain experience I know is lacking. I also watched the video of the 1993 American G2 expedition it was pretty interesting. Crazy to see the route I will be climbing. I've dealt with more exposure in the past rock climbing but this route, even though it is the standard route, is no joke. 

Friday, March 6, 2009

Budget for a company for a year, or two

Now a budget for year one:
-$500 incorporate
-$500 website
-$6000-30,000 for 1-3 utility patents and legal fees
-$18,000 for me, I'm not sure I could live in an apartment on much less
-$51,100 Material/Manufacturing (200 of #1, 2000 of a #2, 200 of #3, and 50 of #4) ($1000 extrusion die for #1, $2000 extruded beam for #1, $4000 hot forged steel for #1, $8,000 extruded/hot forged bar stock for #2, $10,000 CNC 3 axis mill to do in house machining, $100 Sewing machine, $12,000 for #3 fabric, $3000 for #4 fabric, $2000 misc. plastic and metal for #4,  $9,000 for extruded tube for #4)
+$45,000 Income (assuming selling only half of manufactured products because of testing/free demonstration) ($15,000 from #1, $7500 from #2, $15,000 from #3, $7500 for #4)

=-$30,600 to -$54,600 assuming I do all the machining, packaging, customer service and customers pay for shipping.

This is unrealistic in several senses because well my price estimates are on bulk materials so not as specific as I would like and short run or low quantity pricing. Materials would probably end up being slightly cheaper. So The more I buy the cheaper my costs are. This is also assuming that my sole means of marketing for the entire year is to send stuff to climbing magazines and other well known gear testers and reviewers to get them to write stuff up without me ever taking out an ad in any of their stuff. The upside is that after the products are initially established the destructive testing will be a much smaller percentage of the total so there would be more income. Also buying a CNC machine is a one time cost. So year two could look something like:

-$500 website
-$5,000 marketing
-$0-20,000 for 0-2 utility patents and legal fees
-$24,000 for me, student loans...
-$60,000 Material/Manufacturing (300 of #1, 3000 of a #2, 300 of #3, and 75 of #4) ($3000 extruded beam for #1, $6000 hot forged steel for #1, $12,000 extruded/hot forged bar stock for #2, $18,000 for #3 fabric, $4500 for #4 fabric, $3000 misc. plastic and metal for #4, $13,500 for extruded tube for #4)
+$121,500 Income (assuming selling 90% manufactured products) ($40,500 from #1, $20,250 from #2, $40,500 from #3, $20,250 for #4)

=+$12,000 to $32,000 assuming I do everything myself again and none of the patents have other applications.

But really this doesn't factor in stuff like hiring more people to do this or taking on more or less of the processing. Or true production numbers. Allegedly there are 2.5 million carabiners sold in the US every year. I would also not be the best at sewing and would probably find some shop to do that. The goal for now is a working prototype of everything by the time I leave for Gasherbrum II so that I can test stuff out. 

Five reasons to start and not start a company

So let's look at the hurdles involved in me starting a business:
1. Selling a product
2. Having a product
3. Having start up money to make a product
4. Having a place to make a product
5. My own living expenses which include student loan repayment beginning in November

Let's look at the reasons I should start a business:
1. I don't have to start paying student loans until November so living expenses would be cheap
2. I don't have any dependents, so failure is not the end of the world
3. I have enough ideas to actually make money
4. I have the education to actually make this stuff
5. The Economy is PREFECT right now. If I can make it cash positive in a year or two or three then I will have options when the Dow hits 15,000 to either sell out for a few hundred thousand dollars or expand the business. How awesome would that be to be CEO of a 20 person cash positive company at age 26! Especially one that competes against the big names with hundreds of employees. Ok enough of that, now I'm just dreaming.

Calm After the Storm

In my rush to present a decent presentation yesterday I've been strung out all week. So here is it Friday and I have been unproductive, somewhat. I told my advisor about my idea for climbing equipment and a climbing equipment company and he told me to talk to the director for innovation and entrepreneurship at WPI so I did this morning. It turns out that in my dealing with one outdoor equipment manufacturer in particular I kind of dug myself in a hole. I let them see my provisional patent and signed a non disclosure agreement even though they never signed it and sent it back to me. Suspicious. So the cat is out the bag in that respect they have a year to sit on it and then if I am not pursuing it they file for a patent after my provisional patent goes away and they get the awesome idea and I get nothing. But we'll see the more time that goes on the more I become convinced that I should start my own climbing gear company. What should i name it? 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Diran Apelian gave a presentation today on being an engineer in the 21st century at the MTE seminar. I seems that in the early 1900s engineers were people that tinkered and made stuff, in the second half there blurred the line between scientist and engineer trying to understand harder mathematical problems and less empirical stuff. Now, it seems we engineers have to "be able to do anything". So that's where we are. Skills like ProEngineer CAD proficiency are no longer a skill because someone somewhere learned how to do it on the internet and will do it for a lot less money than we are willing to do it. So we have to be able to think outside the box and be innovators and solve the big problems. We have to be multidisciplinary entrepreneurs and actually make something. SO many people recently have gotten into finance and business but they don't really make anything. China, India, and the entire Eastern world is graduating engineers in numbers farm greater than the US and Europe. New things come from people who make things. The world order is going to change. So the choice is: is change going to happen on your terms or someone else's?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ode to Abaqus

The past 18 hours have seen me work for perhaps seven or eight hours trying to select the boundary conditions for a finite element simulation in Abaqus because the server is running slow. When I finally selected everything last night i went to bed. This morning started with a three hour input file editfest trying to get everything to converge. Now on the sixth simulation of the day I anxiously wait for it to finish so that I can see the pretty pictures of mass diffusion concentration changes.

Simulation six of today: failure. The minimum time increment wasn't small enough.

The best part of these high tech computer programs are when the problem is a simple error message like: TIME INCREMENT REQUIRED IS LESS THAN THE MINIMUM SPECIFIED. Finite element has to be one of the coolest tools available to engineers today. However, understanding coding and boundary conditions and convergence is no simple task, especially as the problems become more complex.

Simulation seven of today: failure. Same reason.

In Analytical Methods class the other day we learned about finite element theory and it was interesting how stability criteria fix the time step based on the size of the element. It's fantastic how computers automatically change the time increments or concentration changes based on convergence and material properties because if I had to do one of these 40,000 node problems by hand I would never finish yet the computer let's me know I have a problem in only a few minutes.

Simulation eight of today: failure. Same reason. This time I'm changing the maximum allowable concentration change per element instead of the time increment.

1% inspiration, 99% perspiration - Edison. I have the physical results here in my hand that I am supposed to simulate so I can tell you what we should see but actually making it simulate that is a whole other sport. 

FE tip of the day: In Abaqus Check the .dat file first for errors by scrolling to the bottom (my record is 13 fatal ones) they should be either specified throughout the file or will be listed on the .msg file. Second, check the .msg file for errors by first scrolling down to the bottom of the file and then if it is not listed at the bottom by carefully scrolling through the file. Since these files are often huge look for errors at changes in text. I mean there may be dozens of pages of warnings followed by a change to time increment changes and in between there could be an error about elements unusable for the time increment changes or maximum concentration changes. 

Simulation nine of today: failure. Too many attempts at normalized concentration change. I changed the concentration change too much.