Being in the prediction business is a haphazard occupation at the best of time.

What we do is look to identify good companies with great ideas and great people in growth industries and then buy equity in them. That is what stock picking is all about, in good markets and bad.

In down markets, the opportunity to get set in these companies is even more advantageous.

Our strategy has always been to look through a different prism than others and hence on most occasions we are too early rather than too late. The end result of early and late is just the same though when it comes to a company's share price, which may languish for long periods of time, when investors become increasingly impatient and sell out before the business really takes off.

That is one of the problems with being able to look up the share price anytime of the day or night. On many occasions, the price will not reflect the value but it is hard to look through this when the world is caving in around you.

How many times have you held onto a stock for a long period of time only to watch the price go significantly higher, seemingly the day after you sell out? And to make matters worse you had held them through thick and thin and seen chronic underperformance until that fateful time when you sold them.

Some say the only way to make a stock go up is to sell it.

It has happened to me and no doubt there are times when it has happened to you. The hard part is having the patience to stick with the strategy while the share prices of the latest craze roar through the roof, only to come back to earth with a thud when some leftfield event comes from an unexpected place and puts pressure on the market and then you find yourself locked into an investment that probably did not even have a sustainable business model to begin with.

Maybe it is two guys in a Ute with a laptop computer running around the countryside, scratching around for the next big coal or gold deposit for a company that has a market capitalisation in the tens of millions and is located in some far flung province that you have to catch five flights and travel through four time-zones to reach.

Not to mention the political risk associated with some of these. We have always believed in the ‘build it and they will come’ strategy hence the field of dreams analogy. The next field of dreams that we believe is on the way is another theme we have beaten the bushes about, and it is known as cloud computing. 



In the 60s, Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones warbled, “Hey you, get off my cloud”. The Rolling Stones have said that the song is written as a reaction to their sudden popularity after the success of Satisfaction. The song deals with their aversion to people's expectations of them.

Maybe there is currently an aversion to the cloud strategy, but it is my view that in time almost all computing will be on some sort of cloud. The gates of ‘creative destruction’ loom large yet again as existing business models get blown to bits and remade in order to stay relevant.

In Australia, there is a listed company by the name of NEXTDC, (in which I personally hold shares). The founder, Bevan Slattery, is one of those guys who also looks at the world through a different prism.

Bevan is a visionary who sees the future of technology like no one else I have met. If he were in San Francisco or Silicon Valley, he would be running a business larger than life.

Probably Google or Apple or Groupon and Co. would understand his thinking. Bevan is ably assisted by Mr. Robin Khuda and he has assembled a board of directors that includes Mr. Craig Scroggie, who is the Managing Director of Symantec Asia Pacific, and also a leader in his field.

NEXTDC’s vision is to become the most recognised, connected and trusted data centre brand in Australia and New Zealand. 
NEXTDC is enabling the cloud revolution by delivering a National network of independent cloud centres that provide the geographical diversity, high availability, connectivity, and power efficiency required for organisations to successfully transition to cloud computing.

If you navigate to NEXTDC.com, there is a wealth of news and announcements which make worthwhile reading.

Bevan’s previous company Pipe Networks listed at 40 cents and a few short years later was taken over for $6.30. You may recall Pipe Networks rolled out a submarine cable that effectively added 30 per cent to the capacity of the internet in Australia. At the time that Pipe were rolling out this strategy, would you believe that they struggled to get the funds to build it?

It was an amazing view of the short-term thinking of some Australian banks who only seem to be willing to lend you money when you don’t really need it.

Anyway back to the discussion at hand, NEXTDC is a ‘cloud enabler’. You will get to see more about the future of the cloud and how it works this week with Apple unveiling their iCloud offering.

In the meantime, “Hey you, get onto my cloud” and get yourself some Satisfaction.

For advice you can trust book a complimentary first appointment with Switzer Financial Services today.

Important information: This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.