What happened

Shares of content delivery network (CDN) operator Fastly (FSLY 2.76%) rose by an electrifying 27.9% in March, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. There were several twists and turns on this thrill ride, so buckle up and let me guide you through the whole story.

So what

The month started with a bang. On March 3, the Federal Reserve delivered an optimistic report on monetary policy, suggesting that the soaring inflation rate is coming back down, so federal interest rates should stop rising later this year.

That report might sound more relevant to a bank than to a fast-growing tech company, but Fastly is an unprofitable and cash-consuming tech company whose stock price is supported by double-digit revenue growth.

Furthermore, the company holds $705 million of long-term debt on its balance sheet, counterweighted by just $143 million of cash reserves. So the stock is broadly seen as a high-risk and high-reward investment, making it quite sensitive to risk-modifying events such as the government tightening or loosening its monetary policies.

With a fairly bullish economic report on the table, Fastly's stock surged 10.5% higher on March 3.

On the flip side of the coin, shares fell 12.3% in a three-day span the next week as a couple of American banks fell apart at their fiscal seams. The risk that seemed so far away a few days earlier was suddenly back in Wall Street's focus again, erasing Fastly's sudden gains.

So the company was back where it started the month, but I still have one more thrill to share. This time, the company lifted itself up by its bootstraps.

You see, Fastly announced a lucrative partnership with Google and its parent company, Alphabet (GOOG -1.55%) (GOOGL -1.58%), on March 15.

Warning: nerdy technobabble in the sentences ahead! Upcoming versions of Google Chrome, the market-defining web browser, will drop support for user-tracking third-party cookies next year. In order to support tracking of online user behavior in a privacy-respecting way, the browser will count clicks and views by large cohorts of individually anonymous web users. This effort involves collecting data through an anonymizing network relay.

Fastly's CDN network offers the exact type of privacy-boosting data collection that Google needs, so the company will see plenty of extra business from Chrome browsers as Chrome rolls out these tracking changes. Targeted online ad services live to fight another day, and Fastly gets to play a leading role in that drama.

And that's the end of the geeky details. Investors absolutely loved this deal. The stock price skyrocketed 16% in the next two days.

Now what

Fastly's wild ride in March resulted in generous stock price gains, but the ups and downs were due to factors both in and out of the company's control. While the Google partnership helped boost the stock, underscoring Fastly's expertise in value-added content delivery services, the company remains an unprofitable and debt-heavy investment.

Look twice before crossing this road, and be prepared to hit some potholes along the way.