Anyone with a working frontal lobe can tell you that growth investing is risky. But it's less common to find a Fool who'll tell you of the big rewards that come with absorbing a little risk.
How big? Allow me to introduce you to Akamai Technologies
That's the power of competitive advantage at work. Akamai has spent the better part of eight years building and maintaining a global network of 20,000 servers that bring Web content and applications geographically closer to users.
A patented software algorithm acts as traffic control for the bits flying across its network, guiding downloads, streaming media, and Web page requests to their destinations faster and more reliably than a single large pipe could achieve.
Think of it this way: If you've ever lived in California, or New York, or Boston, or Washington, D.C., you know that bigger roads frequently increase, rather than relieve, gridlock. That's one reason why there's a massive and growing market for global positioning devices from Garmin
Data traveling along the Akamai tollway gets the digital equivalent of clear roads and built-in GPS, thanks to the firm's central monitoring of the state of traffic on the Internet. (Interestingly, you can keep track of that traffic on your own PC, via an Akamai desktop widget.)
If there's a problem on the horizon, it's called Google
Don't expect them to jump on the bandwagon. Microsoft has been using Akamai for years to distribute Windows software patches. Meanwhile, Apple
Bottom line: iTunes and the Web have changed the world forever. iTunes offers entertainment on demand; the Web allows for work anywhere, also on demand. Fast, reliable networks are required to make that model sustainable as data consumption grows. Akamai has the largest such network right now, and it's more relevant than it's ever been.
Merry Christmas, growth investors.
For more on Akamai, check out:
There's a whole world of naughty and nice out there! Take a look at the rest of the bunch.
How great is growth? Three of the dozens of stocks in the market-beating Motley Fool Rule Breakers portfolio have quadrupled in two years, including Akamai. Care to meet the other two? Try Rule Breakers free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers , ranked 636 out of 17,226 in Motley Fool CAPS , is still a very happy owner of Akamai shares. Get the skinny on all of the stocks in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile . Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. Garmin and Yahoo! are Stock Advisor selections. The Motley Fool'sdisclosure policy is the gift that keeps on giving.