Welcome to the Mclowd Community Newsletter.

Among excellent companies a fundamental shift is taking place: away from long-range forecasts, long term plans and big bets, and towards constant short-term iteration, experimentation and testing.

These organisations are following computer scientist Alan Key’s advice that the best way to predict the future is to invent it.

They do this in many small steps, getting feedback and making adjustments as necessary, instead of working in private toward a distant event.

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future, p.61


As per recent press coverage, our politicians have begun the process of softening us up for the inevitable multi-billion dollar write offs that are coming down the pipeline in relation to our collective $50 billion investment in NBN Co.

The story of our National Broadband Network is the story of deploying vast amounts of capital in a big-bang approach, and absent the slightest understanding of the deflationary forces that have gripped (and will eventually overwhelm) the telecommunications sector.

At its core the mistake made by the Government was to presume that we live in a world of scarcity. Scarcity that would support the pricing model underpinning that enormous investment.

Unfortunately for the Australian taxpayer nothing could be further from the truth, because we now live in a world of abundance.

I recently spent a couple of weeks travelling overseas. In every cafe, restaurant, airport and (almost) every airline, I was provided with free Wi-Fi.

The reason my access to said Wi-Fi is free is simple:

The marginal cost of that access is precisely zero

Back home we have so much data allowance across our various mobile devices that we have given up home broadband altogether. We simply don’t need to pay for it. (The launch of Facebook Wi-Fi will only accelerate this process).

Abundance affects willingness to pay. And understanding willingness to pay is critical when deciding whether to deploy capital (and in what quantity).

SMSF Accounting Update

We have been encouraged by the number of practitioners now upgrading to the premium version of Mclowd, and this engagement (and the resulting revenues) will support ongoing investment in the Platform.

Current WIP targets span pensions, the editability of the chart of accounts, managed funds and simplification of the year end process.

In the New Year our focus will shift to Phase 2 of the centralised transactions screen (which is only available in the Practitioner Edition).

Along with the balance of FY18 targets, delivery against Phase 2 is designed to allow practitioners on BGL Desktop to migrate to Mclowd for FY19 without compromising the efficiency of their workflow, but at a price which reflects their ‘unwillingness to pay’ for alternative cloud solutions.

Lean Start Up

Rather than spending $50 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars, the Federal Government could instead have deployed $50 million on a pilot scheme designed to measure consumers’ willingness to pay for high-speed access at the price points required to support their business model.

Had they used such an experimental approach, they would have acquired validated learning that could have informed the evolution of NBN Co over a period of time.

In the process minimising capital deployment and hence maximising the return on (our) equity.

In contrast to this micro-economic trainwreck, the Mclowd Community has deployed a modest amount of capital in an iterative, collaborative fashion, and otherwise in strict accordance with Lean Start Up Principles.

A globally-dispersed Team are working around the clock across seven timezones, engaging in real time with numerous practitioner and trustee users to drive the software forward.

In fact, by using Machines and the Crowd to build an SMSF Platform, Mclowd looks remarkably similar to the future MIT Professors Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson have just described in their new book.


Our goal for the next few years is very simple:

To migrate all 200,000 Funds still on BGL Desktop to the Mclowd Community.

When we have delivered against this target we will be saving those SMSF practitioners and their clients over $10 million per year in software licence fees (relative to the cost of incumbent cloud solutions).

Which will go some way to offsetting their collective losses on the NBN.


Ashley Porter
Managing Director
Mclowd Pty Ltd