The trick is an apt metaphor for his career- having founded Kaz Computer Services in the 1980s he sold it to Telstra, worked for Telstra then helped it sell off Kaz bit by bit. He set up his latest venture, listed technology company Anittel, planning to stay on top as chairman, only to find himself back inside managing and growing the business.
Kazacos (58) has been waving his business magic in the local IT scene for the last 30 years. Late last year it blitzed the opposition to emerge as the clear winner of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 list with a 1022 per cent growth rate. It's the fourth time that Kazacos has collected an award for being on the Tech Fast 50 - twice for Kaz Computer Services and now twice for Anittel.
As a boy growing up in Bankstown, in Sydney's west, it wasn't obvious what the future held. The son of Greek migrants who ran a fish and chip shop, Kazacos grew up working in the shop, helping his mother who had been widowed when Kazacos was just three years old. While his school picked him as possible teacher-material, Kazacos discovered an early aptitude for technology, wiring up local cubby houses and turning tape recorders into sister-alarms.
He opted to study electrical engineering at the University of NSW, eventually completing two degrees - a double major in applied maths and computer science and electrical engineering, while running a coaching college for school students in his spare time. It was during this period that he started writing and importing software to sell.
His first full time job after graduation was in the graduate trainee programme with Overseas Containers, where he remained for seven years developing a real expertise in IBM's System 38 computers. From there Kazacos moved across to Aspect Computing, again working with System 38s and mainframes, and designing what would become the Lansa development environment. Over the years he developed a series of applications, including a superannuation management system, for various clients.
'I drove to work every day and wondered if I would get to retirement and wonder what would happen if I had my own company. What happened was in early 1988 a guy had left Aspect and came to me and said that AMP was looking for a new superannuation system and that their internal people said it would take three years.' Kazacos took the plunge, left Aspect, bought a licence for Lansa and bid for the AMP job.
The gamble paid off and Kaz had its first major client. 'We bought one of the first AS 400s in the country for AMP,' and as the business ramped with more clients and more, bigger sales Kaz was appointed an IBM Business Partner.
'The turning point came when there were three companies that wanted to buy computers - but don't want to run them. The official word for this was outsourcing.' Kaz was also running the AMP's AS400s, alongside CSC which had the outsourcing contract for the mainframes, and then won another big contract from Nestle. Kaz was on the map.
He acknowledges that a lot of his success comes down to being in the right place at the right time and securing strongly branded clients early in the piece. 'I've had a lot of luck, but I've made the most of it.'