Blog Archive


North Carolina Appoints First Chief Technology Officer

For more than four years, Dan Kempton served as director of engineering and cloud services for the North Carolina IT Department. He is now the state chief technology officer, a newly created role.

North Carolina has named its first chief technology officer, Dan Kempton, according to the state’s Department of Information Technology (NCDIT) website. 

An NCDIT spokesperson said in an email that Kempton’s team “will encompass functions from various areas of the department.”

“We are especially excited about this new enterprise role because it will enable NCDIT to establish stronger relationships with private industry to help propel us forward, strengthen strategic planning, leverage the value of unifying the state’s IT resources, and finally, enable us to be more adaptable to situations like we have faced with COVID-19,” the spokesperson said. 

Kempton had been head of engineering and cloud services for NCDIT. He has also served as CTO and deputy CIO

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Local tech sector hosts hiring fair, more than 300 jobs available

a group of people in a city: Downtown Calgary office towers are seen from the Calgary Tower on Thursday, June 11, 2020.

© Gavin Young/Postmedia
Downtown Calgary office towers are seen from the Calgary Tower on Thursday, June 11, 2020.

Thirty-four Calgary tech companies took part in a virtual hiring fair Tuesday, an indication that the city’s technology and innovation sector continues to grow in spite of COVID-19 and a challenging local economy.

There were more than 300 jobs available through the event, which was organized by Calgary Economic Development and Tech West Collective, a group of local technology companies that aims to raise awareness of the city’s burgeoning tech scene. Among the companies hiring were larger organizations like Benevity and Shareworks by Morgan Stanley (formerly Solium) as well as smaller startups like Virtual Gurus and ZeroKey.

The companies were seeking to fill a wide range of roles, from tech-specific positions like data scientist and software developer to sales and marketing positions that could suit job-seekers transferring from other industries.

“It’s across

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Will Western Union, Visa And Revolut Drive The Next Wave Of M&A Activity In The Payments And Money Transfer Sectors?

Each December for the past few years, this author, along with many others, predicted further consolidation in the cross-border payments market. Competition has been increasing, more Fintechs are gaining scale and investors love the sector. Yet the numbers tell a different story.

According to investment bank FT Partners, since January 2019, there have been approximately 1,400 M&A transactions in Fintech. Just over 300 of these have been in payments but according to research at FXC Intelligence, we can count only five meaningful deals in cross-border payments and a handful more small transactions.

Last week, the CEO of Western Union
, the most valuable stand-alone remittance company, stated in a Financial Times interview that he is on an acquisition hunt. To add further color, in June, Western Union was reported to be in acquisition talks with one of its leading competitors, MoneyGram

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3 Best Technology Funds to Invest for Big Gains

Technology mutual funds are ideal for investors seeking long-term growth and impressive returns. Improving industry fundamentals and emerging technologies such as AI, ML, robotics and data science are the key catalysts to the sector’s growth.

In addition, the majority of funds investing in securities from the technology sector take a growth-oriented approach that includes focusing on companies with strong fundamentals and a relatively better investment prospect. Moreover, technology has come to have a broader meaning than just hardware and software. Social media and Internet companies are now part of the technology landscape.

Below we share with you three top-ranked technology mutual funds. Each has earned a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and is expected to outperform peers in the future. Investors can click here to see the complete list of funds.

Fidelity Select Semiconductors Portfolio FSELX fund aims for capital appreciation. The non-diversified fund invests the majority of

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Home developers must leverage technology to woo buyers: report

India’s residential realty sector, which was struggling even prior to the pandemic, will have to significantly leverage technology to differentiate their offerings in order to attract customers in the post-covid-19 era, Bain & Co. said in a report.

“The pandemic will breed a new host of customer key performance indicators (KPIs), namely around building safety and security. Developers that demonstrate thoughtfully redesigned infrastructure upgrades, such as touch-less surfaces, digitally-enabled entry and exit, resident and guest management systems, smart homes and smart club houses, will attract buyer attention and provide differentiated value,” it added.

Besides, as customers defer their visits and traditional lead conversion techniques of walk-ins and in-person show-flat tours lose traction, developers adopting digital sales channels such as virtual tours and online bookings will find themselves better placed to attract customers, Bain said.

Developers will also have to adopt various innovative technology solutions, both within homes and

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SMIC hopes to bolster China’s domestic chipmaking capabilities

  • SMIC needs to develop 7nm foundry capabilities to help China-based companies fill the void left by TSMC and Samsung. 
  • But even with government support, SMIC faces a significant challenge in developing 7nm manufacturing capabilities. 

Richard Chang Rugin, the founder and former CEO of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), said in a forum this week that he was “optimistic” China could catch up to the US in developing advanced chipmaking capabilities, according to Reuters.

Chang hedged this outlook by warning that China should not underestimate the impacts of US efforts to curtail the development of its tech economy. He said that investment in R&D and raw material sourcing would be key factors in making China’s tech sector more competitive.

SMIC will play a foundational role in the development of China’s tech sector, since it’s attempting to match the foundry capabilities of Samsung and TSMC. Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC)

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Square’s (SQ) Q2 Earnings and Revenues Surpass Estimates

Square, Inc. SQ reported second-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of 18 cents per share, against the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 8 cents per share. Notably, the company had reported earnings of 21 cents in the year-ago quarter and aloss of 2 cents in the prior quarter.

Net revenues of $1.92 billion surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.14 billion.Further, the figure improved 63.8% from the year-ago quarter and 39.3% sequentially.

The top line was driven by strong momentum across Cash App ecosystem that contributed $1.2 billion to net revenues during the reported quarter, up 361% year over year. Cash App was used by above 30 million monthly transacting active customers in June 2020. Further, disbursements of the CARES Act stimulus programs and unemployment benefits aided growth in the Cash App engagement.

Moreover, strengthening momentum across Bitcoin and strong adoption of Cash Card benefited the results. Notably, Cash Card

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From Class Rooms to Class Zooms: Teaching During COVID Times!

As some of you who have visited  my website and  read my bio know, I describe myself first and foremost as a teacher, and every semester, for the last decade, I have invited anyone who is interested to join in my classes. In December 2019, when I  posted my last invite, I fully expected to be teaching corporate finance and valuation, in person, at the Stern School of Business at NYU, in the spring of 2020, and I invited people to join in virtually, albeit for no credit. Needless to say, COVID upended my plans, as it has everyone else’s, and we had to move classes online in early March, and spent the last half of the semester, meeting on  Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ: ZM)‘s Zoom, and taking exams online.

As the fall semester approaches, I have the luxury of sitting back and waiting, since I am … Read More


The coronavirus pandemic forced many people in Connecticut to work from home. Power outages from Tropical Storm Isaias could send some back to the office.

The coronavirus pandemic forced legions of office workers in Connecticut to work at home to stop the spread, but the strategy hit a major disruption when Tropical Storm Isaias knocked out power — and in many cases, internet — to hundreds of thousands of utility customers in the state.

Major employers in the Hartford area said Wednesday they were coping with how the loss of power was affecting employees working remotely. In some cases, shifting responsibilities to employees who did have power. Some were even considering allowing some workers to come back to the office on a temporary basis.

Travelers Cos., a property-casualty insurer employs 7,000 in the Hartford area, said it is being as flexible as possible as employees deal with power loss, internet problems and storm damage.

“Colleagues from other parts of the company are able to support those who have been affected by Isaias so that we

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How to improve distance learning for our youngest students

Younger students struggle with distance learning for an obvious reason — they have shorter attention spans. <span class="copyright">(Halfpoint —</span>
Younger students struggle with distance learning for an obvious reason — they have shorter attention spans. (Halfpoint —

Many teachers, students and their families can agree on one thing after experiencing the unexpected hurricane that was distance learning this spring: It must improve — especially in the earliest grades, transitional kindergarten through second grade.

Our youngest students, from ages 4 to 9, need more supervision throughout the day and help with the technology that enables learning. They are developmentally different from their older peers in ways that significantly impact how they best learn. Distance-learning practices must reflect that reality.

As educational researchers, we learned from conversations with teachers, school leaders, parents and early-education experts what strategies were effective for initiating and sustaining student engagement in the spring. Anyone responsible for supporting young students in distance learning could benefit from employing these approaches.

Obviously, distance instruction is not the same

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