Are you ready for some demos?

Small-business owners with a yen for technology can start their Monday learning about attracting investment and end it by seeing how some local entrepreneurs are employing their capital.

The Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania will hold a free briefing on its programs that provide financing and help commercialize ideas at its Navy Yard offices at 4801 S. Broad St., Suite 200, between 9 and 10:30 a.m.

The nonprofit organization, which is largely funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will hold other briefings in Blue Bell on March 10, at its Navy Yard office March 17, in Warrington on March 22, and in Doylestown on April 5.

Far more fun will be seeing what geeks want your phone to do now.

Seven local companies will demonstrate their mobile applications for smart phones when the fast-growing business group Mobile Monday Philadelphia holds its fourth annual Demo Night Monday evening.

The mobile-apps industry is experiencing phenomenal growth. International Data Corp. said developers “churned out” more than 300,000 apps in the last three years. The Framingham, Mass., market research firm forecasts that the number of downloaded apps will rise from 10.9 billion worldwide in 2010 to 76.9 billion in 2014.

My fingertips hurt just contemplating that. It seems everyone from high school students to graybeards has an app he or she is working on.

But this is very much a business as evidenced by the local companies picked to demonstrate for a fast-fingered crowd, including two well-established firms: TicketLeap Inc., of Philadelphia, and Fiberlink Communications Corp., of Blue Bell.

Founded in 2003, TicketLeap will show off a ticket-scanning app intended for event organizers. The app will run on smart phones that use Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

Founded in 1991 when no one was talking about “cloud computing,” Fiberlink will demonstrate how its technology helps businesses secure data on mobile devices that connect with their servers.

The other presenters scheduled are:

EmergenSee, which dubs itself a personal security system that uses a phone’s GPS to track your location and send distress calls.

EverComm Technologies L.L.C., which has a baby-monitoring device.

NearVerse Inc., which makes the LoKast app that lets users share pictures, music, and other media with other smart-phone devotees in close proximity.

MobileReactor L.L.C., which has an app to enable viewers like you to interact with the TV shows you watch.

Mychinoki.com L.P., whose app allows consumers to pick the restaurants, bars, and retailers from which they want to receive text messages about deals and discounts.

There is a $20 charge to go to Mobile Monday’s demo event at the Hub conference center at the Cira Centre, 2929 Market St. Attendees should bring their phones so they can comment and vote on what they see using a mobile service developed by another local company, Yorn L.L.C.

1 Firm, 1 Book

While it’s always interesting to learn what books CEOs are reading, it’s more important to know what book CEOs are recommending that their employees read.

Inquirer staff writer Jane Von Bergen found out about one book that is making the rounds at a local company and filed this report:

A new book just moved to the top of executive assistant Susan Davis’ reading list. It’s the business classic Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t, assigned by her boss, Paulett Eberhart, the new president and chief executive of CDI Corp. Eberhart began Jan. 10.

The Philadelphia company, which specializes in engineering and information technology staffing, hasn’t been great lately, let alone really good. On Feb. 22, the day the company announced its fourth-quarter and 2010 earnings (modestly better, year-to-year), the company shares were among the biggest-percentage losers on the New York Stock Exchange.

“As a company, for our size and scale, we have to find our niche,” Eberhart said in a recent interview. “How do we improve? We have a strong foundation of highly skilled professionals. How do we get them working together?”

The book, by Jim Collins, compares pairs of companies in the same industry (Eckerd’s vs. Walgreens) to demonstrate what factors led one of them to go from good to great.

“Paulett joined CDI bringing a lot of energy and a fresh outlook to the direction of the company,” Davis, her executive assistant, wrote in an e-mail. “She suggested that her direct reports read Good to Great by Jim Collins — a new roadmap of sorts to help plan our next steps and new course forward as we grow the company. I’m looking forward to starting it this week.”

What book does your boss have you reading?

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