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Distraction Expert Gives Keynote Speech At Ben Franklin’s iXchange Event

By Colin McEvoy on May 23, 2018

Distraction expert Curt Steinhorst speaking at the 2018 iXchange event at Lehigh University’s Zoellener Arts Center.

On average, we only work two to three minutes before we are interrupted by something, whether it’s an email message, social media, colleagues, phone calls, or some other distraction, according to the keynote speaker at the 2018 Ben Franklin iXchange event.

“It is an entirely unfair and unreasonable proposition that anyone should ever have to work in the same place that we can watch funny cat videos,” joked Curt Steinhorst, a distraction expert and author of Can I Have Your Attention?: Inspiring Better Work Habits, Focusing Your Team, and Getting Stuff Done in the Constantly Connected Workplace

“We’ve never had so much information available to process and consume and take action on, and we’ve never been more aware of what we might be missing ot make that right decision,” Steinhorst said. “We’ve never been more connected, and because of it we’ve never been more interrupted in the process.”

More than 375 technology entrepreneurs, business people, venture capitalists, economic developers, political leaders, and regional influencers attended the 24th annual iXchange event at Lehigh University’s Zoellner Arts Center on May 22.

The event was organized by Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP), which works to create and retain highly paid, sustainable jobs by linking early-stage technology-based firms and established manufacturers with experts, universities, funding, and other resources to help them prosper through innovation.

More than 375 people attended the 24th annual iXchange event on May 22.

Since beginning operations in 1983, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 18,506 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 31,840 jobs, to start 511 new companies, and to develop 1,733 new products and processes.

Since 2007, BFTP/NEP clients have generated $1.5 billion in follow-on funding. The Pennsylvania BFTP has returned $3.60 to the state treasury for every $1 invested in the program.

“Entrepreneurial spirit built the United States,” said R. Chadwick Paul, Jr., President & CEO of BFTP/NEP. “Innovating, persisting, and succeeding against all odds embodies the American Dream. At Ben Franklin Technology Partners, we have learned that for an entrepreneurial disposition to be honed, focus is key. Avoiding distraction is now the challenge more than ever.”

Steinhorst said the average person spends 60 percent more time connected to digital devices than in conversation with his or her significant other, and 9 out of 10 people today actively use a second device while watching television.

While some people believe the millennial generation is most often accused of being incapable of connecting, Generation X is more connected to phones than any other generation, he said. And if television watching is factored in, the Baby Boomers are the most distracted generation of all.

“The truth is we are living in a moment where the technology we have, and al the benefits they provide us with, have become so simple that we no longer need technical knowledge to interact with it,” Steinhorst said. “This has radically changed the relationship we have with technology.”

Six companies or individuals were presented with Innovation Awards at the iXchange event, in recognition for substantially enhancing the northeastern Pennsylvania economy. These awards honored entrepreneurs, business incubators, ground-breaking products, innovation applications of technology and more.

Among the winners was Orbweaver Sourcing, an electronics supply chain solution software company, which graduated from Ben Franklin TechVentures, the BFTP/NEP business incubator located on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop Campus, which won the Incubator Graduate award.

“Ben Franklin provides a very critical role in the entrepreneurial community in the Lehigh Valley, and we are very proud to be a part of it,” said T. Christopher Ciesielka, CEO of Orbweaver Sourcing, upon accepting the award.

The award recipients included:

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