The Scene: Week of May 13

By the book: Lessons for running a business from ‘Star Trek’

A new “Star Trek” movie hits the theaters this week, and if form holds true, that means another burst in book sales for Dave Marinaccio, co-founder and chief creative officer for the LM&O advertising firm in Arlington.

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Marinaccio, the “M” in LM&O, penned “All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek” in 1994 and has been selling copies ever since (there’s an e-book version out now).

He might have gotten his start doing stand-up with Chicago’s famed Second City improvisational comedy troupe, but he’s serious about what you can learn from the voyages of the starship Enterprise.

From the very “Space, the final frontier...” opening comes a lesson in crafting a mission statement, for example.

The Enterprise’s job is to explore other worlds and to do so boldly. Simple, straightforward. And the whole trip is to take five years. “Even the stupidest member of the crew could understand that,” Marinaccio said.

Now, ask your employees what they think their mission is.

Marrinaccio’s firm has done well since it started with 11 people in 1995. The firm now employs about 100 and had billings of $181 million in 2012. You can see a sample of its work in theaters now; it produced the ads for the Army National Guard that are accompanying the release of the latest “Superman” flick “Man of Steel.”

—Dan Beyers

Swap meet: Designer goods change hands

About 200 area residents, fashion bloggers and designers got together Thursday evening to swap clothes as part of Snob Swap’s first charity swap and fashion show.

Snob Swap, the District-based Web site that allows users to buy, sell and swap used designer goods, hosted the event at start-up hub 1776.

Attendees were asked to bring three designer goods from their closets that they could swap with other participants.

“Almost everybody went home with something,” said Elise Whang, who founded Snob Swap with her sister. “It was a unique way to update your wardrobe for free.”

Some of the designer duds that traded hands included bags by Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors, an Alice & Olivia dress and a Prada jacket.

Unswapped items — there were only about a handful left, Whang said — were donated to the Goodwill of Greater Washington. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to Becky’s Fund, a nonprofit that supports victims of domestic violence.

Julie Donaldson, an anchor for Comcast SportsNet, emceed the event.

— Abha Bhattarai

The honor system: Honest Tea says drink kiosks will return

Bethesda-based organic beverage maker Honest Tea is bringing back the social experiment that first made waves three years ago by setting up unmanned kiosks in cities across the United States and asking people to pay $1 per bottle of tea — on the honor system.

Honest Tea co-founder and president Seth Goldman told a crowd at the “What’s Next DC” marketing conference last week that the company, which last year set up stands in 30 U.S. cities, will be in all 50 states this summer. The experiment cost $350,000 to set up, and has been the most effective way for the company to communicate with the masses, reaching 11 million people through mentions on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites, Goldman said.

Last year, the District tied with Las Vegas as the fifth most honest city in the United States, with 95 percent of people paying for their drinks. Among the six business districts that were tested, Capitol Hill came in third at 93 percent honest and K Street ranked fifth at 91 percent honest.

— Catherine Ho

Scene elsewhere: A grand opening for a data center and two fundraising galas

Data center provider Equinix last week held a grand opening to celebrate the newest computer data center on its Ashburn campus. The company said the site, which now has more than 500,000 square feet of space, is its largest data center campus worldwide. The new building adds 42,000 square feet.

Equinix has also hinted that it’s not finished growing. It has purchased 40 acres adjacent to its existing campus for expansion.

The company celebrated the newest center with an event featuring Darrell Green, the former Washington Redskins cornerback.

— Marjorie Censer

Reading is Fundamental recently hosted its annual gala “Where the Wild Things Are” to raise money to support the delivery of free books to underserved children. Nearly 350 supporters filled the Four Seasons Hotel in Northwest to bid on vacation trips, signed drawings from children’s book illustrators and sports memorabilia. Retired NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has authored four children’s books, co-hosted the event with Tracy Hutson of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Through sponsorships, auctions and tickets, the event raised more than $600,000.

— Vanessa Small

This year’s Global Down Syndrome Foundation gala gave 25 models with Down syndrome center stage at its annual “Be Beautiful Be Yourself” fashion show. The event, held at the Ritz-Carlton in Northwest, was attended by a mixed bag of big names in entertainment, news and government. The models were escorted by stars such as Grammy-winner Sheryl Crow, supermodel Beverly Johnson, John Roberts of Fox News, Kyra Phillips of CNN, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright. The event raised $400,000 that foundation leaders said will support advocacy, research and services for the Down syndrome community.

— V.S.

 
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