The lady across the hall tried to rob a department store with a pricing gun. She said, “Give me all of the money in the vault, or I’m marking down everything in the store.”

—Stephen Wright1

Honesty is the best policy. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

—George Burns2

Some viruses can move from one species to another. Rabies, swine flu, and HIV are three examples. The name for this transfer is zoonosis.

The same thing can happen with marketplaces, where both good and bad ideas can “go viral.” In the last decade and a half, we’ve seen zoonosis happening between the commercial Web and the brick-and-mortar world, as new ideas for capturing customers have ...

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