Thanks for the great comments on my iPhone post. I did want to quickly address two points people made.
It's so agonizing missing a Gold Rush. The New York Times is taunting me with tales of untold wealth I have missed. But I still think I made the right call.
First, some pointed out that the iPhone has some people who play it seriously, like multi-hour sessions on a train or whatever. I have no doubt that there are a number of users who play long sessions, but the apps that are selling like crazy really seem to lend themselves to short sessions.
When in doubt, my main business rule is this: I always make the sort of game I would want to play. If I don't do that, my heart isn't in it. Even if a large percentage of iPhone users wanted highly-involved 40 hours games (which I still doubt), I sure don't use my iPhone that way.
Second, someone suggested that I write a quick app for the iPhone, to try it out. Throw something together and see if it floats.
Here is my bit of advice for aspiring developers:
NEVER, EVER JUST THROW SOMETHING TOGETHER. IF YOU CAN'T GIVE IT YOUR ALL, DON'T DO IT. BECAUSE THE PEOPLE YOU ARE COMPETING WITH ARE GOING TO COME AT YOU WITH EVERYTHING THEY GOT.
It is theoretically possible to put a small amount of time into something successful. But when that happens, you will have made something very easy to rip off, and your profits will eventually fade. So I really hope you had a Tetris-quality idea makes you a millionaire quick.
As for me, I write RPGs. And I don't think it's possible to really quickly write a Diablo or Rogue clone which will hit the sweet million dollars spot.
Of course, I might just be whistling past the graveyard, trying to convince myself that I didn't just pass up on a chance to make a fortune. But I, like all small business owners, have to make lots of decisions all the time. At some point, you just have to live with the calls you make and go on to the next thing.