A gold rush is notable for two things:
1. The lure of instant riches.
2. The tiny fraction of prospectors who go on to live the high life.
Whether discussing gold nuggets or "Cyberspace" or the current gold rush du jour, mobile applications, these two elements always hold true. Like movies and books and virtually all other products, a few mobile app blockbusters are hitting it big while everything else slides into the long tail. And yet, Apple's App Store now has 225,000 apps (and counting) and the shelves in the Android Market are brimming with products.
I've probably been over-influenced by recent reading. I'll admit that. But I'm bewildered by the impassioned app backlash popping up. Gold rushes always play out the same way: the stories of the lucky few drive the not-so-lucky masses. That's why we call theses things "gold rushes." (Andrew Odewahn has a post on Radar that explores this further.)
Bewilderment aside, I'd like to explore some of the fundamental questions bubbling beneath all this. Specifically: If making big money is unlikely, why do so many people continue to build mobile applications? What are the non-economic motivations?
Put another way: Why do you develop mobile apps? Please weigh in through the comments below, or, if you're in a rush, use our handy new polling feature.