You know it’s a bubble when…

One of the most accurate business cliches I know of is this one: “success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

Most good entrepreneurs come up with new business ideas constantly, but also know from experience that those ideas have no value if they aren’t backed up with commitment, sustained effort and constant adaptation to market feedback.

If this is true in traditional business ventures, it’s an order of magnitude more applicable in the domain of iPhone applications. As a recent GigaOm post pointed out, *very* few apps have a meaningful number of customers, and many of those are free. So even if you have a great idea, build a fantastic product and get it approved for distribution in the App Store, you’re still pretty unlikely to generate meaningful revenue.

These facts are in pretty wide circulation, so I’ve been surprised to see an increasing number of search queries to this blog (query visibility courtesy of Lijit) like these:

  • “selling an idea for an iphone app” (Bremerton, WA)
  • “how to sell an iphone app idea” (Little Rock, AR)
  • “how can I sell my iphone app idea” (Location Unknown)

Folks, I hate to break it to you, but even if you’re a skilled dev, interaction expert and graphic designer who can code it up all by yourself, your iphone app idea is still might not pay this month’s rent. And if you don’t have any of the skills above and think you can sell an idea for an iPhone app, you’ve been reading *way* too many breathless headlines in USA Today and Newsweek.

Making money on the iPhone is like any other serious entrepreneurial effort: the guys who make it look easy are extremely talented *and* have been busting their ass in their area of expertise since well before the iPhone was a gleam in Steve Jobs’ eye. The mobile web is a hugely exciting and potentially rewarding market for software entrepreneurs, but I’m getting a strong feeling that iPhone bubble economics are now fully in effect.