I don't want to run the risk of being misrepresented here >;->
As far as affiliate marketing (or any marketing) goes, an agreeable definition of success would be maximum achievable profits. I'm not quibbling with that.
But given that you are fast-thinking, innovative, talented and motivated - and I would assume most of us here are - you don't need to think about the money that much and you can still make those profits. You don't need to make profit the primary goal - you can make following your talent and innovation your primary goal instead and sometimes find that you end up making more money than if you stuck to derivative formulae.
When I say that:
I mean it. Successful to the tune of six figures a year. And if I can think of two other profitable strategies, there are probably countless others.
Gopi's second rule:
is one way of going about things, but it's only a strategy which would be pursued by those for whom their business is the means to an end (profit).
For those who see the profits they make (and I see no reason why these should be any less than those of a "hardcore" capitalist) as a way to support themselves and their future ventures and as the means to an end (pursuit and fulfillment of new ideas, projects and intiatives) the idea of ever building your business around something you are not hugely passionate about makes no sense.
Once you are doing what you enjoy, it ceases to be work. When it is no longer work and it is still making money on a cumulative revenue basis, profits will come naturally and you won't even need to think about the money as your primary goal any more... just where you want to expand your ideas next.
That was my point.