I've now rewritten Jawaya four times. Once to go from proto to real, once to pull real out of Ruby into Node, and once to strip it down to an MVP.
Along the way I've learned a ton about Node, Express, Mongo, Extensions, AJAX, JQuery, and now a bit of Socket.io for fun.
What do I do with that?
Well, I'm using it privately. I keep tweaking here and there. When I encounter something I dig, I try to add it in a relevant way so I can learn something new. And then I put it away.
The point is, though, prompted by Albert Wenger's post today, that rewriting isn't necessarily getting me to a better product. It's making me a better developer. There are parts I've kept, some I've improved (most), some I've completely trashed (a lot).
If I had to rebuild it in a weekend I could probably do it from scratch. Given I'm not a programmer for a living (what is it I do again?), I'm not quite certain how it serves me yet, but I'm really enjoying it.
The value will come in my next gig and when I advise startups. In my next gig, whatever it is, it will require developing a vision and turning parts of it into applications of technology to _________(insert purpose there), hopefully to effect positive change in some way.
Knowing what's possible by playing with technologies gives me a really great set of tools for understanding what's possible (anything) and for assembling the right team to do it.
Getting to a relaunch isn't a current goal. For now, the learning and the utility of the app is enough for me. It's intellectually stimulating. But for the sake of finishing, I might open it up. I think I said that last year. Nah...