First off, there's been some confusion about the whole Cc:Betty/Threadbox thing. Cc:Betty was something we began to build on Rails in November 2008 on a hypothesis that a smart email assistant could make email discussions better. It was clever; in some cases too clever for it's own good, however we learned a lot about who cared and why. That led to a forthcoming product called Threadbox, which is a completely, newly built product, using XMPP and jQuery. Threadbox aims to change the way people communicate in workgroups. We want to move people from the fragmented inbox to the harnessed Threadbox. Cc:Betty, Inc is the legal name of the company, but that's changing to Threadbox, Inc to avoid confusion.
I was talking to an industry media/events person the other day who challenged me, "Is this a relaunch?" (said with a negative connotation).
I said, "Well, one man's relaunch is another man's iteration!".
She laughed. But she knew I meant it.
Seriously, the way we should all be building startups is by investing as little as possible to prove a thesis out, and by following the heat. If you can't find any heat, you start over. But if you DO find heat, you optimize/iterate, and yes, in some cases that means rebuilding and relaunching! Afterall, Twitter wasn't a relaunch of Odeo, although it was born there. Yammer wasn't a relaunch of Geni, althought it was born there.
You SHOULD rebuild for scale if your prototype was built with duct tape and you have customers willing to pay you for your product to scale.
You SHOULD rebuild on a better performing architecture if it allows you to better deliver the service your customers you want.
You SHOULD relaunch if there are enough positive differences in the new product.
You SHOULD relaunch if you've found a better way to articulate, message, and deliver your product.
And you SHOULD be proud to rebuild/relaunch for the right reasons. And I am.
The plan is to conduct a private preview of Threadbox to existing Cc:Betty users very soon as well as some folks that have signed up on our Threadbox waiting list. We'll also open the preview up to South By Southwest attendees - I'll be there on a panel called "Email, the next frontier," along with Cisco, Gist, Xobni, Yahoo, and Buzz Outloud and CNET's Molly Wood moderating.