That changed for me six months ago. I started a blog and have been speaking at conferences. All of the sudden I'm a hot commodity. Its a tough time to be introverted with your career.
Five years is (in virtually any case) way longer than that should be. But three months? Great! Even a year, if you're really on to something. But after that you need viable interaction with your customers/users/prospects
Even if it takes a long time for your stealthy startup to launch, it can be beneficial to write about your experiences and/or open-source a cool project.
It is an issue of humble-ness for me as well. I'd rather be queried for data then have the thought/feeling I am forcing it on someone who doesn't want it.
I think this, and other things read here on HN have got me to accept the fact I need to follow suite.
Am I correct in saying that another potential benefit of this is that keeping the status of a project public makes it more difficult for the creator to ignore/procrastinate/quit the project?
The feedback you get from friends and strangers can be valuable - like this discussion. And clear writing == clear thinking. I find that in the process of writing I edit and re-edit my thoughts and sometimes change my mind. That's helpful in and of itself.
As for public-ness making it difficult to quit -- many people (PG included) have written about this . My goal in making my work public is not to benefit from this social pressure, though that would be a nice side-effect.
I want to document my hard work, and ensure that the good parts of what I work on don't die.