Interesting article. I find that my side projects are almost always in “Shipping” mode. I haven’t done a project simply to “Learn” in a long time. All my recent side projects have been intended to make money (even if only a little), so shipping is always a big priority.
I do learn a lot along the way (my recent project was a single-page JS app for example, something I’ve never done before), but I agree that the baseline for learning is much different. Working trumps beautiful, which carries both positives and negatives.