Otherwise, I think, you're on a treadmill where you have to engage in some kind of outreach, either to keep your name out there or more proactive by creating link opportunities/projects.
Yeah, pretty much my thoughts ... I think 'link building' is on the way out, just because making a site 'appear hot' by 'self link building' means as soon as you stop your churn rate, growth rate, freshness, etc. have a peak and then start to drop off, where if there's a sustainable consistency or growth at the 'natural rate relative to the niche you're in', over time you're better off.
If we look at the historical data patent application (I think that's the one anyway) it gives a very specific example of two sites each having 10 links, where one site's were acquired a period of time ago possibly being ranked differently than a site that had it's 10 links appear in the last month...
I guess the short version is: Go ahead and link build, but over time you're really likely only hosing yourself, because when you do it, rather than allowing it to happen naturally, eventually you're very likely to go from 'hot' to 'not'.
I think it's much better long-term to build a site that 'encourages' natural link building and other 'positive signals' on it's own, rather than trying to 'push things too fast', because when you stop pushing the site slides back. (I wonder how long it's been since WebmasterWorld went on a link building campaign? Hmmmm)