If you do this one thing, you will attract natural linking, which is exactly what Google wants, your site will steadily rise in the SERPS and you can focus your effort on the task that will deliver the most benefit i.e. creating fresh, original, quality content.
Now I know that there are many people here who make a good deal of money by doing what is effectively the reverse, building sites that do not enhance the web overall. And I am not intending to knock anyone's business model. What people choose to do is entirely their own affair. What I am saying is that such sites do not generally attract natural linking.
On the other hand, if you build a site that serves a community, you may well find people linking to you and thanking you for making good quality information available - all without promotion effort on your part. And if you can also add an affiliate program into the mix, others who want to link to your site primarily because of the quality will be even more likely to do so.
Now I am sure that there will be people who will want to tell you that it will take you a long time to see the fruit of such effort, but that need not be the case. Sure, you should do some initial promotion of your site using traditional methods like article marketing, social bookmarking etc, but for the longer term, think: quality first!
When you are tempted to start a new project, ask yourself the following questions:
Does the web need this new site?
Can I serve a community with this project?
How can I truly add value?
If you follow this little plan and create a site that really serves a community well, I promise that at some stage, natural linking will overtake your own generation of links and thereafter you will reap the amazing rewards.
So why not buck the trend? Chuck away those auto-blogging ideas, fire those $3 article writers and start building a site you can be really proud of.