John I don't disagree with you or your experience. I'm also not trying to bash craft or suggest it is unimportant.
Part of what I am trying to bring out here is that as photographers we need to be square with ourselves about who the audience is. We can be our own audiences, or the photo can be made for different audiences like our family, our descendants, or a commercial market.
The advantage that I find in shooting for audiences other than myself is that it challenges me more, it helps me learn and improve, I get the privilege of a judge other than myself, someone that can give me constructive feedback. This is a great test of one's craftsmanship, to be able to find out if we've got the chops to do a particular job is exhilarating. This does carry some social/psycological risk in that others might not like what I've done.