You can get quite far by putting cool stuff out there and expecting everything to come to you. Yes, you will eventually get job offers, conference invitations and various distinctions. However, sometimes, just asking will get you what you want much faster.I used to avoid asking like the plague, and thought that if my work is good enough, what I want will naturally come to me. Which makes sense, to a certain extent: When someone keeps asking for stuff all the time, you can't help but think that they merely see you as means to an end.However, when you really want something, it never hurts to approach it yourself. Lately, I've been experiencing how much easier this makes things, and I'd strongly recommend you try it too. Turns out that quite often you don't have what you want not because you aren't good enough, but because the parties involved have no idea you're interested.