Lugs are work
It makes sense: lug carving is hard work, and very time consuming. I'm learning this. Plus, it's not really necessary considering the quality and selection of the investment cast lugs that are available. That being said, I think it's fine that many builders don't spend much time handcarving lugs. For someone new at it like me it can almost double the time it takes to build a frame, and from a business perspective this doesn't make much sense unless you can charge appropriately. There are plenty of other fish to fry. Construction method, good brazing, fit, alignment are all no doubt more important to the overall function of your bike. Plus, when someone is clearly more impressed with your shiny laser-cut headbage than your handcarved lug, we need to ask ourselves - can we blame them? These are the times we live in.
Still, I feel like the old guys have a point. Putting the thought and time in to handcarve your lugs shows how much you love it. It's that simple. It's the kind of thing that can tickle your fancy after 25 years of building. These different shapes have become the signatures for a whole generation of builders that came before me, and many of them have built their careers on these amazing shapes.
I guess my point is, if it's not lugs it needs to be something else. Something the BUILDER does. A construction method, an aesthetic, a utility, a level of finish, something that shows where your affinity to the bicycle lies. A signature is required.