Yeah, that sounds similar to my way.
When I find a Dyson or Botnet, I go all-out and conquer all the worlds needed to connect my territories, then defended by roaming zombies/gatlings.
If I can't get either, then I rely on cheap, lightly-defended highway systems, entrenched high-value islands, a transport-borne fast response naval force, and leaving as many worlds as possible merely neutered for low AIP. Possibly with some high-mark, high-speed fleet ships patrolling along a line of redirector posts.
In that sense, a Dyson or Botnet find are probably the single most decisive factors for my strategic conduct. I never even noticed that until you brought up the issue, but I suppose it really is a big deal.