Your small business questions answered (and a happy surprise for me)

I just finished a marathon week answering questions about small business with Kevin Salwen over at the Yahoo! Small Business Center.

We got a slew of interesting questions ranging from how to use social networking to grow a small business, to how to prevent people from stealing your idea, and how a small business can become more socially responsible. You can read all the questions and answers here, under the "See Expert Answers," tab.

I always enjoy answering reader questions, but this time I also got a cool work experience out of the deal. Though I'd been aware of Salwen from his days at the Wall Street Journal, I'd only met him briefly before Yahoo! asked us to work together on this project.

If that match hadn't gone so smoothly this week would have been a disaster. Instead it was one of the smoothest collaborations I've ever had. We figured out a process to do the work, divvying up the questions based on our areas of expertise, using Facebook chat to let each other know when a draft was ready for review, and editing each other's responses as soon as we finished. We did the whole project without a phone call -- using email and chat the whole time. Yet it really felt like we were in the same room, helping each other along like real colleagues. We even started comparing notes on what we were eating, and had plenty of time for the kind of banter that makes the work-day fly by.

Have any of you had any surprisingly positive experiences that have come out of being thrown together with an unknown colleague for a limited time?