I just spent a couple of hours having lunch with Dan Burgin (you can click on the title of this entry and be taken to his blog profile).
It's always great when you meet someone new that's a sort of 'kindrid spirit'. In our day to day interactions, it's rare to find someone that you really understand and get a sense that they understand you. Much of it, of course, comes from shared experiences and cultural contextual cues (when I say: KBFR, he knows: Oh yea.. Boulder's pirate radio station.. bunch of people doing underground radio from a van, ran for years, best radio in town..etc. etc.).
I've never met Dan before. I discovered him by doing a search via BlogPulse (www.blogpulse.com) on ClickCaster and found a post he'd written that was critical of podcasting based on an article he'd read about ClickCaster. I felt compelled to write a response comment on his blog. He followed up with an email to me thanking me for the comment and inviting me to lunch.
If I'd gone with initial impressions (i.e. the critical blog post about what I do every waking hour) it's likely I would have had a less than generous opinion of him. But by opening a conversation and then meeting in person, instead, I now have a new friend. And I had an opportunity to meet a really interesting person (his professional life has ranged from being a startup CTO to a professional opera (tenor) singer!).
So, I think more of this is in order. Making the time to meet with interesting people who may (or may not) agree with you, but are deep and wide in experience and views. Best couple of hours sitting and just talking with someone who started out a stranger and ended as a friend I've ever had.