Connections are made when people find common ground. It may take talking for a few seconds or it may take years to find that one thing that connects one person to another. A common bond can become the foundation for profitable partnerships and future collaborations.
Connections are especially important for people that are working outside of your physical presence and this requires a different way of thinking about how you build a bond with someone. Maintaining frequent contact is one of the best ways to maintain a strong relationship.
Why does this matter? Because people want to work with like-minded people that are pursuing the same thing. There is a sense of gratification that comes with accomplishing something with another person. The more the merrier certainly applies here, but I believe that people genuinely want to help others get to where they are going.
Developing common ground with another person can start with one thing and build to many as you spend more time together. These bonds can grow stronger over time and also weaken. As long as you are focused on the same thing then the relationship should be able to weather the strains of time, distance, and competition.