I recently e-mailed a bunch of friends with three questions that I have been considering. I want to build a killer demo machine, ditch all my lines to the house except for Internet, and buy a home media PC to replace my very old television. I had researched these things but came up with so many opinions that I asked my friends those questions and I’m just going to go with their suggestions.
You can use this technique as well. If you have a project you’re working on, you probably read the documentation, research the topic on the web, and scour the forums. But don’t neglect your circle of contacts. While you can’t pester everyone all the time, you can ask periodically for their help. Just be sure to pose your technical questions as completely as you can, and always start out with "Hey – I’ll be glad to help you sometime if you’ll take a few moments and give me whatever info you can on this question…"
– And remember to do that. If someone helps you, make sure you’re ready to help them, and no matter what the advice, thank the person for their time.