I do indeed like to collaborate and over the years worked successfully with many different people (on various topics and in different subject domains). For me the main value of collaboration is during the development of ideas which, in my experience, are best produced in an open exchange. My mental picture here is a table tennis or similar game which only develops if one directly reacts to whatever your counterpart thinks of and “picks up the ball as played”. People who have worked with me know that I like white board drawing sessions (I do need to visualize while I play along) and brainstorming and mind mapping methods.
But I’m also a stickler for details and can spend a lot of energy and effort in actually finishing something (to my own satisfaction) when I consider it worthwhile. Collaboration on that level — after the initial concept and design development work has finished and the nitty gritty detail work starts — normally takes one of two forms: either I restrict myself largely to mentoring and let others work on actual implementations, or I put so much energy into a certain task that it outweighs other people’s involvement by a large factor. My base motto here is “Es gibt nichts Gutes, außer man tut es” (free translation: Nothing good will come into existence unless you actually do it) by Erich Kästner which at least in the German language nicely rhymes.
A lot of collaboration necessarily happens via email (due to living in different countries, etc.), but I find it extremely valuable to interrupt this method of working at irregular intervals with face-to-face meetings to flesh out ideas and make them concrete enough to go ahead for a while in semi-isolation with only email and or phone calls as the means of “direct” communication. This also explains why most of the more fundamental work that is associated with Rainer Schöpf’s and my names dates from the time when we both studied at the University and had a chance for a more regular exchange of ideas in front of white boards (drinking gallons of tea).
Gianluca Pignalberi and Dave Walden, "Interview of Frank Mittelbach". Joint interview published by the TeX Users Group and the Free Software Review (2006).