Find your forest.
“I continue to love what you’re doing. Great ideas.”
“The best lunch date of my life. We were there for two and a half hours, but could easily have stayed for five.”
Why in the world have I been invited to this website?
A Sugarmaple who knows you well thinks you’re a Sugarmaple, too, and that’s a very lucky thing to be.
Either that, or you’ve been lured into a deadly film noir-style game of cat-and-mouse. But I’m pretty sure it’s the thing about someone in your life thinking you’re a Sugarmaple.
What, pray tell, is a Sugarmaple?
Don’t worry, it’s good. In fact, Sugarmaples are my favorite kind of people.
I’m so lucky to be a Sugarmaple! Why is that, exactly?
You now have good friends all over the world.
Ooh! How so?
Two Sugarmaples, given a few hours of conversation, always become good friends.
Always. And I spend all my time getting them together, in their home cities and when they travel.
Why do Sugarmaples always become such good friends?
Honestly, I’m not sure. My mom connected Sugarmaples for fifty years and it still baffles her.
Mom taught me how to identify Sugarmaples (usually a tattoo on the inside of the upper arm) and after thirty years of introducing them, I’m stumped, too. There’s just something about two warm-hearted, smart, trustworthy, informal, intrinsically motivated, silly, left-leaning, intellectually curious, resilient folks that guarantees they’ll hit it off.
But that’s OK. I don’t have to know why strawberries and cream go so well together. I can just enjoy the fact that they do. Same deal with peanut butter and banana.
So what happens now?
You’re going to email me.
I’m going to match you with a Sugarmaple in your area.
The two of you will go out on a lark — an interesting activity that the two of you will choose together.
After that, an epic friendship that lasts the ages. (Your mileage may vary.)
Could you go back to that part about the activity?
I arrange all sorts. Of course, it depends on what city you’re in.
Let’s say it’s New York. A Gotham outing might be getting a private backstage tour of the Broadhurst Theater. Or grocery shopping just after dawn at the Hunts Point Terminal Vegetable Market. Or attending a Saturday afternoon panel on Darwin’s Origin of Species at the 92nd St. Y.
For example, not too long ago, I sent two Sugarmaple moms on a picnic in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Not only did they hit it off, their 18-month-olds did too.
“If an eagle and a tiger had a human baby that was then raised by ninjas, it would be Ted.”
“Ted is extraordinary at what he does, and he’s a man of his word.”
“It was a wonderful time and a really great meal.”
Are these outings one-on-one?
Usually. But you’ll get invited to big group Sugarmaple events, too.
Ooh, big group events! For example?
For Chicagoans, it might be a Sugarmaples-only evening class at the Second City. Or for Portlandians, a weekend Sugarmaples-only overnight hike and camp all the way down the 28 miles of Long Beach. Or for North Americans yearning for a unique overseas vacation, an all-Sugarmaples group class on the history of flowers, in Aalsmeer, Holland.
The 243-acre Aalsmeer Flower Auction facility, the largest building in the world.
That sounds amazing.
Darn skippy it does. Case in point: Below is a little film about a big group Sugarmaple event called Meddle I held in the English Cotswolds in 2013.
I’d learned that brand writer Mike Reed, comedian Eugene Mirman, hand-letterer Jessica Hische, writer/entrepreneur Anil Dash, software designer Sarah Parmenter, and about fifteen other Sugarmaples with creative careers were all frustrated by a lack of time for passion projects. So, I invited them to spend a few days together and come up with a solution.
Be honest: How many times did you guys try on old suits of armor and clank around the hallways?
A whole bunch.
Do Sugarmaple outings and events cost anything?
They cost only whatever the underlying activities cost. If, for example, the outing is renting a radio-controlled sailboat at Conservatory Water in Central Park and then going for a gigantic sundae at Serendipity afterwards, you’d pay for the rental, the sundae, and a larger belt.
(Occasionally, I’ll treat. That was the case for the Meddle in England. And well worth it!)
Conservatory Water, Central Park.
“I had a very enjoyable lunch with Seth [Godin] yesterday — a smart and likable guy. There are degrees of kindredness (as well as of heresy). But we do seem to share a fair amount. Thanks for matching us.”
“It was such a great experience that I’m wracking my brain for other problems in my business that Ted could solve with a thoughtful connection.”
“I wanted to thank you again for the past weekend’s amazing fun and incredible opportunity to have an exchange of notions with Anil [Dash]. I feel even richer for the ideas & starting-places that have come out of the whole thing!”
Is there a membership fee?
As it happens, you’re especially lucky to be a Sugarmaple who’s been spotted early on.
There will be a membership fee down the road, but not for a while. And anyone who goes on their first Sugarmaple lark before the fee is instituted will never have to pay it. So get in there.
Why do you spend so much time introducing people?
I watched my mom do it as I was growing up. She’s one of the best friend- and collaborator-put-together-ers on the planet. Seeing two people I’ve introduced develop a bond is still more gratifying, all these years later, than anything else I can think of (other than tickling my son, who has the finest giggle on earth).
“You know how it seems like everyone has a personal trainer, now? I believe Ted is the progenitor of a new kind of empathy-based collective problem solving that everyone will take for granted some day.”
“Sugarmaples is a collection of passionate, ambitious, big-hearted visionaries, and Ted is the Master Cultivator.”
“I have to say, you are very good at what you do. The timing was perfect and with one introduction you’ve enabled a ton of fruitful connections (which in the long run, might actually help save lives) in the span of a few days.”
One more thing?
Why do you call these folks Sugarmaples?
It’s a long story (which I’m always happy to tell if someone has the stamina to listen to it), but they’re named in honor of my mom.
I was hoping it involved some sort of pancake discount.
I’ll work on it.
How do you figure out whether someone’s a Sugarmaple?
Traditionally I’ve just looked for folks who clearly have all the characteristics. But I’ve come up with a brain-teaser-ish exercise that makes it fun and easy for Sugarmaples to identify whether someone else they know is also a Sugarmaple.
You’ll be invited to suggest other Sugarmaples after you’ve gone on your first lark.
My name is Ted Pearlman. I’m just a guy who loves connecting new friends, business allies, and creative collaborators – for the pure joy of it.
I’m married to Allison, an architect. We have a ridiculous second-grader, Oscar, who likes to make tiny Dimetrodons out of hot glue, and an enormous Newfoundland, Tatou, who’s famous on the Internet. My other passion project, besides Sugarmaples, is Fall: In Love with Music, a new kind of venue I’m developing for Denver. I’m perpetually inspired by the short animated film, The Man Who Planted Trees, which I’ve watched so many times now, it’s embarrassing. You can give it a go below.
Phil Caravaggio, the CEO of Precision Nutrition, and a Sugarmaple, asked me to find him someone who could design a very high-end custom book. So I introduced him to another Sugarmaple, Rodrigo Corral, one of the world’s most respected book designers. They met recently at Rodrigo’s New York studio, to review mockups.