“The best lunch date of my life. We were there for two-and-a-half hours but could easily have stayed for five.”
…after her Sugarmapley
outing in New York City with
Meg Hirshberg, the author
of For Better or for Work.
Frequently asked questions from folks who are sent my way.
The mutual friend who sent me told me a little. Can you tell me a bit more?
Sure. My name’s Ted and I love planning outings for pairs of people like you who I think could be good friends. It’s an avocation I inherited — probably genetically — from my mom.
After you read through the FAQ, if you’re feeling up for it, you and I will set a time to talk. It’ll be over video chat (or over coffee if you live in Denver). I’ll ask a lot of questions about you — what you love to do, what makes you laugh, and when you have truly open gaps in your calendar. Then I’ll figure out who I’m going to introduce you to and start planning a fun outing for the two of you that fits one of your shared interests. Then we coordinate when to do the outing. And then you go on your outing!
What do you mean by ‘people like you’?
There’s one pretty specific flavor of people I like to connect. I call them sugarmapley folks.
All sugarmapley folks share several personality-related characteristics (which I can explain in depth when you and I talk).
When I identify two of them located in the same city who have one or two strong overlapping interests, I get really, really excited. If I can arrange a fun outing for them that revolves around one of those overlapping interests, it’s almost certain they’ll become fast friends. And, in the long run, they’ll often become close friends.
And who are you?
Why are you so into this?
My mom was constantly introducing new friends, in our apartment, while my sister and I were growing up during the Seventies. She was amazingly good at identifying pairs — and groups — of people who’d hit it off.
Watching so many great relationships start right in front of my eyes was easily the happiest and most important part of my childhood.
When I left home for college in 1986, I missed mom’s friend-matching whirlwind. And I realized I’d never get to experience anything like it again unless I started introducing new friends, too.
Why do you call the folks you like to introduce sugarmapley?
Two reasons. When I try and describe the personality-characteristics they all share, I sound a bit like I could be describing a sugar maple tree. And the (admittedly not really a real) word reminds me of my mom. She had a thing for sugar maple trees.
A few times each autumn, when I was little, she’d take me outside for an afternoon of sugar maple leaf pile diving and whirlybird seed tossing (if you’re from the Northeastern United States or Canada, you know what I’m talking about).
What kind of outings might you send me on?
It could be a fancy New York lunch, like Tina mentions above…or a Denver gallery crawl…
…or an afternoon kayak up the Chicago River.
And, if you’re feeling particularly daring, and it’s coming up on the calendar, I might invite you to take a leap off the deep end and meet some compatible sugarmapley folks at an over-the-top, out-of-town event, like one of my three-day “Meddle” mini-conferences.
Do you charge for arranging all of this?
No, it’s free!
How can it be free?
Well, I love doing it, it’s a hobby (I make my living through other endeavors), and it’s just me, so it’s not expensive. It’s just time.
I have to pay for the cost of the outings though, yes?
Yes. If I send you out with someone to a Portland Trailblazers game, for example, you’d reimburse me for the tickets and then buy yourselves hot dogs and beers (and m&m’s and nachos and twizzlers and s’mores and giant pretzels).
This is meant just for friendship, right? Not for networking? Or for romance?
It’s meant just for friendship. Of course, if you and the person you go on an outing with open a roller coaster design firm together or elope at the San Diego County courthouse, I will not object!
It sounds like you arrange a lot of outings. How do you organize everything?
Well, I commissioned this extraordinarily good (and sugarmapley) developer from Porto Alegre, Brazil, to build me two apps: a mobile one for you guys and an admin one for me, which helps me stay on the rails.
After you and I talk, I’ll have you download the mobile app.
Is there a Sugarmapley social network that you access within the app? Is the app noisy?
No on both counts. The app exists to facilitate in-the-flesh outings and get-togethers. The only folks in the app you’ll see — or who’ll see you — are me and the person or people you’ve already met in person. Everybody else using the app is invisible to you, and you to them. It’s delightfully quiet.
You mentioned that you like to introduce people “located in the same city.” Could you introduce me to someone in a city I’m planning to visit?
Absolutely! I do it all the time.
I like playing host. What about introducing me to someone who’s visiting my city?
OK. I’m in. What’s next?
Shoot me an email at ted [at] sugarmapley [dot] com and we’ll arrange a time to talk.
What if the only truly open gaps in my schedule for outings are at really odd times, like after 9pm or before 6:30am?
It’s much better to find truly open gaps at really odd times than not truly open gaps at normal times. That way you can meet your new friend without feeling guilty about neglecting someone else. You’d probably be surprised by the percentage of sugarmapley people whose truly open gaps are at really odd times.
Where do I find your bio?
You can find out a bit on this page.
What do you do for a living?
There’s some info on this page.
Where do I find the Sugarmapley podcast?
It’s right here.
Who did the illustration at the top of the page?
The ‘S’ logo was done by me and Loren Klein. The logotype was done by me and Elena Genova. And the scratchboard background of trees and leaves is part of a larger illustration I commissioned from Howell Golson. It took him thirty hours! If you click or tap on the image below, you can see all its glorious details.