Talk With Folks Who Fit You

Hello! Welcome! My name is Ted Pearlman and I organize free, 30-minute, topic-focused conversations, over audio, for small groups of people I’m confident will really like each other.

Here’s an excerpt from one…

Suzanne, a novelist from Atlanta; Emma, a tech CEO from Seattle; Kat, a corporate organizational development consultant from Schenectady, NY; and Claire Michelle, a children’s librarian from eastern Pennsylvania, discuss a Washington Post article about the latest Trumpian outrage.

Want to get on my invite list? Text me at +1 (720) 728‑9494 or shoot me a note at and say hello.

Exactly what I was looking for.”

Kristin Dura
Retired Mom of Four Grown Daughters

I’ve been organizing conversations like these for nearly 35 years. But typically over lunches.

The best lunch date of my life. We were there for two-and-a-half hours but could easily have stayed for five.”

Tina Roth Eisenberg
Founder of Creative Mornings and Tattly

It’s a pastime I inherited from my dad.

Dad with me in the Grunewald, near my parents’ apartment in Berlin, 1969. Dad was a TV news journalist and NBC had stationed him close to Prague to cover the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

He ran 4 little lunch conversation clubs that met at New York City Chinese restaurants, every week, like clockwork, from 1973 until 2015.

Starting in 1980, when I was 11 years old, if a day off from school coincided with a club lunch, dad would bring me along.

It had an indelible effect on me.

When the pandemic hit in March, and I couldn’t organize lunches anymore, I decided to give a go at introducing people online.

How is this free? Why are you really doing this? What are you trying to pull? Are you a serial killer?

Eventually, there will be a membership fee for folks who participate often. I’d love for Sugarmaples to be the way that I make my living.

But it’s still early days, with lots of kinks to work out. At this stage, I’m more than delighted when happy participants simply send new ones my way.

Ted is extraordinary at what he does. And he’s a man of his word.”

Phil Caravaggio
Co-founder of Precision Nutrition

How often will I receive invitations to participate in conversations?

It all depends on a) how often you’d like to receive them, and b) how many people I have in my quiver I’m confident you’ll really like.

Are there any minimum participation requirements?

No. I tell everyone — Sugarmaples is meant to be all benefit and no obligation. Accept conversation invitations only when you have time and are in the mood.”

If an eagle and a tiger had a human baby that was then raised by ninjas, it would be Ted.”

Allan Branch
Founder of Less Everything

Can I have a conversation with the same group more than once?

Yes. After every conversation, I privately ask each participant if they’d enjoy another conversation with the same group. If they all respond with an enthusiastic yes’, I make the arrangements.

If I gather up a bunch of old friends who’d like to talk more often, can you arrange regular conversations for us?

Absolutely! This is one of my favorite things about the project. I love helping old friends get together.

How do you currently make your living?

You can read about it on the bio page.

I love what you’re doing.”

Jason Fried
Founder of Basecamp and NY Times best-selling author of Rework, Remote and It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work

Why do you call this ​‘sugarmaples’?

My quasi-secret goal, before I kick the bucket, is to seed and nurture 1,000,000 friendships.

The name is an allusion to my favorite film, The Man Who Planted Trees, watchable below on Youtube.

It’s narrated by Christopher Plummer and won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Are you hiring?

Not at the moment. But I will probably need to soon. If you’re interested in applying for a position, text me at +1 (720) 728‑9494 or shoot me a note at

Is your dad still alive?

No. He died in 2015. Pancreatic cancer.

Dad, in the official garb of the jet-setting journalist, an expedition vest, during Thanksgiving weekend, 2001.

He’s looking at one of the endless, makeshift 9⁄11 memorials surrounding Ground Zero.

From the time I graduated college until his death in 2015, dad and I would regularly walk from 86th Street and Columbus Avenue, where he lived, to Battery Park, and back, a 12-mile round trip, talking the whole way.

Is there a sugarmaples podcast?

There’s one on the way. Stay tuned.

What if I have more questions?

Don’t hesitate to text me at +1 (720) 728‑9494 or shoot me a note at

This project is dedicated to my adopted aunt, Deena Stutman, or — as my sister and I knew her when we were growing up — Aunt Silly Billy’.

She was the kind of person everybody enjoyed talking to. Over the years, she taught me a lot about the meaning of friendship.

Deena, holding my cousin Gary’s daughter, Carli (who’s now working on her doctorate at Columbia), 1993. Photo by Gayle Shomer.

My mom met Deena for the first time, in coach, on a transatlantic flight between New York and Berlin, in 1969.

Mom was returning home to Berlin, solo, with me in tow, after a trip to introduce me to family back in the States. Deena was starting a solo European vacation.

I was only a few months old and apparently crying my head off. Deena, in the row behind us, peeped over the seat, introduced herself, and offered to rock me to sleep. My mom took her up on the offer and, as legend has it, I slept.

Deena, holding me in my parents’ Berlin apartment, only hours after meeting my mom for the first time, 1969. Photo by my dad.