Often when one hears “Los Angeles” they associate the city with the film industry, sunshine, famous stars, and freeways. There’s an allure—and equal distaste—for its polished facades and strive for perfection. Yet, walking along Abbot Kinney in Venice, California you get a sense that there are real people who live and frequent this neighbourhood. The boulevard is lined with small shops carrying independent labels. It is littered with restaurants that reflect the fare of the region—with ingredients that are sourced even closer to home. And the people around are exceptionally unaffected by the Hollywood lifestyle.
Husband and wife duo, Daniel Chin-Yee and Jennifer Puno, are two of those very real people. We met with them at their home just off Abbot Kinney, where they’ve been for the past seven years, just before heading out to lunch down the way. From the doorway where their bicycles rested to the living room with their carbon dioxide gas tank—which they use to make their own carbonated drinks—to the somewhat unruly succulent garden in the back patio, every inch was well lived-in and reflected their charming and eccentric characters.
The couple met in Austin while attending the University of Texas before moving out to Los Angeles to pursue careers in digital design and software design. During June of 2012, as a way to familiarize themselves with the Facebook API, they developed Octofeed: a web application that skins your Facebook home feed into something a little, well, cooler. As Octofeed established momentum, getting picked up by sites like CoolHunting and Fast Company, Puno and Chin-Yee realized they had something going. If you ever meet the effervescent couple it’s easy to see that they work well—and might we add, hilariously—together but it wasn’t quite until Octofeed that they realized they can work well, together.
At the beginning of 2013 they started Map.
“Map is a celebration of people and their journeys. Wherever you plan to go or have been, you can map your steps and follow other explorers, too. Find it, live it.” As a visual platform, Map’s dedication to striking imagery, that not only captures the aesthetics of a place but the overall vibe, lends a distinctive utility. And that’s exactly what they wanted. Brought about from the admired task of charting their vacations, Map is the culmination of Puno and Chin-Yee’s greatest leisure passions: food, travel, and photography. It’s a simple concept but one with a growing community of “trailblazers” all over the globe. Each one, along with other carefully selected beta users, are scouring every city for the best it has to offer.
With such a solid tool at our disposal, we thought we’d rejig our usual interview format and show you first hand just how handy Map is. Here, a custom #MKDIR tag with Puno and Chin-Yee’s top, exceptionally unaffected, Los Angeles recommendations for your viewing pleasure.
Shoot locations: Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Salt Air, HURRAH!, and their home.