Studio Zenkai

Bold and Clear, without excess • Kaizen 改善 • With Purpose

Studio Zenkai is dedicated to the craft of programming, hardware hacking, photography, machine learning and how to live sensibly.


Aimable D. is a close friend since our engineering school days. Like me, he spent time in the corporate world. But he has also done multiple ventures, from eCommerce to corporate to consumer ventures.

Now he is focused on dokomaps, along with Jules, who worked previously with him on other ventures. I am reviewing today Dokomaps to provide feedback, to showcase a good product, but also in the hope that Aimable reviews one of my current ventures, such as OutcomeReference :)

The Pitch

Please take the time to visit the site. It describes well what you get. Signing up is straightforward.

Here’s what I get from it:

Dokomaps lets you favorite places, local or international, in personal lists. The list can be for personal use, but they are designed to be shared to the widest audience. Think “TOP 10 BEER PLACES” or “Top vacations places”.

The purpose is simple and will resonate in most people.

My experience

I’ve created two lists. The first is Montreal for kids, divided in the outdoor and indoor categories. The second is the Montreal tech map. Creating those two lists were quick. I was able to add any place I could think of. The application finds the geographical coordinates, pictures and then zooms the map on the places. You can also re-order places, so I assume the first ranked place is the best of the category. Is this great or what?

The Value

My immediate value is sharing those lists and getting feedback from friends/family about places I’ve missed. I can’t think of any other app that provides this now. Or a Google Maps option somewhere?


Previously, I thought visitors needed to have an account to view lists you’ve just made, making sharing difficult. However, it turned out there are two different URLs, one for you as owner of the list, and another one for sharing. As a user, there was no reason for me to think that there would be a different URL for sharing. This could have been solved by making the sharing URL much more visible, or alternatively, change the structure of the website so there’s only 1 URL.

This might appear like a small thing, but I believe this illustrate what dokomaps can improve upon generally. While the user experience is generally good and the product is usable, there are multiple areas that can be perfected, kaizen-style.

I also thought people who’ve signed up should have an option to comment or add their feedback on the list. Otherwise the “conversation” will migrate outside Dokomaps, such as Facebook or Twitter, which is too bad.

I also wish there was an option to mark a place as done. For example, if I plan to visit X places, I can use dokomaps and check every place as soon as I’m done.

As a final point, I like this venture. It’s always refreshing to see a new take that’s not done by Google or Facebook, and knowing your data won’t be analyzed, ingested and then sold back to you. If Google was doing this, they would know even more about you than you did, and we don’t want that.