From 2001 to 2017 Ken Kocienda was a software engineer and designer at Apple. In Creative Selection he gives his personal account of what it was like to work at Apple during the last few years of the Steve Jobs era—from demo-ing products for Steve Jobs, to helping create software for products like the iPhone, the iPad, and WebKit, the most popular software in the world for browsing the web. Throughout, Kocienda shares the principles he and his colleagues used at Apple to do their best, most innovative work and to make great products, including the demo-driven iterative creative selection method used for turning ideas into finished work. The book is an inside look at how a group of software engineers and designers made world-changing products the Apple way.
Creative Selection is about making great products and Ken’s experiences trying to make them. During his fifteen years at Apple, the effort to make great products was all he thought about and cared about. Software was his piece in the product puzzle. He developed user interface concepts and prototypes which made the most of new hardware features, he wrote heaps of computer code to make it all go, and he worked with other programmers and designers to create bug-free software which shipped on schedule, as they all tried to make products which would surprise and delight the people who were eagerly waiting the unveiling of the next great thing. Apple was the perfect company for Ken, and his timing was great. He got in on the ground floor of some cool projects, including: the iPhone, the iPad, the Safari web browser, and more.
The book is a collection of Ken’s stories and thoughts about how they made these products—the light bulbs clicking on over people’s heads, the long struggles to solve seemingly insoluble problems, the pleas for help, the brilliant people, the moments of confusion, the demo reviews, the methodical work, the never-ending demands to do better, and finally, the success of making products which people everywhere use every day to express themselves through words and pictures, communicate with their loved ones, and interact with the world.
About the Author
Ken Kocienda was a software engineer and designer at Apple for over fifteen years. After graduating from Yale, he fixed motorcycles, worked in the editorial library of a newspaper, taught English in Japan, and made fine art photographs. Eventually, he discovered the internet, taught himself computer programming, and made his way through a succession of dot-com-era startups, before landing at Apple in 2001, where he worked on the software teams that created the Safari web browser, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Ken lives in San Jose, California with his wife.