Ken Kocienda


'Ken Kocienda' Articles

'Creative Selection' Offers a Behind-the-Scenes Look Into Some Key Moments in Apple's Design History

Former Apple software engineer Ken Kocienda is releasing a new book entitled Creative Selection today, presenting a look inside Apple's design process through his involvement with a few key features across a variety of platforms and devices. I've had an opportunity to read through the book ahead of its debut, and it offers an interesting perspective on how Apple develops and refines features through an iterative process Kocienda terms "creative selection." Kocienda, who joined Apple in 2001 and spent 15 years with the company, identifies seven "elements" he deems essential to Apple's success in software development, including inspiration, collaboration, craft, diligence, decisiveness, taste, and empathy. He delves a bit into how each of these elements contributes toward Apple's relentless pursuit of innovative ideas and solutions that end up being intuitive and useful to Apple's customers. The process of creative selection is the overarching strategy for Apple's engineers, with small teams highly focused on rapid-fire demos of their work that allow the engineers to quickly iterate on their ideas and designs, saving the best elements of each iteration to rapidly reach levels of refinement required for Apple's final product releases. Back in 2001, Kocienda was part of a team from former Apple engineer Andy Hertzfeld's software company Eazel that went defunct. Following Eazel's shutdown, Kocienda and Don Melton were hired on at Apple to develop Safari for Mac, and a number of other Eazel engineers ultimately joined them on the project. But in the first days of