Creative Selection - Deepstash
Creative Selection

John Shaw's Key Ideas from Creative Selection
by Ken Kocienda

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The Seven Essential Elements Of The Apple Development 

The Seven Essential Elements Of The Apple Development Approach

  • Inspiration: Thinking big ideas and imagining what might be possible
  • Collaboration: Working together well with other people.
  • Craft: Applying skill to achieve high-quality results and always striving to do better.
  • Diligence: Doing the necessary grunt work and never resorting to shortcuts or half measures.
  • Decisiveness: Making tough choices and refusing to delay or procrastinate.
  • Taste: Developing a refined sense of judgment and finding the balance that produces a pleasing and integrated whole.
  • Empathy: Trying to see the world from other people’s perspectives.


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A Well Articulated Design Vision

A Well Articulated Design Vision

In any complex effort, communicating a well-articulated vision for what you’re trying to do is the starting point for figuring out how to do it. And though coming up with such a vision is difficult, it’s unquestionably more difficult to complete the entire circuit, to come up with an idea, a plan to realize the idea, and then actualize the plan at a high standard, all without getting bogged down, changing direction entirely, or failing outright.


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The Value Of Good Taste In Holistic Design

Taste is developing a refined sense of judgment and finding the balance that produces a gratifying and integrated whole.

The small-scale justifications must contribute to a scheme larger than themselves. The design responsibility expands to balancing the many individual refined-like responses against the other side of the taste equation, the attempt to create a pleasing and integrated whole.


213 reads

Killing The Creative Effort

Killing The Creative Effort

Persist too long in making choices without justifying them, and an entire creative effort might wander aimlessly. The results might be the sum of wishy-washy half decisions. Developing the judgment to avoid this pitfall centers on the refined-like response, evaluating in an active way and finding the self-confidence to form opinions with your heart and head.

It’s not always easy to come to grips with objects or ideas and think about them until it’s possible to express why you like them or not, yet taking part in a healthy and productive creative process requires such reflective engagement.


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The appearance of a product should tell you what it is and how to use it. Objects should explain themselves.



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Apple Stories: Safari

Apple Stories: Safari

When developing Safari, the Apple team quickly ran into speed and performance issues. Steve mandated that the browser be fast, so one member of the team (Don) directed that they implement a set of automated tests that would launch the browser and have it load a bunch of web pages in succession and report back a speed. Ken wrote the code for it and soon they had their “Page Load Test” (PLT) benchmark, which enabled their development process to ensure the product became “faster by never getting slower”.


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A Committed Team

To make great work, one requires a combination of people and commitment. Creative selection and the seven essential elements were our most important product development ingredients, but it took committed people to breathe life into these concepts and transform them into a culture. The culture we created is inseparable from the products we created.

In my experience, this manner of culture formation works best when the groups and teams remain small, when the interpersonal interactions are habitual and rich rather than occasional and fleeting.


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Social worker


Ken Kocienda is a software engineer who, among other things, worked on “Project Purple”: Apple’s codename for the original iPhone. Ken writes about the process behind software creation at Apple—which he dubs "creative selection"—and how he thinks that process was a significant driver in how Apple came up with its world-class products.

John Shaw's ideas are part of this journey:

Design Frameworks

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