Creative Selection, written by former Apple software engineer Ken Kocienda, describes Apple’s culture and development process under the aptly titled “golden age” of Steve Jobs during the 2000s. This was definitely one, if not the, most successful periods in corporate history for any single company. The late 90’s and 2000s saw Apple roll out an astonishing series of product successes including the iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad (technically released in 2010), as well as software hits like Safari, iOS, and extensive macOS improvements. Creative Selection follow’s Ken’s career from Eazel software in 1999, to Apple during 2001–2017, where he worked as a software engineer on Safari and the “Purple” project — what ultimately became known to the world as iPhone OS and what we know today as iOS. The main story line of the book paints the picture of Apple’s “Creative Selection” culture thru the lens of Ken’s projects. He discusses technical hurdles they faced, what it was like to work with Steve Jobs, and a few behind the scenes stories of how they prepared for product unveilings and celebrated the iPhone launch. Ken’s stories about iOS and Safari are excellent. However the real focus of the book, and what ultimately made Apple successful, is Apple’s culture. It’s widely known that Steve Jobs was a perfectionist. He was demanding and could be difficult to work with. How, then, did the Apple culture not only function but thrive under his leadership? What was it like to work with him on the original iPhone team? So transport your mind back to 1999 — Google was just founded, Y2K was eminent, Microsoft Windows 95 and 98 were the dominant operating systems, Internet Explorer had 75% of the browser market and growing fast over rival Netscape, cell phones needed to be flipped open to use, and a dying software company called Apple Computer and it’s interim CEO Steve Jobs were fighting for survival.
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