Moonshots, by their definition, live in that gray area between audacious projects and pure science fiction. Instead of mere 10 percent gains, they aim for 10x (meaning ten times) improvements—that’s a 1000 percent increase in performance.
— Peter H. Diamandis
Before I talk about the stages of building a great Engineering team, I should mention one thing that is not well-known by non-technical people (though, I believe, recognized by most technical ones): some Developers are ten times more productive than others. Let me restate that:
An exceptional Developer can outperform others by 10x or more.
I’m not talking here about how fast they write code or how quickly they learn technical or non-technical topics. I’m talking about the value of their output. Anyone who has spent time in an Engineering group should understand what I’m saying.
There are very few jobs or careers where a tremendous performer can be 10x better than many others. Let’s look at baseball for example: in 2017, the difference in output between one of the most productive major league hitters and one of the least was about 3 times . Another interesting statistic between the two specific players is that the more productive one made almost 30 times more salary. In Engineering, very often the most productive Developers make about the same. Certainly, it would be rare for the exceptional Developer to make more than 2 times the worst one.
So if you are someone who is hiring (and firing), it is clear that there is a wide range of productivity for a small (or no) difference in cost. Trust me, 10x Developers are hard to find, but even if you scale back your standards and look for 2x Developers, it will make a huge difference to your team’s ability to deliver maximum valuable functionality to your Customers.
The next articles talk about attracting and retaining the best Engineers, so please read on and leave any comments below.
This post is based on or excerpted from the upcoming book “De-Engineering the Corporation” by Darryl Ricker
 This is based on 2017 statistics for MLB. The difference between Mike Trout (widely regarded as the best offensive player in baseball) and Rougned Odor in a measure called Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) was about 3:1. And keep in mind that this is from the best to the worst – there is much less variance amongst the people in between these two.