Every now and then, someone “explains” to the internet what 10x looks like.
Sometimes they do it with a good deal of expertise, like Ken Norton’s 10x Not 10% post from a few years ago breaking down how to think much bigger. Often it’s done with less finesse, like this recent thread of tweets about the mystical 10x engineer from Shekhar Kirani of Accel Ventures.
In those cases, writers choose to weigh the obvious (that some people have extraordinary talent) over the also obvious (glorifying + excusing behavior of high performers actually destroys teams).
There may be some value to aiming very high and never accepting the possibility of failure, but another way to look at it is that the best people on a team never aim for 10x. They get to 85% of what they can see should exist, make sure it works + everyone is involved/understands it, and then once they're done they go back and do 85% again with a result far better.
Simply put, they just move faster than everyone else, they’re more iterative, and they are willing to consider outcomes other people don’t. That doesn’t require any inherent genius (though in some cases it helps), and it doesn’t have to destroy the people around them either.
Long story short: if you do 85% x 2, you’ll almost always learn more and get closer to the moon pie in the sky idea you had anyway.