Startups are hard. They are hard because building a startup is dominated by one hard problem after another. Building a product, finding customers, pivoting the product, finding customers, building a team, working through thousands of bugs, and picking up new skills. Then, doing have to do it all over again. Sometimes, it’s even hard to find the right problem to solve.

What is the common thread among all these problems? It's that there is no clear way to solve them at first. There are so many unknowns that even learning enough about the problem is a task unto its own. And the initial phases of learning about new domains are truly chaotic.

The people who excel in a startup environment are extremely good at coping with chaos. I’d even say the best performers thrive in it. They view chaos as an opportunity to learn and deliver outsized results. Because the problems are ill-defined, so are the solutions, which means there's a high chance of finding a solution that solves the problem better and quicker than initially thought possible.

In a software context, these problems manifest as "go figure out how to implement feature X" or "figure out how to optimize this complex system." Great engineers thrive when solving these open-ended problems in unfamiliar domains. They have a talent for identifying the critical issues from the noise and rapidly make progress as they understand that is where the most learning takes place.

I believe the 10 or 100x'ers are the masters of chaos. It is not physically possible to type 100x faster but they still manage to deliver equivalent solutions in 1/100th of the time. How? They are true experts in pairing down problems into their bare essentials. When you do this part well, there is far less to solve, and the what is left delivers much more value per unit time.